Published on 20-May-2011
Validated on 01 Aug 2013
"The IBM solution provides the ideal support for the SAP applications that lie at the heart of PLANSEE’s operations. IBM POWER7 technology provides the exceptionally high performance and stability we need to manage greater growth and additional success. " - Engelbert Wörle, Head of IT Infrastructure, PLANSEE
IGF: IT Financing - IBM HW, IGF: IT Financing - IBM SW, IGF: Used Equipment, IT/infrastructure, Enabling Business Flexibility, Enterprise Resource Planning, Information Infrastructure, Optimizing IT, Optimizing IT, Service Management
IBM Business Partner:
PLANSEE is the world market leader in high performance materials produced by powder metallurgy. These materials are used in future technologies such as clean energy, medical technology, electronics, and mobility. In close co-operation with its customers, PLANSEE of Austria develops innovative materials solutions by combining outstanding materials knowledge with profound applications and technology know-how. PLANSEE is a privately-owned business with 30 production facilities on three continents and with sales offices in 49 countries, and represents a strong partner for research and industry.
Following the acquisition of a company in the US, Austrian powder metallurgy company PLANSEE experienced a period of rapid growth. As it approached the end of its leasing contracts, the company identified an opportunity to upgrade its hardware platform in order to ensure that it could provide its SAP systems with excellent performance in times of continuous growth. This represented an ideal time to find a cost-efficient alternative for its existing Oracle database, which was expanding sharply, calling for expensive additions to storage capacity.
Migrated a suite of SAP software including SAP ERP, SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse, SAP NetWeaver Process Integration, SAP Solution Manager, SAP Supply Chain Management and SAP BusinessObjects Global Trade Services to two IBM Power 780 systems with 12 POWER7 processors each and a total of 16 cores each in Turbo Mode. IBM System Storage DS8100 and IBM System Storage TS1130 tape drives provide storage, managed by IBM Tivoli Storage Manager. Working with IBM Software Services, PLANSEE replaced its existing Oracle database with IBM DB2 and activated deep compression.
Upgrading to the latest POWER7 technology with capacity offered on an on-demand basis gives PLANSEE the flexibility to scale to meet changing requirements, whilst paying only for what is used. Replacing Oracle database with IBM DB2 cut the company’s database size by 50 percent, decreasing backup times by 50 percent, and introducing storage savings of approximately 30 percent. Overall, the solution is expected to achieve a return on investment (ROI) in just three years, whilst the migration to IBM DB2 is projected to offer an ROI of a single year.
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PLANSEE is the world market leader in high performance materials produced by powder metallurgy. These materials are used in future technologies such as clean energy, medical technology, electronics, and mobility. In close co-operation with its customers, PLANSEE of Austria develops innovative materials solutions by combining outstanding materials knowledge with profound applications and technology know-how. Founded in 1921, PLANSEE is a privately-owned business with 30 production facilities on three continents and with sales offices in 49 countries, and represents a strong partner for research and industry. Employing about 6,000 people, PLANSEE achieves annual sales of about €852 million.
Coping with a growing business
To manage its manufacturing and supply chain processes, PLANSEE relies on a large suite of SAP applications such as SAP ERP, SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW), Supply chain Management (SCM), SAP NetWeaver Process Integration (PI), SAP Solution Manager and SAP BusinessObjects Global Trade Services (GTS).
Ensuring these applications were supported by reliable and highly available hardware was the main priority for the IT team at PLANSEE. The combination of a period of rapid growth – specifically due to the acquisition of a company in the US – and the end of the company’s leasing contracts drawing near, led PLANSEE to seek the ideal choice for an upgrade.
“SAP modules form the core of our business processes,” comments Engelbert Wörle, Head of IT Infrastructure at PLANSEE. “As such, we needed to guarantee maximum uptime and optimal performance. Our existing IBM solution had served us well – with 100 percent availability over 2008 and 2009 – but our growing business called for greater processing power and capacity.”
Enabling business flexibility
PLANSEE replaced its two IBM Power 590 systems, each of which had 16 cores, with two IBM Power 780 systems with POWER7 processors. Each server features 16 cores in Turbo Mode, with 12 of them currently being activated, and 320 GB main memory with 272 GB being activated.
The company pays only for what is currently in use by leveraging a Capacity on Demand model for its IBM Power 780 servers. This provides PLANSEE with a key competitive edge, enabling it to boost performance rapidly with minimal disruption to its operations, enhancing business response enabled by flexible Power Systems technology.
