Denbury strikes oil in SAP performance with IBM Power and IBM XIV

Accelerating business-critical processes to meet the needs of corporate growth

Published on 07-Jun-2011

Validated on 05 Dec 2012

"The XIV interface is as intuitive as an iPhone app. You don’t have to worry about what data goes where, or how the RAID arrays are set up—you can create new storage partitions, take snapshots of systems, set up mirroring and migrate data on the fly, all with just a few mouse-clicks." - Todd Krieger, Director of IT — Financial and Operational Applications, Denbury Resources Inc.

Customer:
Denbury Resources Inc.

Industry:
Chemicals & Petroleum

Deployment country:
United States

Solution:
IT/infrastructure, Server Consolidation, Small & Medium Business, Storage Consolidation, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server, Virtualization - Storage, Optimizing IT

IBM Business Partner:
VSS, SAP

Overview

Denbury Resources Inc. (NYSE: DNR) is a growing independent oil and gas company. The company is the largest oil and natural gas operator in Mississippi and Montana, owns the largest reserves of CO2 used for tertiary oil recovery east of the Mississippi River, and holds significant operating acreage in the Rockies, Permian Basin, Mid-Continent and Gulf Coast. The company has its head office in Plano, TX, and employs around 1,200 people.

Business need:
Following a major acquisition that effectively doubled the size of the company, Denbury’s existing IT infrastructure began struggling to complete vital processes (such as oil well ownership calculations) on time.

Solution:
Denbury worked with IBM Business Partner VSS to upgrade to IBM® Power® 770 servers, and replaced its existing disk systems with the IBM XIV® Storage System.

Benefits:
Processes 60 percent more data and completes vital monthly processes on time. Simplifies server and storage management and disaster recovery, cutting administrative workload by up to 80 percent for some tasks.

Case Study

Denbury Resources Inc. (NYSE: DNR) is a growing independent oil and gas company. The company is the largest oil and natural gas operator in Mississippi and Montana, owns the largest reserves of CO2 used for tertiary oil recovery east of the Mississippi River, and holds significant operating acreage in the Rockies, Permian Basin, Mid-Continent and Gulf Coast. The company has its head office in Plano, TX, and employs around 1,200 people.

Denbury’s goal is to increase the value of acquired properties through a combination of exploitation, drilling and proven engineering extraction practices, with its most significant emphasis relating to tertiary recovery operations. Tertiary recovery typically involves the extraction of oil and gas from older, less productive wells by pumping CO2 into the bore. The gas injection increases the pressure in the well and reduces the viscosity of the crude oil, both factors making extraction easier.

Complex business processes

“We operate hundreds of wells in different oil fields across the United States, and each well could potentially be owned by hundreds or even thousands of stakeholders,” comments Todd Krieger, Director of IT—Financial and Operational Applications at Denbury Resources Inc. “Each of these stakeholders gets a share of the profits of their wells, which is paid monthly; and we also have to pay state and federal taxes on a monthly basis. With fluctuations in oil prices, alterations in tax structures and constant changes in ownership, calculating how much money we owe to each party is a complex process, which we manage using SAP ERP and a range of industry-specific applications.”

Denbury might have to carry out between 10 and 200 recalculations of owners’ interests each month, as well as approximately 10 large batch runs to handle billing, payments, and other core processes. In recent years, the company has been using IBM Power Systems™ servers and System Storage® disk arrays to run the applications that manage these processes.

When Denbury made a major corporate acquisition—almost doubling the size of its business, and increasing data volumes by around 60 percent overnight—the IT team realized that the time had come to upgrade.

“We had maxed out our existing boxes, and we were beginning to struggle to get all of our ownership calculations and monthly batch processes completed on time,” says Krieger. “The new IBM POWER7® processors provided an easy upgrade path that was capable of delivering all the extra performance and capacity we needed.”

Highly reliable infrastructure

Working with VSS, the Denbury IT team implemented three IBM Power 770 servers—one to run the SAP production environment, and the other two to handle SAP test and development and other applications.

“The best thing about the IBM Power Systems infrastructure—and this is just as true of the POWER7 servers as it was with POWER6—is their reliability,” says Krieger. “I can’t remember a single problem on the server side since we moved to IBM, and as the IT Director for a 24×7 business, that really helps me sleep at night!”

“The performance we get from the Power 770 servers is outstanding—and they’re really only half the story. As a database-driven system, SAP also relies heavily on the performance of the storage infrastructure, and we have made a big step forward in this area by investing in the IBM XIV® Storage System”

Revolutionary storage

Denbury purchased two IBM XIV Storage Systems—a full-rack system with 79 TB of usable capacity for the main data center, and a half-rack system with 42 TB for the company’s disaster recovery site in Jackson, Mississippi. The two systems are linked using asynchronous remote mirroring to replicate data between the sites.

“The XIV architecture is a clever idea—but what’s really revolutionary is its intuitive interface,” says Krieger. “You don’t have to worry about what data goes where, or how the RAID arrays are set up—you can create new storage partitions, take snapshots of systems, set up mirroring and migrate data on the fly, all with just a few mouse-clicks.”

“Another important factor is manageability. I used to talk to the Capgemini teams who manage our AIX®, Oracle and SAP Basis environments daily to talk about storage-related issues. Now I only talk to them on a scheduled weekly call.”

Andy Eggleston, Manager/Hosting at Capgemini, comments: “With the old storage landscape, we used continuous replication to transfer data to the disaster recovery site. Implementing the XIV has enabled us to move to an asynchronous mirroring concept based on snapshots, which has resolved a number of local performance issues at the application level. The flexibility of the XIV has also enabled us to cut the build time for DR tests from four hours to just one, and we no longer need to suspend replication during the tests themselves.

“In addition, from a day-to-day management perspective, the XIV is so much easier. Creating new storage partitions takes 80 percent less time than it used to. Expanding LUNs, which used to take half an hour, is now a two-minute job. As a result, the Capgemini team can focus on delivering strategic infrastructure enhancements that really add value for Denbury.”

Getting the job done

The combination of IBM Power 770 and IBM XIV technologies has enabled Denbury to absorb the extra workload created by the company’s acquisition strategy. The monthly calculations, billing and payment processes can be completed on time, enabling Denbury to share the profits from its wells with the correct stakeholders, meet its tax obligations, and comply with regulatory requirements.

“The new IBM infrastructure not only meets our current needs—it offers a huge amount of potential for future requirements,” comments Krieger. “Our main XIV system is only 63 percent utilized at the moment, and we can add another three units of 14 processors to each of the Power 770 servers, as and when we need to. When VSS suggested that IBM would be the best choice for Denbury, we trusted and verified their advice; and the success of this project proves that it was the right decision.”

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
Power 770, Power Systems, Storage: XIV

Software:
AIX, PowerVM Enterprise (VIOS), PowerVM, PowerVM VIOS Enterprise Edition

Operating system:
AIX

Service:
IBM-SAP Alliance

Footnotes and legal information

See ibm.com/systems/power/migratetoibm/footnotes/compare.html

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011 IBM Systems and Technology Group Route 100 Somers, New York 10589 U.S.A. Produced in the United States of America May 2011 All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, AIX, POWER, POWER6, POWER7, Power Systems, PowerVM, System Storage and XIV are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries or both. If these and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol (® or ™), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this information was published. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml Other company, product and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. IBM and VSS are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor VSS makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. References in this publication to IBM products or services do not imply that IBM intends to make them available in all countries in which IBM operates. Offerings are subject to change, extension or withdrawal without notice. All client examples cited represent how some clients have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. The information in this document is provided “as-is” without any warranty, either expressed or implied.