News Outdoor Group achieves advertising success with SAP and IBM

Published on 06-Sep-2011

Validated on 18 Jul 2013

News Outdoor Group

Media & Entertainment

Deployment country:
Russian Federation

High Availability , Information Infrastructure, Optimizing IT, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server

IBM Business Partner:


News Outdoor Group is the seventh-largest outdoor advertising operator in the world. The company owns more than 50,000 advertising surfaces in five countries in Eastern and Central Europe. It currently has over 50,000 advertising surfaces in 90 cities. It is the fastest growing international outdoor advertising operator.

Business need:
Outdoor advertising operator News Outdoor Group’s ERP package and server system was unable to deal with the demands of rapid business growth. Reliability was a crucial factor for News Outdoor, as computational delays from internal software threatened to undermine customer confidence.

Working with IBM, the company replaced its outdated software with SAP ERP solutions, implemented on an IBM Power 570 server. This architecture met the company’s requirement for a scalable platform that would serve its needs for at least 10 years.

Excellent options for improving productivity in the future, including enhanced disaster recovery. IBM toolset dynamically reallocates virtual resources, optimizing computing power, increasing reliability and streamlining the task of network administration.

Case Study

News Outdoor Group is the seventh-largest outdoor advertising operator in the world. The company owns more than 50,000 advertising surfaces in five countries in Eastern and Central Europe. It currently has over 50,000 advertising surfaces in 90 cities. It is the fastest growing international outdoor advertising operator.

In 1999, the company laid the foundation for a business resource planning system. However, exceptional growth in the company meant this solution was soon outgrown. The system needed to be upgraded: a new, forward-looking ERP platform had to be created that accounted for the strategic plans of the company – a platform that could meet the company’s business needs for at least 10 years.

Four years ago, the operator decided to replace the old ERP system, which was based on a variety of different applications and had a number of diverse functions: production management, procurement management, inventory movement, bookkeeping and financial accounting, and report analysis and budgeting.

The company’s business had grown by a factor of 30 in seven years and the number of users of its ERP system had increased by a factor of 10. Naturally, there were problems related to performance and scalability, as well as with the functionality of the old system.

First and foremost, it was the throughput of the ERP system that was inadequate. When building a data repository, the throughput of the file servers and database servers was essentially at maximum. Moreover, since the old integrated ERP platform combined different systems, the server base had to be increased and significant resources were required to support the interfaces between the applications. This aspect had gradually become a critical issue and the company began thinking about virtualization.

Powerful solution
Solutions available in the market were analyzed, including criteria such as cost and technical support. The most advanced technological solutions that met the company’s requirements were produced by IBM. In addition, the strategic alliance of SAP and IBM instilled confidence in the quality and reliability of the solution.

The company decided against a tender for the platform because all parties involved in the decision agreed unanimously that IBM was the best choice. Bids were accepted only to select the individual vendors for IBM solutions.

The focus of the selection process was scalability and performance. The company was growing so rapidly that the immediate priority was to increase throughput over the next several years. Reliability was also a significant factor because computational delays at a time when business was increasing so dramatically could significantly undermine customer confidence. The system was intended for internal users. Consequently, while availability round-the-clock was not deemed critical, an asymmetrical cluster solution was selected to ensure reliability.

System implementation was based on two IBM Power 570 servers with medium throughput. Each contains eight POWER6 processors and 64 GB RAM. They can currently be expanded to 16 processors and 128 GB RAM. External memory is provided by IBM System Storage DS4800 disk arrays and two IBM System Storage TS3200 tape libraries.

The operating system is AIX 5.3. Tivoli Storage Manager 5.4 is used for system backup. A fault-tolerant configuration was implemented with High Availability Cluster Multi-Processing (HACMP), a cluster technology. The DBMS is DB2 version 9.1.

Some 70 percent of the major business operations of the company divisions are now conducted on the new platform, and the transition is continuing in keeping with plans for expanding the system.

The company decided against using Virtual I/O Server since the number of Fibre Channel and Ethernet server adaptors was adequate. LPAR (Logical Partition Access Resources), a logical server, was selected as the physical server for the implementation of the design. This choice made it possible to divide each server into three sections based on the installation plan for the SAP systems.

One of the physical servers has logical sections containing the SAP ERP production system, SAP NetWeaver Process Integration (SAP NetWeaver PI) production system and all SAP DEV development systems for SAP ERP, SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (SAP BW) and SAP NetWeaver PI in one system. The second server has logical systems containing the SAP NetWeaver BW production system, SAP Quality Assurance System (SAP QAS), SAP ERP, SAP NetWeaver BW and SAP NetWeaver PI testing systems (in one system), as well, as well as an infrastructure section for Tivoli Storage Manager, NFS and the SAP transport system.

Unqualified success
The rollout of the hardware platform was managed by KROK (equipment delivery and installation, LPAR configuration, AIX installation) and Mekomp (SAP systems installation, backup system and cluster implementation) with support from News Outdoor's own specialists. Though company IT personnel had to master the new technologies, and despite not having any experience or knowledge of the specific aspects involved in implementing the new solution, the system was implemented at the Moscow headquarters of the company in only two months. Specialists also received AIX training at the IBM training center. Short-term plans for future expansion of the system include modifying the solution to enhance disaster recovery and significantly reduce downtime in the event of a complete failure of system hardware.

The company obtained a high performance solution with excellent options for improving productivity in the future. The powerful tools offered by IBM for virtualization and organizing cluster computing, as well as the option of dynamically reallocating resources between virtual solutions, allow the company to optimize its computing power. DB2-SAP has proven itself to be ideal in terms of performance, flexibility and ease of administration. In addition, it is clear that the alliance between SAP and IBM is not merely ostensible. The real benefits of their integrated products and performance optimization tools thoroughly convince the company that they made the best decision.

Products and services used

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

Power 570, Storage: DS4800, Storage: TS3200 Tape Library

Tivoli Storage Manager, DB2 for AIX, AIX

Operating system:

IBM-SAP Alliance

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