University of Toronto sees the whole student picture by migrating SAP® solutions to DB2

Published on 10-Jan-2006

Validated on 14 May 2008

"In comparison with databases from other vendors, DB2 UDB demonstrates a better price-to-performance ratio combined with high quality technology, and provides additional ease of use with the integration of DB2 commands into SAP® software." - Graham Kemp, Director of Administrative Management Systems, University of Toronto

Customer:
University of Toronto

Industry:
Education

Deployment country:
Canada

IBM Business Partner:
SAP

Overview

With around 70,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff members, and revenues of around C$1,500 million, University of Toronto is one of Canada’s leading seats of learning and research. From applied science to social work, the university awards some 14,000 degrees annually, including all affiliated colleges and programs.

Business need:
With no single system able to provide a unified view of operations and finances, the University of Toronto struggled to provide accurate and timely management information. This led to slowed decision making when planning student programs, research, grants and administrative services.

Solution:
University of Toronto created an integrated information system using SAP® software and IBM DB2. The new system connects data on people, activities and finances, and provides a single place to discover, report and analyse operations.

Benefits:
University of Toronto has reduced its software licence costs, cut complexity and training, and – most importantly – has released budget to the educational programs. The ease of access to information is enabling a more responsive organisation, providing managers with a clearer view of budgets, personnel, teaching workload and much more.

Case Study

With around 70,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff members, and revenues of around C$1,500 million, University of Toronto is one of Canada’s leading seats of learning and research. From applied science to social work, the university awards some 14,000 degrees annually, including all affiliated colleges and programs.

University of Toronto has run SAP® solutions on AIX-based IBM servers with Oracle databases since 1995, to support financial management, human resources and related business management functions. There are around 1,800 internal and 7,000 external users for the SAP® solutions. The university also has a separate, home-grown student registration system, running on IBM mainframe technology with IBM DB2 information management software.


Registration: Setting the scene
Graham Kemp, Director of Administrative Management Systems, explains the challenges presented by this dual-system approach: “With two different systems we were faced with fragmented information. The student system manages registration, coursework, teaching schedules, funding applications and related issues. The SAP® solutions handle finances, employment and business planning.

“The functional split is not always an accurate reflection of the real-world situation. An employee may also be enrolled in university classes, and a graduate may be paid to teach. Without integration between the two systems, obtaining a complete view of a person’s activities was difficult and costly to achieve.”


Coursework: Reduce costs with DB2
In addition to finding ways to improve integration between systems, Graham Kemp and his team were under pressure to reduce operating costs for IT. The ten-year site license for the university’s existing Oracle platform was under review as were other components of the infrastructuer in an attempt to reduce operating costs.

While staying on a known server and database solution was tempting, rising license costs and the difficulties of data integration were powerful motives to migrate.

“IBM approached the University with an offer to migrate its SAP® solutions to IBM DB2, running on IBM company logo image pSeries servers,” recalls Graham Kemp.

“Our motive was to start sharing data between the SAP® solutions and the student systems more effectively, and the hurdles were the costs and risks of migration. IBM not only listened to and understood our needs, they proposed a complete DB2 migration service at a price that really made sense.

"Our database migration decision was based on selecting the software technology that provided the best performance results with SAP® solutions. In comparison with databases from other vendors, IBM DB2 UDB demonstrates a better price-to-performance ratio combined with high quality technology and provides additional ease of use with the integration of DB2 commands into SAP® software.” The SAP® R/3® environment was on 32-bit Oracle v8.1, and the EBP environment was on 64-bit Oracle v9.2.

"We are pleased with our decision to migrate SAP® from Oracle to DB2 on AIX running on IBM pSeries because of the proven performance, availability and cost-effectiveness. Automating the configuration of DB2 and providing a single point for storage management will allow us to further drive down our costs. We rely on both SAP and IBM to meet our high standards for continuous availability and high performance."


Continual assessment of performance
University of Toronto’s SAP® solutions now run on a cluster of IBM pSeries model 615 servers. Working with IBM Global Services, the migration from Oracle to DB2 (around 1TB of data) on pSeries was carried out by specialists from the IBM DB2 Competence Center in Toronto, ensuring a rapid and flawless transition. Headline figures for the new SAP® solution with DB2 and pSeries are already showing lower annual maintenance costs. With a fixed annual budget, such savings are used to reinvest in people and skills, allowing the IT department to provide enhanced services.

“Vendors always say that their product offers better performance: in the case of DB2, it turned out to be true,” comments Graham Kemp. “Increased performance is not only important in terms of enhanced user experience. It also extends the useful life of existing server hardware, and the money saved through not having to buy or upgrade hardware pays for staff or for developing new services.”


Collective working: Sharing skills
With DB2 as the underlying database for both the SAP® solutions and the mainframe-based student application, Graham Kemp’s team can now more easily exploit the data that was formerly locked up in isolated systems.

“Around 7,000 users log in using web applications to access their self-serve HR and research funding data,” says Graham Kemp. “Academic staff with funding requests for research grants in progress can see current status, reported directly from the financial systems.

The university makes extensive use of data warehousing – also migrated from Oracle to DB2 – to provide management reports by faculty, project, student, teacher or funding, from the shared DB2 data. This enables a more complete picture of activities across the whole campus, connecting the funding position to the academic situation to the financial management of the university.


Final exams: better information
University of Toronto looks set to continue its successful relationship with IBM, as Graham Kemp explains: “We have a great deal of trust in the IBM team. IBM looked at our total requirement and the best way to fulfill it, then provided a complete solution – from hardware through to migration to DB2. We have achieved the promised cost savings with DB2, along with improved performance, and we are already gaining the benefits of better data integration from the SAP® and IBM solution.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
System p

Software:
DB2 Data Servers

Operating system:
AIX

Legal Information

IBM Deutschland GmbH D-70548 Stuttgart ibm.com/solutions/sap IBM, the IBM logo, the On Demand Business logo, e-business on demand and ibm.com, eServer, iSeries, xSeries, DB2 Universals Database, Lotus and WebShere are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. Microsoft, Windows and Window NT are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. Other company, product and service names may be trademarks, or service marks of others. This case study illustrates how one IBM customer uses IBM and/or IBM Business Partner technologies/services. Many factors have contributed to the results and benefits described. IBM does not guarantee comparable results. All information contained herein was provided by the featured customer and/or IBM Business Partner. IBM does not attest to its accuracy. © Copyright IBM Corporation 2005 All rights reserved. © Copyright 2005 SAP AG SAP AG Neurottstraße 16 D-69190 Walldorf SAP, the SAP logo, mySAP and all other SAP products and services mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany and several other countries.

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