McCormick tastes success with SAP applications with IBM DB2 on IBM Power

Published on 12-Jan-2011

Validated on 05 Jun 2013

"Running SAP applications with DB2 on IBM Power Systems servers has many advantages, including excellent performance, high reliability and easy management." - Charlie Hoppa, Sr. Manager Archiving and Data Integration, McCormick & Company Inc.

McCormick & Company Inc.

Consumer Products, Industrial Products

Deployment country:
United States

Database Management, IT/infrastructure, Business Resiliency, Enterprise Resource Planning, High Availability , Information Governance, Information Infrastructure, Optimizing IT, Security: Governance, Risk and Compliance

IBM Business Partner:


McCormick & Company Inc. is a leading global supplier of spices, herbs, seasonings, specialty foods and flavors. Founded in 1889, the company has its headquarters in Sparks, MD. It operates in more than ten countries, employs 8,000 people, and generated revenues in 2009 of $3.19 billion.

Business need:
McCormick’s SAP ERP landscape is at the heart of its business, and supports almost all of the company’s most critical processes. Any downtime costs money – especially during peak sales periods such as the run-up to Christmas. To minimize the impact on the business, the IT team constantly looks for ways to improve availability and reduce backup and maintenance windows.

McCormick is upgrading its production SAP environment to IBM DB2 9.7 and replacing its older servers with new IBM POWER7 processor-based machines. The company is using advanced features of DB2 such as compression, self-tuning memory management (STMM) and online reorgs to minimize downtime, simplify administration, reduce storage costs and boost performance.

Planned maintenance windows have been reduced by 20 percent, keeping systems available for users and avoiding business disruption. DB2 row compression has reduced database sizes by between 46 and 52 percent, saving storage costs and reducing backup times from 24 hours to just ten. The ability to perform database reorgs online eliminates up to 20 hours of downtime per year. STMM and other automation features minimize workload for database administrators.

Case Study

McCormick & Company Inc. is a leading global supplier of spices, herbs, seasonings, specialty foods and flavors. Founded in 1889, the company has its headquarters in Sparks, MD. It operates in more than ten countries, employs 8,000 people, and generated revenues in 2009 of $3.19 billion.

McCormick is a full-spectrum food company, selling to consumers, food service providers and other companies in the food industry. The company handles the entire end-to-end supply chain from sourcing and manufacturing through to marketing and distribution.

To manage this large and complex business model effectively, the company relies on a full suite of SAP applications, including SAP ERP 6.0, SAP Customer Relationship Management (CRM), SAP Supply Chain Management (SCM), SAP Global Trade Services (GTS), SAP NetWeaver Global Data Synchronization (GDS), SAP NetWeaver Portal, SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW), and SAP NetWeaver Process Integration (PI).

“Our SAP applications manage the majority of our core processes, and are also integrated with a number of legacy systems that handle shopfloor management, labeling, logistics and so on,” explains Charlie Hoppa, Sr. Manager Archiving and Data Integration at McCormick. “For this reason, the availability of our SAP environment is business-critical: downtime can seriously affect everything from financial accounting through to production and distribution.”

To protect against downtime and minimize the need for offline maintenance, McCormick needed to support its SAP applications with a highly reliable and available database and hardware platform.

“Though I was not part of the original team, we performed an in-depth study of different hardware platforms for SAP, and chose servers from the Power Systems – then called IBM RS/6000 – family, running IBM AIX,” says Charlie Hoppa. “McCormick had done its due diligence during the study and was confident that it would be a good choice.”

The next step was to choose a database platform. The company already had some experience of using Oracle databases, but ultimately decided on IBM DB2 because of its tight integration and excellent reliability with AIX.

“We periodically review the choice of database platform, but over the years the case for DB2 has become even stronger,” explains Charlie Hoppa.

“IBM and SAP have built a close alliance, and DB2 is now SAP’s database of choice – in fact, it’s the platform that SAP uses internally for its own systems. The IBM DB2 team and SAP also coordinate the release of major updates to their products, which helps to ensure that the combination of SAP and DB2 is very comprehensively tested and reliable.”

Kingsley Nwafor, Database Manager at McCormick, agrees: “The integration between SAP and DB2 has improved considerably over the years.

“For example, there is an SAP DBA Cockpit, which enables database administrators to control most of the database settings from within the SAP interface, without having to go down to the operating system level. This saves a lot of time and makes it easier to ensure that everything is managed in an optimal way for the SAP environment.”

The company now has approximately 60 IBM Power Systems servers, running 120 Logical Partitions (LPARs) to support its production and non-production SAP applications and DB2 databases. The servers are currently a mixture of IBM POWER5, POWER6 and POWER7 machines, and the company is in the process of upgrading all its systems to version 6.1 of the AIX operating system.

“Ultimately, we are planning a major infrastructure refresh which will standardize on IBM POWER7 hardware,” comments Charlie Hoppa. “From the database perspective, we are also upgrading our DB2 instances to version 9.7, which promises to offer significant benefits through its index compression feature.”

McCormick is already using the row compression features of DB2 version 9.1 in its SAP production environment. This compression technique shrinks database row sizes by building and utilizing a compression dictionary. It enables McCormick to minimize storage requirements while also enhancing performance.

“DB2 Row Compression has reduced the size of our SAP ERP production database by 46 percent, and our SAP NetWeaver BW production database by 52 percent; with the upgrade to DB2 9.7 and the usage of Index Compression, we expect an additional reduction of database size of around 13 percent,” comments Kingsley Nwafor.

“We have also used it on our non-production systems, and seen similar reductions there. As a result, we have saved more than 21 TB of storage capacity overall. The compression has also accelerated query response times, which has helped us to maintain performance even as the databases grow.

Charlie Hoppa adds: “As a further advantage, less data means faster backups – our full backup window has shrunk from 24 hours to just 10. This reduces the amount of downtime for our systems, and also reduces the amount of time that network speeds are slowed down by backup traffic.”

McCormick also uses the significantly enhanced online reorganization (“reorg”) capabilities of the latest version of DB2 to streamline database size and optimize performance without downtime.

“DB2 version 9 has seen significant improvements in the online reorg functionality,” says Kingsley Nwafor. “Version 9 online reorgs offer increased availability of applications for the business, which helps us continue working productively for longer.”

The company is also using other features of DB2, such as Self-Tuning Memory Management (STMM), in its non-production SAP environments.

“STMM is a useful feature and we’re considering implementing it in the production landscape,” says Kingsley Nwafor. “Since SAP databases typically require different amounts of memory at different times, depending on their current workload, it is an advantage to be able to allocate memory to different LPARs automatically, based on predefined policies. This helps to ensure optimal performance at all times, without requiring any manual intervention from database administrators.”

Charlie Hoppa concludes: “Running SAP applications with DB2 on POWER7 servers has many advantages, including excellent performance, high reliability and easy management.

“But for McCormick, the ability to maintain very high levels of availability is the most significant. With the reduced backup windows and online reorgs, we have been able to cut our planned maintenance windows by approximately 20 percent – giving valuable production time back to the business and potentially making significant operational savings by avoiding downtime.”

Products and services used

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

Power Systems, Power Systems running AIX 6

AIX, DB2 for Linux, UNIX and Windows

Operating system:

IBM-SAP Alliance

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