EDEKA Südwest gains flexibility and improves SAP application performance

Published on 13-Oct-2011

Validated on 07 Jan 2014

"This implementation is an important step towards standardizing the IT systems within the entire group. An application-independent server infrastructure based on IBM System x and IBM BladeCenter technology allows us to operate our business applications more efficiently. " - Dirk Kastner, Chief Information Officer, EDEKA Südwest

Customer:
EDEKA Südwest

Industry:
Retail

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
IT/infrastructure, Business Resiliency, High Availability , Information Infrastructure, Infrastructure Simplification, Optimizing IT

IBM Business Partner:
FRITZ & MACZIOL

Overview

EDEKA Südwest is one of the largest food retailers in Germany’s south-west, with approximately 1,450 shops, 43,500 employees and annual revenue of almost €6.7 billion. Most of EDEKA Südwest’s business is in wholesale and retail, with five logistics locations and 220,000 m2 of storage space. Affiliated production subsidiaries include several meat and bakery facilities, as well as a winery and a mineral water spring.

Business need:
EDEKA Südwest relies on SAP applications for its core business management. Running on older technology that had reached the limits of scalability and at the end of their lifecycles, system performance was poor, which in turn impacted business productivity. EDEKA Südwest looked for a new server solution to operate its most important business applications reliably, to avoid slowdowns or disruptions to its operations.

Solution:
Working with IBM and IBM Business Partner FRITZ & MACZIOL, EDEKA Südwest implemented IBM System x servers and IBM BladeCenter systems powered by Intel Xeon 7500, 5600 and 5500 series processors in two data centers, replacing a UNIX solution to run its entire SAP solution landscape. The SAP software runs on the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system in virtualized servers hosted by VMware virtualization, high-availability and disaster recovery software.

Benefits:
Increased flexibility and availability of the SAP application environment with a cloud-ready infrastructure based on IBM System x servers, VMware vSphere virtualization and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system. Enhanced reliability, delivered by IBM’s cost-efficient and powerful X-Architecture. Reduced downtime to 0.001 percent for near zero downtime system operations. Expanded IT landscape by 252 percent with the new infrastructure. Optimized IT operations provided by consistent group-wide system architecture.

Case Study

To read a German version of the case study, click here

To read a summary of the case study in German click itservices.edeka-suedwest.de

EDEKA Südwest is one of the largest food retailers in Germany’s south-west, with approximately 1,450 shops, 43,500 employees and annual revenue of almost €6.7 billion. Most of EDEKA Südwest’s business is in wholesale and retail, with five logistics locations and 220,000 m2 of storage space. Affiliated production subsidiaries include several meat and bakery facilities, as well as a winery and a mineral water spring.

EDEKA Südwest is one of the companies that form the EDEKA Group co-operative. As a corporate group of entrepreneurs operating nearly 12,000 shops in Germany and employing about 300,000 people, EDEKA achieved in 2010 annual sales of €43.5 billion.

Need for improvements
The old system architecture comprised two monolithic servers that operated all the company’s SAP application landscapes running in a Sun Solaris UNIX environment without virtualization technology. The systems were approaching the end of their lifecycle, and had reached the limits in terms of expandability. Furthermore, EDEKA Südwest had noticed performance issues with the old hardware.

The EDEKA Südwest team looked to introduce an IT strategy that would embed both flexibility and growth into its infrastructure, and handle its various SAP application workloads efficiently. EDEKA Südwest experience showed the limitations of the physical systems, in that the available computing performance and memory capacity could not be used optimally. The goal was to migrate to a new server solution that would allow the use of the available resources as efficiently as possible and put a long-term growth path in place.

Selecting IBM and IBM System x technology
EDEKA Group, Lunar GmbH (a fully-owned subsidiary of EDEKA general office), and IBM created a joint solution proposal based on the IBM X-Architecture, offering flexibility, scalability and cost-effectiveness. The IBM X-Architecture is built on a deep partnership with Intel and a decade of x86 innovations to provide a wide range of configuration choices, mainframe-inspired reliability, comprehensive systems management and an energy-smart design for both, rack servers and blade systems. The System x platform offers the ability to respond quickly to changing requirements and also provides a satisfactory price-performance ratio, and IBM BladeCenter solutions stand out with high server density and energy efficiency.

Frank van Eys, IT System Manager at EDEKA Südwest, says, “The IBM System x and BladeCenter solution matched EDEKA Südwest’s requirements perfectly. This platform is built on mature and tested technologies and is a comparatively inexpensive solution.”

New standardized system architecture
Working with IBM and IBM Business Partner FRITZ & MACZIOL, EDEKA Südwest implemented 45 rack-mounted System x servers and 100 IBM BladeCenter blade servers in 8 BladeCenter chassis in two data centers. The rack-mounted IBM System x3850 X5 servers take advantage of the Intel Xeon processor 7500 series to solve mission-critical IT challenges of managing and keeping secure the data crucial to EDEKA Südwest. The Intel Xeon processor 7500 series delivers performance that is ideal for the company’s most data-demanding workloads, with improved scalability, increased memory and higher I/O capacity, allowing the company to adapt to changes in short-term business demands, and address requirements for longer-term business growth. Advanced reliability and security features work to maintain data integrity, accelerate encrypted transactions, and maximize the availability of mission-critical applications. The powerful and reliable Intel Xeon processor 7500 series provides the flexibility needed for EDEKA Südwest’s business-critical solutions.

The IBM BladeCenter servers running SAP application workloads use Intel Xeon 5600 and 5500 series processors, which automatically regulate power consumption and intelligently adjust server performance according to the application needs, maximizing both energy efficiency and performance in the data center.

