Pentair saves costs by consolidating SAP applications to IBM Power servers

Published on 22-Dec-2010

Validated on 09 Dec 2013

"The IBM i Power platform provides the reliability that a complex, global SAP environment demands, as well as providing a platform for future system growth whether through additional users from organic growth, acquisitions, or for expanded analytics." - Christina Crone, Director, IT, Pentair Residential Flow


Industrial Products

Deployment country:
United States

IT/infrastructure, Business Resiliency, Enabling Business Flexibility, Energy Efficiency, Enterprise Resource Planning, High Availability , Information Infrastructure, Optimizing IT, Optimizing IT

IBM Business Partner:


Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Pentair is a global leader in providing innovative products and systems used worldwide in the movement, treatment, storage and enjoyment of water. The company’s Technical Products Group is a leader in the global enclosures and thermal management markets, designing and manufacturing products that house and protect sensitive electronic and electrical components.

Business need:
Pentair’s rapid growth, acquisitions and diversification into new markets presented a variety of technical and business issues related to a disparate IT infrastructure across its several geographies. Unanticipated workloads and growth in the demand for its business intelligence systems, which are all running on hardware that was coming towards the end of its life-cycle, were leading to reliability, performance and scalability challenges.

Pentair chose to migrate SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse and SAP NetWeaver Portal from Intel processor-based systems running the Microsoft Windows operating system and Microsoft SQL Server databases to the IBM Power platform, featuring IBM POWER6 processors, running the IBM i operating system and its integrated IBM DB2 database.

Sales order entry processes were reduced by more than one minute per person per day, delivering a total productivity gain of around 500 hours annually. Pentair cut operational costs and reduced headcount for system administration, and avoided the cost of adding two full-time employee (FTE) equivalents to help manage separate servers. The IBM Power 570 server has lower power consumption than the previous server infrastructure, further reducing operational costs.

Case Study

Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Pentair is a global leader in providing innovative products and systems used worldwide in the movement, treatment, storage and enjoyment of water. The company’s Technical Products Group is a leader in the global enclosures and thermal management markets, designing and manufacturing products that house and protect sensitive electronic and electrical components.

In 2009, Pentair generated revenues of $2.7 billion and currently employs an estimated 13,000 people worldwide. Of these, some 1,600 individuals use a wide range of SAP solutions supported across 44 locations in 11 countries in the languages of English, German and Italian.

Pentair originally implemented its SAP ERP applications in 2001, deploying financials, controlling, materials management, production planning, and sales and distribution among other components on IBM Power Systems family servers running the IBM i operating system. The company subsequently implemented SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse and SAP NetWeaver Portal on an Intel-based platform.

The SAP applications sit at the heart of the business, providing integrated financial, manufacturing and customer management processes. The associated SAP NetWeaver Portal enables 189 vendors and 1,037 customers to access business-critical information and analysis from SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW).

Wendy Marker, Manager Pentair Residential Flow, explains: “Pentair has relied on SAP applications for the complete order-to-cash process, for example, and we have an extremely efficient operation. The big emphasis now is on enhancing our marketing capabilities. We’re focusing on customer relationship management and understanding our business, which means exploiting the capabilities of SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse.”

Growth creates business challenges
As Pentair grows and as more effort is being directed towards customer analysis, the SAP NetWeaver BW platform had expanded faster than originally anticipated, resulting in slow response times for much-needed reports.

Wendy Marker comments, “Our Windows-based servers supporting the SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse were at the end of their lifecycle. This created lags in performance that impeded productivity for our user community. Crucially, the BW servers had no high-availability or disaster recovery solutions in place, and we required additional duplicate servers for back up purposes, which was a costly and inefficient solution.

“Our strategy was also based on consolidating our infrastructure and standardizing to a single architecture, which would bring us reduced systems management costs. We decided to migrate our SAP NetWeaver systems from individual Windows servers to the IBM Power platform.

“We chose the IBM i operating system as a tried and tested platform for SAP application workloads. The integration of DB2 within the operating system provided major benefits including scalability, high availability, reliability, and excellent performance. It also eliminates the costs of the Oracle database licenses.”

Choose IBM Power, IBM i and IBM DB2
Pentair migrated its SAP NetWeaver BW environment to its existing IBM Power 570 server. To make this possible, the server was upgraded to POWER6 processors and had one further processor added, making a total of nine CPUs. Main memory was increased by 90GB, and disk storage increased by 7TB. The SAP R/3 production data, also managed by the integrated DB2 database, stands at 4TB, growing at around 55GB each month. The additional disk storage allows for three years of growth across the two production POWER6 LPARs that host Pentair’s SAP production systems.

Wendy Marker, Manager, SAP NetWeaver and Technology, comments, “The migration process was smooth and allowed us to integrate our SAP NetWeaver BW systems with our production applications, a process that from planning to execution took a short six months. We worked with IBM and our business partner Symmetry Corporation.”

