KONE elevates business efficiency with SAP ERP and IBM DB2

Published on 12-Mar-2009

Validated on 18 Jul 2013

"The SAP applications are vital to our business, and the DB2 database plays a critical part in ensuring that our users can access the tools and data they need, whenever they need it. Choosing DB2 has delivered significant benefits for our organization: database size has been reduced by 40 per cent and performance is 15 per cent above our targets." - Brian Visser, IT Operations Director, Central Services at KONE

Customer:
KONE

Industry:
Construction / Architecture / Engineering

Deployment country:
Finland

Solution:
Enterprise Resource Planning, Optimizing IT

IBM Business Partner:
SAP

Overview

KONE is one of the world’s leading suppliers of elevators, escalators, and innovative solutions for modernization and maintenance. Involved in both manufacturing and services, KONE has built up a global reputation for safety and quality, and now operates in 50 countries worldwide. The company has 32,500 employees, and achieved net sales of 4.6 billion Euros in 2008.

Business need:
KONE made a strategic decision in 2003 to move its SAP application environment from its existing Informix database to a new platform, to enable support for Java and Unicode ahead of a migration to SAP ERP 6.0. The new database would need to provide excellent performance on the company’s HP PA-RISC and HP Integrity hardware.

Solution:
With the help of SAP Consulting and HP, KONE evaluated databases from both IBM and Oracle, and decided to move to IBM DB2. Working with IBM Global Technology Services, KONE performed 57 separate migrations (including all test migrations) over the course of eight months, and introduced Unicode for improved international language support.

Benefits:
Migrating to DB2 has helped KONE achieve average SAP application response times of 15 per cent faster than the target speed – running under HP-UX on the HP Integrity platform. Restructuring has cut overall database size by 40 per cent. KONE and HP have recently completed the upgrade to DB2 9 and are starting to implement Deep Compression to reduce data volumes while increasing performance even further.

Case Study

KONE is one of the world’s leading suppliers of elevators, escalators, and innovative solutions for modernization and maintenance. Involved in both manufacturing and services, KONE has built up a global reputation for safety and quality, and now operates in 50 countries worldwide. The company has 32,500 employees, and achieved net sales of 4.6 billion Euros in 2008.

To manage the core processes for its manufacturing and services business units, KONE relies on its centralized ERP system – a standardized implementation of SAP applications including SAP R/3, SAP ERP Human Capital Management, SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence and SAP NetWeaver Portal. The company runs four main instances of these applications – one for Europe, one for the US, one for the Asia Pacific region and one global instance to support the new KONE Model – which are hosted at two main data centers in Brussels and Singapore.

“We have developed a very strong architectural model for the SAP ERP environment, which enables us to run scheduled maintenance for each of the three instances outside of working hours,” says Brian Visser, IT Operations Director, Central Services at KONE. “So, for example, we run our US instance in the Brussels data center, so that our European infrastructure team can complete routine maintenance tasks before the US employees get to work in the morning.”

KONE originally decided to support its SAP application environment with Informix databases, but over time, the company decided to review this decision based on ongoing support and product development limitations. Moving to SAP ERP 6.0 – the next major upgrade step – would require a change of database platform.

“Our SAP applications run the business from end to end,” explains Brian Visser. “Because these applications are so important to our business, it is important for us to align ourselves with SAP’s roadmap for support and upgrades. KONE has developed a new central instance global model on SAP ERP 6.0, so the existing ERP implementations will be retired over time as we consolidate further.”

Choosing a new database platform

Making a strategic move to a new database would only benefit KONE if the platform was capable of delivering excellent performance, as Brian Visser explains:

“Almost 10,000 of KONE’s employees are users of the SAP applications, and in some territories we also use the SAP Employee Self Service application, which means the number of concurrent users we need to support is relatively large. As a result, we need to get the best possible performance from the environment, so we invest a lot of time and effort in optimization. When we decided to look for a new database, we wanted both excellent native performance and expert technical support from a vendor that would be able to help us get the most out of the platform.”

KONE runs its SAP application environment under Linux on HP Intel blade servers, with the supporting database running on an HP-UX Integrity platform. The company worked closely with SAP Consulting and HP Services to evaluate the different databases on the market, to ensure that the new platform would run smoothly in combination with HP hardware, HP-UX and SAP ERP.

“In terms of performance and stability, we found IBM DB2 fulfilled our requirements,” says Brian Visser. “Moreover, Oracle is now more of an application vendor than a database specialist, so we were not confident that they would give us the level of support we required. By contrast, the IBM team was extremely impressive in terms of personal commitment and enthusiasm for the migration project and post-migration support.