To use the available resources even more efficiently, PLANSEE took advantage of the Active Memory Expansion (AME) feature offered by the new POWER7 processor-based systems. AME uses compression for parts of the memory to expand the effective memory capacity.
“The ability to dynamically adjust capacity on demand for our IBM Power 780 servers really make sense for a company like us,” says Wörle. “For some applications, such as SAP Supply Chain Management, which we recently installed, it is very difficult to estimate the capacity required in advance. This flexible approach enables us to modify our applications and try new things in the most cost-effective manner possible.
“Meanwhile, the innovative Active Memory Expansion feature built into the IBM Power 780 servers enables us to use our existing resources to their maximum potential. In fact, we estimate that this feature has increased server efficiency by 20 percent.”
The IBM Power Systems Exchange Program from IBM Global Financing helped to minimize the financial impact of migrating to powerful POWER7 processors. IBM Global Financing offered a flexible and cost-effective comprehensive financing solution enabling PLANSEE to quickly, easily and affordably enjoy the benefits of the very latest IBM technology. The older POWER5 systems were also leased from IBM, and the flexible approach provided by IBM Global Financing made it possible for PLANSEE to conduct a side-by-side migration with all servers running in parallel before the POWER5 systems were returned to IBM, resulting in no downtime.
The company operates 22 SAP systems for about 3,500 users worldwide in 22 LPARs running on IBM AIX Version 6.1 on the IBM Power 780 servers. For data protection and disaster recovery PLANSEE uses IBM Tivoli Storage Manager within its SAP environment. About 25 TB of data is mirrored to a secondary location about 1 km away from the primary data center. IBM System Storage DS8100 and IBM System Storage TS1130 tape drives provide storage.
“IBM System Storage provides ultra-secure, centralized storage ideal for our needs,” comments Wörle. “Combined with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager, we have an automated, resilient backup strategy in place.”
Choosing IBM DB2
Demand for IT resources was expanding rapidly, as users, applications and data were added to the company’s SAP landscape, leading to a huge expansion in the company’s existing Oracle database environment. This would soon necessitate an expensive storage expansion, a move PLANSEE wanted to avoid if at all possible.
“The size of our biggest Oracle database hit 2.4 TB and was growing all the time,” explains Wörle. “It was clear that a costly expansion to our IBM System Storage DS8100 disk system would soon be called for, but we decided to see if a more cost-effective alternative existed. If we could find a way to reduce our database size, this would enable us to cut down on backup times and the number of tapes required to hold this data.”
Working with IBM Software Services, PLANSEE replaced its Oracle databases with IBM DB2 for Linux, UNIX and Windows database Version 9.7. The migration was performed smoothly and with minimal disruption to operations, with most systems migrated in weekends and the entire project lasting just three months. The migration method was DB2 Load with ADC or Full Compress, and the IBM team used the unsorted export and package splitter migration optimization features.
“We were very impressed with the IBM team during the migration,” says Wörle. “In spite of the volume of data that needed to be moved, it was conducted for our production ERP system over a single weekend, with the IBM consultants staying onsite for a week after that to help us with any customizations or tweaks needed to optimize performance. This minimized the business risk involved in the migration, and really put our minds at rest.”
When the migration was complete, PLANSEE was able to see the improvements in real terms – with the IBM DB2 Storage Optimization Feature compressing the size of the database by an impressive 50 percent.
“Cutting our database size in half with IBM DB2 has had numerous positive ramifications,” explains Wörle. “Immediately, this alleviated our storage issue, enabling us to avoid investment in expensive expansions to our current storage estate. It also reduces backup times and the tapes required for this by 50 percent. Overall, we estimate that we have gained a 30 percent saving in storage costs due to the implementation of IBM DB2.
“What really impressed us, however, was the fact that we found that the sophisticated compression capabilities of IBM DB2 did not seem to impact on performance. For example, compared to the legacy Oracle solution, response times for some programs improved by 30-50 percent, and dialog response times were down by 15-20 percent.”
The IBM solution offered PLANSEE a superb price/performance ratio, enabling the company to enjoy optimal performance for its business-critical SAP applications at a competitive price point. Overall, the solution is expected to achieve a return on investment (ROI) in just three years, whilst the migration to IBM DB2 is projected to offer an ROI of a single year.
Wörle concludes, “The IBM solution provides the ideal support for the SAP applications that lie at the heart of PLANSEE’s operations. IBM POWER7 technology provides the exceptionally high performance and stability we need to manage greater growth and additional success.”
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
IBM-SAP Alliance, Software Services for Information Management
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