The production IBM Power 570 system is in a corporate data center and it runs two logical partitions (LPARs) containing the primary SAP central instance, SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse and SAP NetWeaver Portal. The SAP central instance is allocated five CPUs and the SAP NetWeaver applications are allocated four. Both LPARs operate in uncapped mode, enabling all the processors to use the maximum available processing power as necessary, balanced dynamically by the IBM Power Systems Hardware Management Console.

Complete data protection
At a separate business unit data center, Pentair also operates a non-production Capacity Back Up (CBU) Edition Power 550 server with four POWER6 processors, of which one is active. The server supports development and test services, supporting SAP applications in one LPAR, backup and disaster recovery services run in a second LPAR, and a third LPAR for sandbox functionality.

Mimix software replicates data from the production to the backup server. Should disaster strike, Pentair is able to activate additional POWER6 processors, using the IBM Capacity Back Up for i (CBUi) model. CBUi allows a primary system processor’s optional i license entitlements and 5250 Enterprise Enablement license entitlements to be temporarily transferred to the CBU Edition server when the primary system processor cores are not in concurrent use.

For Pentair, one of the most significant advantages of this arrangement is that there is no longer any need to provide a separate backup process for the SAP NetWeaver applications, as all the business-critical SAP applications and data on the primary IBM Power 570 server are now included in the Mimix backup to the IBM Power 550 server.

Pentair also backs up and archives data to tape for additional security. Previously this transfer to tape had run from the production server, which could degrade system response times. Because the non-production site now holds a current, active copy of the application state and data, transfer to tape is handled by the non-production server, reducing the workload on the primary system.

Greater productivity, better service
“For the production IBM Power 570 server, we have measured performance since our upgrade to POWER6 processors. We have seen major enhancements on all the response times that count,” says Wendy Marker. “Dialog response times have approximately halved for example, while database and GUI response times have significantly improved. Faster response creates productivity gains for our user community as well as increased customer satisfaction.

“For example, for our sales order entry process, with close to 100 staff worldwide, the productivity gain is in the region of 500 hours annually, which equates to thousands of dollars. More importantly, faster response times mean improved customer service and that is our primary focus!

“Operational costs are lower as we are able to reduce the time that personnel spend on administration and maintenance. The IBM i operating system offers integrated workload management and built-in monitoring and performance tools, which ensure optimal performance at all times without requiring constant intervention from database administrators. This enables IT staff to concentrate on other more productive activities, and we have saved time equivalent to two full-time employees.”

“The SAP NetWeaver and SAP applications combined with integrated DB2 on IBM i are much easier to manage on the IBM Power 570, which itself offers a reduced footprint at our data center. The highly integrated IBM Power server requires much less rack space and lower energy consumption, reducing operational costs. If you account for the performance improvements, fewer network connections and the automated database administration capabilities included in DB2, the total available savings are even greater. Pentair benefits from reductions in database license costs, disk and tape storage systems, and system administration processes. These cost savings offset – by wide margins – the short-term apparent savings of buying ‘less expensive’ servers.”

Single view of the truth
With the all-important SAP NetWeaver BW system now on the IBM Power 570 server, users are able to obtain much deeper insight into customer behavior with reliable, rapid delivery of automated reports. For example, it is possible to review sales by customer type, product, purchasing value and volume, and more, to help forecast trends and analyze profitability.

Wendy Marker comments, “SAP NetWeaver BW offers an analytical view of our business, and allows all the operating units to access the same data. Based on a single version of the truth, all our decisions now start from a shared foundation, and we are able to compare business unit performance on a like-for-like basis.”

Plan for the future
Pentair’s future plans include the full implementation of SAP BusinessObjects, and Sym-soft control panel Governance Risk and Compliance tools, and subsequently adding an IBM Systems solution for SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse Accelerator. As these new solutions are added, Pentair will upgrade the production IBM Power 570 server to POWER6 processors, which preserves the original investment in IBM Power servers while providing greater processing capacity and further enhanced virtualization capabilities.

Wendy Marker concludes, “We’re very happy with the IBM Power 570 solution. It has enabled Pentair to consolidate its production SAP applications on to a single server, which provides low cost of support, high scalability and excellent performance.”

At the business level, Christina Crone, Director, IT, Pentair Residential Flow, comments, “SAP applications, SAP NetWeaver BW and the IBM Power technology offer an unbeatable combination for Pentair, ready to help us grow the next phase of the business.”

Christina Crone also comments, “The IBM i Power platform provides the reliability that a complex, global SAP environment demands as well as providing a platform for future system growth whether through additional users from organic growth, acquisitions, or for expanded analytics.”

Products and services used

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

Power 570, Power Systems, Power Systems running i

IBM i, DB2 for i5/OS

Operating system:

IBM-SAP Alliance

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