“There were also a number of clear technical advantages of choosing DB2 over Oracle as a strategic direction – for example, unique functions such as the DB2 Database Partitioning Feature (DPF) and Multidimensional Clustering (MDC) for SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence applications improve performance through almost-linear scaling and optimal storage of data on disk. Equally, DB2 already had a proven Unicode upgrade path with a lot of convincing references.”

Completing a complex migration

Once KONE had chosen DB2, IBM Global Technology Services worked with the company’s in-house IT team to create a plan for the migration project. KONE had 22 different database instances, containing several terabytes of data. Including test runs, the total number of migrations executed was 57 – and since production downtime during working hours was deemed unacceptable, all 57 would have to take place during standard maintenance windows.

“IBM Global Technology Service helped us manage this large and complex migration project successfully, completing all 57 migrations on a phased basis over the course of eight months,” comments Brian Visser.

“The process of restructuring the data for the move to DB2 enabled us to reduce the average size of our databases by 40 per cent. We have just completed the migration to HP Itanium and the upgrade to DB2 9, and we are excited by the prospect of using the Deep Compression feature to reduce database size by a further 40 per cent.”

Boosting performance

Reducing the size of the database creates savings in terms of storage hardware, but its main advantage is that a larger proportion of the data can be cached – boosting performance in the SAP application environment. This helps KONE provide a better service to end users, and support more users with less hardware – keeping the total cost of the infrastructure as low as possible.

“With DB2 9 deep compression, we expect performance to increase even further,” comment Brian Visser.

Reliability and availability

Due to the reliability of DB2 on the HP-UX platform, KONE is protected against the risk of unplanned production downtime – keeping the business running smoothly at all times. DB2 also helps to reduce the necessity for planned downtime, as many database administration tasks can be performed live.

The KONE team works with IBM and HP on a proactive basis – looking to improve performance through optimization. IBM and HP both have laboratories in Böblingen, Germany, where they work with SAP to refine performance and reliability, and KONE benefits from this collaboration. IBM has even assigned a ‘lab advocate’ to KONE – a very senior technical specialist whose role is to make sure that the customer gains full advantage from the latest research carried out by the IBM-SAP-HP partnership.

“We have built a close, responsive and mutually beneficial relationship with IBM Global Technology Services, HP Managed Services and SAP, which makes a huge difference to the way we operate as a company,” says Brian Visser. “Instead of having to push for the bare minimum of service, we are actually collaborating to share knowledge and build a coherent strategy for the future. Together we are proving that DB2 for SAP ERP on HP-UX is a viable option.”

Making the right choice

Since the initial migration, KONE has worked with independent outside consultancies to perform two separate technology reviews to assess whether choosing DB2 was the correct decision in retrospect. In both cases, the answer has been positive and convincing.

Brian Visser comments: “We were fortunate in some ways. We couldn’t have predicted this at the time, but after the migration took place, SAP started highlighting why customers should consider DB2 as their preferred database, and there is a very clear roadmap for both products in the coming years. More importantly, however, we chose DB2 on the right grounds – we knew that it would be a highly reliable, high-performance platform, underpinned by excellent technical support.”

Leveraging SAP applications

With the SAP application environment running smoothly, KONE can manage its core financial and human resources processes to a high level of precision, ensuring that its manufacturing and service processes operate at maximum efficiency. With detailed reporting and analysis provided by SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence, KONE’s senior management can make rapid, informed business decisions, drawing on the latest real-time data.

Brian Visser concludes: “The SAP applications are vital to our business, and the DB2 database plays a critical part in ensuring that our users can access the tools and data they need, whenever they need it. Choosing DB2 has delivered significant benefits for our organization: database size has been reduced by 40 per cent and performance is 15 per cent above our targets. By continuing to work with IBM Global Technology Services, and by moving to DB2 9, we expect to optimize our environment even further in the future.”

Products and services used

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

Software:
DB2 9 for Linux, UNIX and Windows, DB2 for HP/UX

Operating system:
HP-UX

Service:
GTS ITS Middleware: Information On Demand Infrastructure, IBM-SAP Alliance

Legal Information

IBM Deutschland GmbH D-70548 Stuttgart ibm.com/solutions/sap IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com and DB2 are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of other IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at http://www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml Intel, the Intel logo, Intel Xeon and the Intel Xeon logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the United States and other countries. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, or both. Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT, and the Windows logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. Other company, product or 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. All customer examples cited represent how some customers have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. This publication is for general guidance only. Photographs may show design models. © Copyright IBM Corp. 2009. All rights reserved. © Copyright 2009 SAP AG SAP AG Dietmar-Hopp-Allee 16 D-69190 Walldorf SAP, the SAP logo, SAP and all other SAP products and services mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany and several other countries.