The 62 SAP application systems, of which about 25 are production systems, run on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, with VMware vSphere virtualization including the VMware vSphere Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) and VMware vSphere vMotion tools providing multiple virtual servers on each physical server for additional flexibility. EDEKA Südwest uses VMware High Availability and Symantec Veritas Cluster Server to provide business continuity.

EDEKA Südwest operates an extensive SAP ERP implementation, and the biggest SAP ERP system has about 1,000 named users with a database of nearly 8 TB. The SAP applications and test and integration landscapes are hosted on the IBM blade servers. Additional resources can be made available by adding more blade servers to the BladeCenter chassis, and adding their resources to the VMware vSphere virtualization layer.

For the high-availability Oracle Real Application Cluster database, the company selected IBM System 3850 X5, IBM System x3650 M3 and IBM System x3650 M2 servers. The IBM System x3850 X5 servers feature the fifth-generation IBM X-Architecture, ideally suited to meet the memory requirements of heavy database workloads. By allocating applications and database tasks to the most appropriate server model, the available resources and configurations are optimized to the needs of different workloads, and system capacity is used as efficiently as possible.

Karl Prappacher, SAP Basis Manager at EDEKA Südwest and Project Leader, remarks, “With the new System x and BladeCenter servers from IBM, we can respond much more quickly to changing demands. The flexibility and performance improvements enable us to operate our SAP application systems more efficiently.”

Disaster recovery for the blade systems was implemented using the VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager solution. For seamless monitoring and system administration, the new servers and IBM Systems Director were integrated into the existing monitoring environment. IBM Systems Director supports the monitoring of all of EDEKA Südwest’s IBM System x and IBM BladeCenter servers. The solution is configured to notify both the IBM support team and also the EDEKA Südwest support team as soon as a failure occurs. This proactive approach to monitoring helps to react quickly to hardware issues and ensures reliable operations of all systems.

The fault-tolerant and modular design of the IBM BladeCenter platform allows most components to be replaced while the applications continue to operate. For easy administration and further improved business continuity, EDEKA Südwest implemented IBM BladeCenter Open Fabric Manager, a solution that virtualizes networking and I/O, which allows blades to be withdrawn and introduced easily and without affecting system availability.

Frank van Eys comments, “It is very useful to have a solution that allows us to move virtual servers from one blade to the other while the applications keep running. This flexibility is exactly what we were looking for. The project was a major investment for EDEKA Südwest, but when we look at the reliability and performance, we would choose this solution again.”

To meet its business intelligence requirements, EDEKA Südwest uses SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse software, containing about 25 TB of net data. However, with growing data volumes, the time taken to generate reports and answer queries was rising, and EDEKA Südwest wished to provide faster response.

To ensure quick response times even for complex reports, the company uses SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse Accelerator (SAP NetWeaver BWA), which uses indexing technology to dramatically improve information delivery. In 2006, EDEKA Südwest decided to deploy the IBM Systems solution for SAP NetWeaver BWA, a pre-configured solution based on IBM BladeCenter technology running the SUSE Linux operating system. The IBM Systems solution for SAP NetWeaver BWA is available in three set sizes, which may be scaled up by the simple addition of further blade servers as workload increases. EDEKA Südwest deployed the XL version of this IBM Systems solution with 24 IBM BladeCenter HS22 blades in two IBM BladeCenter H chassis.

Migrating to the new infrastructure
Over a period of about six months, EDEKA Südwest, IBM Business Partner FRITZ & MACZIOL and IBM together moved the company’s SAP software to the new server infrastructure. The team used a project management solution based on the PRINCE2 project management methodology. This project management solution is built on IBM WebSphere technology and is being used for all IT projects.

The company did not implement any updates or changes to its SAP software during the migration, to make troubleshooting easier by comparing like-for-like solutions. Whenever the team encountered migration issues, EDEKA Südwest was very happy with the professional support it received from IBM and FRITZ & MACZIOL.

Extending the unified platform
EDEKA Südwest is continuing to extend the server infrastructure and is migrating other applications from UNIX servers to this new solution. The SAP software migration project signals the beginning of an enterprise-wide process to standardize IT systems across EDEKA.

Dirk Kastner, Chief Information Officer, EDEKA Südwest, concludes,”Together with IBM and FRITZ & MACZIOL, we managed to complete this ambitious and complex project on time and on budget. This implementation is an important step towards standardizing the IT systems within the entire group. An application-independent server infrastructure based on IBM System x and IBM BladeCenter technology allows us to operate our business applications more efficiently.”

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
BladeCenter, BladeCenter HS22, BladeCenter running Linux - SUSE, BladeCenter running hypervisor - VMware, System x, System x: System x3650 M3, System x: System x3850 X5

Service:
IBM-SAP Alliance

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011 IBM United Kingdom Limited PO Box 41 North Harbour Portsmouth Hampshire PO6 3AU Produced in the United Kingdom October 2011 All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com and System x and BladeCenter are trademarks of International Business Machines Corpora­tion, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of other IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at: ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. IBM and FRITZ & MACZIOL are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor FRITZ & MACZIOL makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not imply that IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Any reference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that only IBM’s product, program or service may be used. Any function­ally equivalent product, program or service may be used instead. All customer examples cited represent how some customers have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. IBM hardware products are manufactured from new parts, or new and used parts. In some cases, the hardware product may not be new and may have been previously installed. Regardless, IBM warranty terms apply. This publication is for general guidance only. Photographs may show design models..