By migrating its out-dated NetWare servers to Open Enterprise Server running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Witzenmann GmbH gained a stable, high-performance platform that will support its continued business growth. Delivered by Consulting Services, the new solution enabled Witzenmann GmbH to preserve much of its past investment in training by allowing the re-use of familiar NetWare administration tools.

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About Witzenmann GmbH

The Witzenmann Group of 23 companies is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of flexible metallic components, such as metal hoses, expansion joints, metal bellows and automotive parts. Witzenmann GmbH employs more than 3,000 people worldwide, serving customers in the automotive, chemicals, aerospace, and HVAC industries.


With support for its existing NetWare® environment coming to an end, Witzenmann GmbH needed to find an alternative platform for network services, user stores, collaboration software, and file and print services. The hardware platform for NetWare was also at the end of its useful life, and for both hardware and software this meant higher support costs for the company. Indeed, Witzenmann GmbH determined that migrating to a new platform would reduce maintenance costs to the extent that the solution would be cost-neutral.

Witzenmann GmbH aimed to deploy a new operating system that would support its future growth while protecting its earlier investments. Parallel aims were to improve the flexibility of administration and to move from LAN-based to SAN-based backups, which would improve network availability and performance. The company also hoped to create a methodology that would allow it to handle future migrations without external assistance.


Working with Consulting Services, Witzenmann GmbH chose to migrate its NetWare systems to Open Enterprise Server running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. The existing five-node cluster in the company’s head office was expanded to six nodes, and now supports more than 1,000 concurrent users. In addition, the team migrated a server in one of its branch offices—all with no impact on business users.

The new solution’s infrastructure was provided by a number of partners. Witzenmann GmbH and Consulting Services asked DELL to supply servers, storage systems from EMC and a virtual tape library system from Quantum. In addition, a Commvault solution was deployed for data protection along with McAfee virus protection software.

“Migrating to Open Enterprise Server running on Linux enabled us to continue with the familiar Novell (now a part of Micro Focus) administration tools while also giving us a robust, future-proof platform,” said Werner Blum, Manager, System Architecture, Witzenmann GmbH.

“We were happy to re-use the earlier technology in this way, because it had worked perfectly, with no unplanned downtime for at least five years. Choosing Open Enterprise Server enabled us to preserve the stability, security, reliability and transparency of our previous system.” Consulting Services used the built-in Migration Toolkit in Open Enterprise Server to smooth the migration path. This was one of the key features in creating a repeatable methodology that would enable Witzenmann GmbH to perform subsequent migrations by itself.

“It was a major advantage to work with Consulting Services on the migration,” said Blum. “They had easy and direct access to the right technical people in Novell, so that all issues could be rapidly overcome. What’s more, the Consulting Services team’s meticulous approach to planning and documentation has ensured that we are now competent to handle the migration from NetWare in-house.”

Witzenmann GmbH now uses ZENworks® Linux Management and AutoYaST to optimise its server installation and configuration, and to minimise routine maintenance.

Witzenmann GmbH also implemented Dynamic Storage Technology for its Home and Group data, enabling savings in disk storage space and costs.

“In the past, our storage allocation was fixed, so we would frequently need to buy new disks to accommodate growth,” said Blum. “Now, we can flexibly increase or decrease allocations, making room on existing volumes for new requirements.”


With Open Enterprise Server running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Witzenmann GmbH has achieved its objective of getting a stable and future-proof platform at low cost. The solution has improved performance and availability, in particular for the company’s GroupWise® collaboration software, and the introduction of AutoYaST has cut software administration requirements.

“Our core business applications—SAP ERP and our CAD/CAM systems are dependent on the storage and user access provided by this environment,” said Blum. “The high degree of stability provided by Open Enterprise Server is therefore a great benefit.”

The close collaboration between Witzenmann GmbH’s technical team and Consulting Services enabled the creation of a clear methodology for migrating the company’s systems. This will act as the blueprint for future migrations across the broader Witzenmann Group.

“Our working relationship with Consulting Services is very strong,” said Blum. “Not only did they have know-how on the Novell technologies, but also they were able to advise us on introducing SAN storage, and they helped to resolve an issue with another partner’s technology. The commitment and professionalism shown by the Novell team were significant factors in our successful migration project.”

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Manufacturer of precision components for automotive and aerospace industries








  • Achieved a non-disruptive migration to a future-proof platform
  • Enhanced performance and stability of network services, e-mail and storage
  • Designed a repeatable methodology for future migrations

"Migrating to Open Enterprise Server running on Linux enabled us to continue with the familiar Novell (now a part of Micro Focus) administration tools while also giving us a robust, future-proof platform."

Werner Blum
Manager, System Architecture
Witzenmann GmbH

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