Rasselstein: migration to IBM DB2 helps to cut costs and improve performance for business-critical SAP applications

Published on 11-Mar-2010

Validated on 03 Dec 2013

"Along with the functional aspects of this solution, we are looking especially at its overall profitability for Rasselstein. The cost of migration was recouped in the first year of operation, and operating costs were reduced by more than half." - Ralf Damitz, CIO, Rasselstein GmbH

Customer:
Rasselstein

Industry:
Industrial Products

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
Enterprise Resource Planning, Information Infrastructure, Optimizing IT, Optimizing IT

IBM Business Partner:
SAP

Overview

Rasselstein, founded in 1760, is a pioneer of iron- and steelmaking, is the world’s largest tinplate production site, and is Germany’s only tinplate manufacturer. Located in Andernach on the Rhine, Rasselstein GmbH is a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp AG, and forms part of the Steel Europe business area. Some 2,400 employees produce around 1.5 million tons of packaging steel a year, destined for 400 customers in more than 80 countries.

Business need:
Rasselstein struggled with the costs and effort required to manage application release changes for different SAP systems, convert to the Unicode standard and control database growth. The challenge was to improve response times and reduce operational expenses and solve these technical issues at the same time.

Solution:
Implemented IBM DB2 9.5 for Linux, Unix and Windows Enterprise Server Edition with Storage Optimization feature, managed by IBM Information Management Software Services; completed the database and Unicode conversion processes in a single step.

Benefits:
Major reductions in the total costs of ownership, with significantly lower storage requirements, and measurably better response time behavior.

Case Study

To read a German version of this case study, click here.

Rasselstein, founded in 1760, is a pioneer of iron- and steelmaking, is the world’s largest tinplate production site, and is Germany’s only tinplate manufacturer. Located in Andernach on the Rhine, Rasselstein GmbH is a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp AG, and forms part of the Steel Europe business area. Some 2,400 employees produce around 1.5 million tons of packaging steel a year, destined for 400 customers in more than 80 countries.

As one of Europe’s three largest packaging steel manufacturers, Rasselstein leads the world in tinplate production and technology. Its tinplate is shipped in coils or sheets, and customers process it in to the widest range of packaging types.
Continuous improvement in efficiency help to maintain Rasselstein’s strong competitive position. Tin cans traditionally 0.13 mm thick; Rasselstein is working on a thickness of 0.10 mm.

Cross-enterprise IT use
“We rely on highly available and efficient IT,” says Günter Bell, head of system support. “Our company’s IT penetration level is extremely high. SAP ERP, SAP Business Warehouse, SAP Supplier Relationship Management, SAP Customer Relationship Management and SAP Human Capital Management alone are used by 1,980 employees.”

The entire IT, consisting of servers, host systems and extending to desktop management, is managed from the central IT building with assistance from external IT service providers. Rasselstein is committed to the most economic IT operation possible, and the company also provides IT services for associated enterprises as well as hosting payroll accounting for other ThyssenKrupp subsidiaries.

In the course of proposed release changes for different SAP systems and the switchover to Unicode, which usually leads to significant database growth, Rasselstein was looking in 2008 for database alternatives. The aim was to cut costs, improve response time behavior, and avoid investment in disk storage expansion.

Four possible database systems were compared for SAP performance, storage requirement, compression possibilities and costs. All of the results indicated that replacing Oracle with IBM DB2 would be the best choice.

“We found IBM’s profitability calculations especially convincing,” says Rasselstein GmbH CIO Ralf Damitz. “We were able to complete the business case they presented to us with in-house figures that verified and confirmed it clearly.”

To validate the decision, Rasselstein chose to pilot a system for which the release change to SAP BW 7.0 was imminent.

Databases size cut by up to 70 percent
In total, 16 SAP systems with a previous data volume of 5TB were converted to IBM DB2 9.5 for Linux, Unix and Windows Enterprise Server Edition with Storage Optimization Feature for storage compression.

“With a very small project team it took only around three to four days per system, including database conversion, release change and Unicode conversion,” Günter Bell explains. “As we carried out the conversion work in close cooperation with IBM Software Services, we quickly got to know very well what was for us a new product.”

After the migration, the databases were between 25 and 70 percent smaller. In individual cases, the improvement in performance was up to 30 percent.

“An essential aspect of the economic efficiency calculations was the decision to include the Unicode conversion as part of a single-step process,” Ralf Damitz says.

Instead of the typical database growth by a factor of around 1.3 when converting to the Unicode standard, database sizes were in fact reduced significantly. The storage compression features within DB2 make a major contribution toward this reduction, and additional disk storage for the IBM DS8100 was not required.

Future database developments
The project and the approach adopted were coordinated closely in terms of strategy and licensing with the ThyssenKrupp Group management and SAP. The valuable know-how and experiences gained from the migration will be shared within the Group to exploit the benefits of DB2.

Alongside with the cost reduction data, the Rasselstein management was particularly impressed by the alliance between IBM and SAP. This included common database development and support strategies, the choice of DB2 as the strategic SAP platform, and verification and certification of new DB2 releases by SAP within the shortest of times.

“Thanks to the excellent co-operation between SAP and IBM Rasselstein can now follow progress in database technology much more closely,” says Günter Bell.

The High Availability Disaster Recovery (HADR) function within DB2 is to be used in the future at a computing center operated jointly with another group company that has a comparable IT landscape. The DB2 switchover now completed is the ideal foundation for the proposed release change to SAP ERP in 2010.

Summing up, Ralf Damitz says that “Along with the functional aspects of this solution, we are looking especially at its overall profitability for Rasselstein. The cost of migration was recouped in the first year of operation, and operating costs were reduced by more than half.”

Products and services used

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

Software:
DB2 for Linux, UNIX and Windows, DB2 Storage Optimization Feature

Service:
IBM-SAP Alliance

Legal Information

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