Published on 26-Oct-2009
Validated on 25 Jun 2012
"Individual solutions lead to high internal maintenance and rollout costs. SAP offers a comprehensive range of solutions, from order processing through to logistics. These state-of-the-art tools speed up our processes and optimise IT support." - Christian Baier, group head of SAP Basis and LANs/servers at REHAU's Corporate Service Center
Rehau AG + Co.
The company has a plan to replace all its in-house developed applications (which currently run on various platforms) with standard SAP solutions.
Optimisation of the database infrastructure as part of the global migration to standard SAP software
Consolidation of all business processes using SAP and DB2, based on the SAP Adaptive Computing FlexFrame™ for SAP® solution from Fujitsu Siemens Computers with Linux®
Protection of investment by using a database consistent with the SAP strategy; significant improvement in data security and recovery through integrated database functions; superb price/performance ratio.
The world of polymer materials
REHAU is the premium worldwide brand for polymer-based solutions in the construction, automotive and industry sectors. Its expertise and innovative strength in surface technology, as well as in materials and systems development generate continuous corporate growth. The REHAU Group employs more than 15,000 people at over 170 locations in 54 countries, including approximately 7300 people in Germany. This family-owned company was founded in 1948 in Rehau in the German state of Oberfranken.
Decision for future IT strategy
Central to REHAU’s corporate philosophy is the pursuance of long-term goals, and this applies to IT too. Summer 2007 saw the launch of the Rehau Best Practice project. The aim of the project is for all business processes to be mapped using standard SAP software. Existing and new SAP applications will be consolidated to create a single landscape for use around the world.
All custom-programmed software, which currently runs on a number of different system platforms, will be migrated to standard SAP solutions in the medium term. “Individual solutions lead to high internal maintenance and rollout costs,” says Christian Baier, group head of SAP Basis and LANs/servers at REHAU’s Corporate Service Center. “SAP offers a comprehensive range of solutions, from order processing through to logistics. These state-of-the-art tools speed up our processes and optimise IT support.” The implementation partner for the development of global templates, customisation and mapping of business processes within SAP is IBM Global Business Services. The timeframe for the project is 14 months.
Focus on IBM DB2
The Corporate Service Center at the Group’s head office in Rehau acts as the IT service provider for all REHAU companies worldwide. This is also where the SAP systems are hosted. SAP has already been used with IBM DB2 in production systems in many companies of Rehau, including on Intel platforms for more than ten years. At one time that was a rarity in the sector, but the wider use of IBM DB2 is now part of the strategic SAP decision. “As a long-standing user of IBM DB2, we have repeatedly checked whether it is still the ideal database for REHAU,” explains Christian Baier. “We used requirement specifications to compare all the alternatives.” The bottom line was that DB2 is the best-practice database in the SAP environment for REHAU.
As Baier points out, “By using DB2 optimised for SAP software we benefit from the most in-house expertise, the best price/performance ratio and the greatest functionality. At the same time we receive superb, cross-vendor support from a central point of contact at SAP, the Online Service System (SAP OSS), which extends through to DB2 Development Support at the IBM Laboratory in Toronto.”
DB2 in a virtualised SAP environment
The database subsystem is a vital factor for smooth SAP operation. “Using DB2 for Linux, UNIX® and Windows® gives us very high investment protection and strategic security, since this is a priority platform for SAP,” adds Christian Baier. REHAU opted for FlexFrame for SAP as a Linux-based Adaptive Computing solution with hardware from Fujitsu Siemens Computers. “As experienced DB2 users, we wanted to be able to integrate this database system into the virtualised environment,” says Baier.
“Working alongside IBM, the whole process has gone very well. We are one of the first companies in the world to operate DB2 in a virtualised SAP environment using the Adaptive Computing method developed by Fujitsu Siemens Computers.” This solution gives REHAU maximum scalability and flexibility along with independence from the underlying hardware. Virtualisation enables resources to be adapted to specific needs.
Optimised IT service with DB2 HADR and Relocate
The total volume of data is currently around 17 terabytes. 2200 SAP users work on the systems in Europe alone. SAP applications running as productive systems include ERP, GTS, HR, BI/SEM and SRM, while CRM, EP, XI and SCM run as project systems. In total there are currently 40 SAP systems with DB2 at REHAU, roughly one-third of them productive and two-thirds for testing and development. The Windows platforms for SAP and DB2 are gradually being superseded by Linux. As Baier explains, “The Windows environment offered no high-availability solution for the database.
With the fully integrated DB2 HADR function (High Availability Disaster Recovery) we can now provide a high-availability database operation, without making the system any more complex. This has prevented the need for additional external cluster solutions, with the associated costs and risks to functionality. That is a real advantage of DB2.”
Other database build-in functions include DB2 Relocate. This creates snapshots of the storage system while the database is running. Baier lists the benefits: “Within just a few minutes, and with no downtime required, we have a copy of the system which we can use to create a test or development system from a production system, for example. This enables us to respond to service requests from our internal customers more quickly and more effectively. Previously, providing test systems or current data was always a time-consuming process, often involving weekend work and the shutdown of production systems. The Cloning function in DB2 is a stable and user-friendly solution. Fast response times to service requests are a big advantage – both for us and for our customers.” Christian Baier sums up the reasons for their choice: “The stability, performance and functionality of DB2 have generally always been at a very high level, and because of this consistent quality we decided to stick with DB2.”
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
DB2 for Linux
IBM Deutschland GmbH D-70548 Stuttgart ibm.com/de IBM Austria Obere Donaustrasse 95 A-1020 Vienna ibm.com/at IBM Switzerland Vulkanstrasse 106 CH-8010 Zurich ibm.com/ch The IBM home page can be found at ibm.com IBM, the IBM logo and ibm.com are registered trademarks of IBM Corporation. DB2 is a trademark of IBM Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. FlexFrame for SAP is a trademark of Fujitsu Siemens Computers. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, or both. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the United States and other countries. 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. Windows is a trademark 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 2009. All Rights Reserved.