Published on 28-Dec-2012
"IBM PureData System for Transactions has the potential to significantly improve the provisioning process and, therefore, the delivery time for a DB2 pureScale cluster. With PureData System for Transactions, we wouldn’t have to spend weeks or months on implementations. It can potentially eliminate nearly two months off the server-build process." - —Robert M. Collins Jr. (Kent), Database Engineer, BNSF Railway
BNSF Railway Inc.
Travel & Transportation
In the railway business, dispatchers rely on daily shipment and scheduling data to determine how to increase operational efficiency, confirm shipments arrive on time and improve overall performance. At BNSF Railway, one of North America’s leading freight transportation companies, IBM DB2 pureScale database software is helping the company gain extreme reliability - 99.999 percent - and capacity for its data driven services, while supporting projected IT savings of more than 135 percent.
BNSF Railway personnel require continuous access to data to confirm shipments are delivered on schedule, optimize delivery schedules and evaluate operational costs.
BNSF selected IBM® DB2® pureScale® software as its strategic database platform for more than 400 business-critical OLTP applications. The software’s built-in clustering technology enables the railway to optimize the performance and efficiency of its data driven services.
● Achieved 99.999 data reliability for OLTP applications ● Anticipated 90 percent reduction in number of database servers ● Projected to reduce database server expenses by 135 percent
BNSF Railway is one of North America’s leading freight transportation companies, with a rail network of 32,000 route miles in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. The railway is one of the largest Class I freight railroads in the United States—transporting everything from agricultural and consumer products to industrial products and coal.
At BNSF, continuous data availability is a top priority for the company’s IT department.
“Our dispatchers rely on daily shipment and scheduling data to determine how to increase velocity on the railroad and how to make sure shipments are delivered on time,” says Robert M. Collins Jr. (Kent), database engineer for BNSF. “Operations staff also uses this data to evaluate our cost structure and performance so we can stay competitive with other forms of transportation. It’s our job to make sure that information is always available so they can do their jobs efficiently.”
Selecting a strategic database platform
Two years ago, Collins, a 34-year IT veteran, and his team evaluated database technologies that would provide 100 percent availability and linear scalability. They selected IBM DB2 pureScale database software for the company’s strategic database platform.
“We went to the IBM DB2 lab in Toronto to test three workloads on DB2 pureScale,” says Collins. “We took workloads that we thought would cause the most difficulty to any clustering technology. But to our amazement DB2 pureScale was extremely successful.”
Extreme capacity and scalability
Today, BNSF is implementing DB2 pureScale database software to serve more than 400 business-critical OLTP applications.
“We currently have three clusters built and operational, with a fourth cluster under construction,” say Collins. “And we have started the process of moving the other application databases to DB2 pureScale.”
For BNSF, one of the significant benefits of DB2 pureScale database software is its scalability.
“DB2 pureScale is the only solution we found that provided near linear scalability,” says Collins. “It scales 100 percent, which means when I add servers and resources to the cluster, I get 100 percent of the benefit. Before, we had to ‘oversize’ our servers, and used only 50 - 60 percent of the available capacity so we could scale them when we needed.”
This increased capacity will drive huge savings.
“With IBM DB2 pureScale, we’ll be able to consolidate 30 database servers down to three or four,” says Collins. “That’s a tremendous savings in terms of power costs, maintenance and support costs, licensing fees, floor space, and so on. We project reduction of database server expenses of over 135 percent with IBM DB2 pureScale database software.”
The built-in clustering technology also increases the resiliency of the environment—helping staff achieve 99.999 percent reliability.
“We pulled cards, we powered off systems, we uninstalled devices, we did everything we could do to make the cluster go out of service, and we couldn’t make it happen,” says Collins.
Increased staff productivity
This built-in clustering technology also means that DBAs don’t have to move databases to larger servers to support increased demand.
“DBAs who before spent 7.5 hours a day moving databases from one system to another just because demand changed can now focus their time on helping the business get more value out of the data,” says Collins. “Almost half of our 11 DBAs spend time daily just maintaining the systems and keeping them running because the databases are in isolated environments. Once I have all our applications moved to DB2 pureScale, this will be eliminated.”
IBM PureSystems™ offering helps reduce implementation time
As BNSF deploys DB2 pureScale database software across nearly 400 applications, the question for Collins team is: How can we “stand up” new database servers more quickly so we can deliver the benefits to our business faster?
This is where Collins believes the IBM PureData™ System for Transactions platform may help. This new system from IBM integrates server, storage, networking and data management expertise into a security-rich system that dramatically simplifies deployment, maintenance and support.
The DB2 pureScale database clustering technology is built into the PureData System for Transactions offering and ready to run right out of the box. With the IBM PureData System for Transactions, BNSF will be able to consolidate database servers and load data in hours on efficient systems optimized for transaction workloads.
“IBM PureData System for Transactions has the potential to significantly improve the provisioning process and, therefore, the delivery time for a DB2 pureScale cluster,” Collins says. “With PureData System for Transactions, we wouldn’t have to spend weeks or months on implementations. It can potentially eliminate nearly two months off the server-build process.”
● IBM® DB2® pureScale®
For more information
For more information about BNSF Railways, Inc., visit: www.bnsf.com
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
DB2 pureScale Feature for Enterprise Server Edition
© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America December 2012 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, DB2, pureScale, PureData, and PureSystems are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The performance data and client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. It is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other products or programs with IBM products and programs. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided. IMC14784-USEN-00