Published on 25-Apr-2012
Validated on 04 Nov 2013
"The optimal combination of IBM AIX, IBM DB2 and SAP applications requires almost no technical intervention to maintain performance. We are very happy with the rock-solid reliability of the new DB2 database solution." - Andreas Jungnickel, Database Administrator, City of Dresden IT and Organization Services
Data Warehouse, Enterprise Resource Planning
IBM Business Partner:
The City of Dresden has more than 524,000 inhabitants and is the regional capital of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. The municipality employs about 5,500 staff and manages a yearly budget of more than €1 billion. Founded in 2005, City of Dresden IT and Organization Services is an autonomous municipal department responsible for managing IT operations. The organization employs about 150 people and operates a data center. In addition to network services, the department offers customer services, organization services, and an SAP competence center.
City of Dresden IT and Organization Services wanted to take advantage of the latest generation of SAP software, which requires Unicode support. Introducing Unicode tends to increase data volumes and storage costs, yet the department was also aiming to reduce the costs of running its SAP applications.
Working with IBM, City of Dresden IT and Organization Services migrated its SAP databases from Oracle to IBM DB2, running on IBM AIX on IBM Power servers, and migrated to Unicode. To improve performance and cut data volumes, the organization enabled IBM DB2 row and index compression features.
Reduced storage space for SAP databases by one third, achieving yearly cost savings of about 25 percent in the database environment. Improved backup times for SAP databases and enhanced both SAP and general application performance through the use of IBM DB2 compression features. Achieved time savings of up to 30 percent for release upgrades and substantially reduced downtime due to the simplicity of IBM DB2 upgrades.
To read a German version of this case study, click here.
The City of Dresden has more than 524,000 inhabitants and is the regional capital of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. The municipality employs about 5,500 staff and manages a yearly budget of more than €1 billion.
Founded in 2005, City of Dresden IT and Organization Services is an autonomous municipal department responsible for managing IT operations. The organization employs about 150 people and operates a data center. In addition to network services, the department offers customer services, organization services, and an SAP competence center. City of Dresden IT and Organization Services is a fully autonomous, non-profit organization.
City of Dresden IT and Organization Services operates a range of SAP ERP software components including modules for Financials, Controlling, Materials Management, Sales and Distribution, as well as SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse and a taxation process developed using SAP Basis. The organization wanted to optimize the cost structure of its SAP operations. For many years, it had used Oracle databases for SAP and its other applications, hosted on IBM Power Systems servers running the IBM AIX operating system.
Andreas Jungnickel, Database Administrator at City of Dresden IT and Organization Services says, “We have been running AIX on Power servers for some years now, and it has proved itself to be highly reliable.”
Leveraging close collaboration
The municipality sought to upgrade its existing SAP software to the latest version, which required it to introduce support for Unicode. This prompted the team to review its database strategy for the City of Dresden. Introducing the Unicode character set frequently increases data storage volumes, sometimes doubling them. Reducing the costs of supporting this expanded data requirement was a significant challenge for the IT team.
City of Dresden IT and Organization Services invited several companies, including IBM, to tender proposals. The IBM team presented a solution that centered on IBM DB2 database software, and highlighted the cost savings and performance improvements offered by DB2 row and index compression features.
Despite its extensive experience and knowledge of Oracle databases, City of Dresden IT and Organization Services decided that the business case presented by IBM was highly convincing.
The team was further encouraged by the close collaboration between SAP and IBM development teams and by the fact that IBM DB2 is the strategic database platform at SAP. The municipality decided to engage with IBM on implementing a solution, and began planning the migration of its six SAP systems to IBM DB2, running on IBM Power Systems servers using IBM AIX.
Most of the databases were migrated during the week with no interruption to business users, and the largest single database of 450 GB was migrated over a single weekend. The IBM Software Group Services team exported the database with the standard SAP tool, and then loaded the exported data sets into Unicode-enabled DB2 databases. During the data migration, City of Dresden IT and Organization Services department activated DB2 row and index compression features for selected tables. These compression features allow the organization to reduce its disk space and storage infrastructure requirements, making the DB2 solution highly cost-effective.
City of Dresden IT and Organization Services uses DB2’s autonomic maintenance functions, including Self Tuning Memory Manager (STMM) and automatic statistics collection (RUNSTATS). STMM enables DB2 to dynamically self-tune and optimize its configuration for improved performance.
RUNSTATS ensures that the DB2 database statistics are always up to date, without the need to run a manual utility. The organization also exploits the automatic reorganization feature for improved data access performance.
“The database migration went well with the support from the IBM Software Group Services team, and we are very satisfied with the cost and time savings achieved,” comments Andreas Jungnickel.
“The optimal combination of IBM AIX, IBM DB2 and SAP applications requires almost no technical intervention to maintain performance. We are very happy with the rock-solid reliability of the new DB2 database solution.”
Andreas Jungnickel is also impressed by the way IBM DB2 makes database administration easier: “The handling of the SAP applications databases just feels much easier with DB2. Updating the database to newer releases is easier and can be completed within very short periods requiring very little downtime.”
One area of concern had been the retraining requirement when moving from Oracle to DB2. In practice, City of Dresden IT and Organization Services found that the switch to DB2 was relatively easy, even for long-time Oracle users. For example, the syntax of basic queries is very similar, and the tight integration with SAP through the SAP DBA Cockpit for DB2 makes database-related monitoring and administration tasks easier.
Cutting costs and improving efficiency
City of Dresden IT and Organization Services now uses IBM DB2 as a single database solution for the twelve SAP systems it currently operates for the municipality. After the migration, SAP conducted a system assessment, which revealed that performance has improved, even with Unicode running and hosted on the same server hardware. This is possible because the highly effective DB2 Deep Compression algorithm enables more efficient use of memory resources.
With IBM DB2, annual database licensing and maintenance costs have been cut by around one third. The company also saves about 25 percent in storage space, translating into significant savings in IT costs.
The migration and subsequent reduction in data volumes has had a positive impact on maintenance and backup tasks. “With the data storage savings gained from IBM DB2 compression, backup times have been reduced by about 30 percent,” says Andreas Jungnickel.
Boost performance with POWER7
The next step will be to improve system performance even further by upgrading the municipality’s IBM Power Systems servers to those based on POWER7 processors, the latest generation of the IBM POWER family. This will exploit the unique combination of IBM hardware, operating systems and databases with advanced features such as Active Memory Expansion and Live Partition Mobility offering ultimate application flexibility.
Products and services used
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