Published on 11-May-2012
"For us, improving the reliability of our operations has been the biggest advantage, even more so than the cost savings we’ve seen so far. Knowing that vital company data is completely protected in the event of a disaster is priceless. The hardware infrastructure implemented by IBM Business Continuity and Recovery Services offers a solid platform for our business-critical SAP systems, and gives us the flexibility we need to meet the growing demands of the group." - Mark Vandeurzen, Managing Director, Manasco
Business Continuity, Business Resiliency, Energy Efficiency, Enterprise Resource Planning, High Availability , Managing Risk, Small & Medium Business
Manasco is the information and communications technology company of the Etex Group, a leading Belgian industrial group that specialises in the manufacture and marketing of high-quality building materials and systems. Manasco is responsible for providing central IT services to the Etex user community, and is largely focused on building and supporting SAP functionality for other group companies. The company is headquartered in Brussels and its team members work in countries all over the world.
Manasco’s parent company, the Etex Group, is in the process of moving all of its operating companies towards one central SAP platform, requiring Manasco to support more and more SAP applications and users. Manasco needed to invest in more computing power and capacity to cope with the group’s ever-increasing performance requirements. It also wanted to invest in a more comprehensive high availability and disaster recovery solution.
Working with IBM® Business Continuity and Resiliency Services and IBM Business Partner Cegeka, Manasco deployed two IBM Power® 750 Express servers and an IBM System Storage® DS8700. One Power 750 Express is used for the company’s SAP production system; the second is used for backup, development and testing, and is hosted externally at an IBM datacenter.
Delivered TCO savings of €320,000 over 4 years. Reduced system restore time from 24 hours to one or two hours, an improvement of over 90 percent. Enables Manasco to maintain near 24/7 availability of business-critical SAP applications, which are crucial for supporting group-wide operations.
Manasco is the information and communications technology company of the Etex Group, a leading Belgian industrial group that specializes in the manufacture and marketing of high-quality building materials and systems. Manasco is responsible for providing central IT services to the Etex user community, and is largely focused on building and supporting SAP functionality for other group companies. The company is headquartered in Brussels and its team members work in countries all over the world.
The Etex Group is growing rapidly, through targeted acquisitions and organic growth, and currently employs more than 17,000 people at 121 production facilities across 42 countries. Manasco’s role in the group’s expansion is critical: it must develop and maintain the robust, integrated IT architecture required to support its sister companies’ daily operations.
Maintaining a complex SAP environment
For many years, the Etex Group has relied on SAP ERP solutions to drive better operational efficiency and productivity. As the group acquires more and more companies, Manasco is charged with integrating these new businesses with the group-wide SAP standard, and with providing ongoing support for a growing SAP user base.
Mark Vandeurzen, Managing Director of Manasco, states: “Our SAP user base is growing rapidly: we currently support 3,000 users, and we expect this number to reach about 5,000 users within the next two to three years. SAP ERP is vital to the group’s daily operations, as their production, supply chain and financial systems are extremely dependent on the consistent and fast flow of data.”
As the Etex Group’s SAP environment grew in size and complexity, it began to impact the underlying hardware infrastructure. Manasco realized that it needed to invest in more computing power and capacity in order to cope with the group’s ever-increasing performance requirements.
At the same time, Manasco wanted to invest in a more comprehensive disaster recovery infrastructure, so that it could ensure continuous operations for its global network of users in the event of a system failure or during maintenance.
Mark Vandeurzen notes, “With our previous disaster recovery solution, it would take us an entire day to restore our systems from backup, as we had to manually place each backup tape into the drive in order to restore the data. We determined that the risk with this method was too high and so we started to look for a solution that would significantly accelerate the recovery process, and allow us to move our disaster recovery environment off site, for even greater security.”
High performance and 24/7 availability
For many years Manasco has counted on IBM hardware to support a large portion of its SAP applications, and chose to remain with IBM when the time came for its hardware refresh. Bert Janssens, Central Infrastructure Manager at Manasco, remarks: “We were previously using an IBM Power 570 server to run our SAP applications, and we were pleased with the performance that it delivered. Moving forward, we wanted to take advantage of the latest IBM POWER7® technology to gain even better reliability and performance per CPU.”
With help from IBM Business Continuity and Resiliency Services, Manasco architected a new high availability and disaster recovery solution for its SAP production environment, and implemented two new IBM Power 750 Express servers. Cegeka, an IBM Business Partner, was also contracted to help manage the deployment of the new IBM hardware.
The IBM Power 750 Express system utilizes innovative IBM POWER7 processor technology to deliver high performance, scalability, reliability, and manageability for demanding workloads. IBM Power Systems servers provide a foundation for workload optimized systems, delivering industry-leading throughput that enables Manasco to deliver IT services much faster and react more quickly to the evolving needs of the business. The Power platform’s integrated systems, storage and software also help to reduce complexity and management effort, which in turn can result in superior economics.
One IBM Power 750 is used for Manasco’s business-critical SAP production systems, including SAP ERP 6.0, SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence and SAP Customer Relationship Management applications. The second Power Systems™ server is being used for SAP application development and testing activities, and for backup of the SAP production systems. Both servers run IBM i version 7.1, which offers a highly scalable and virus resistant architecture with a proven reputation for exceptional business resiliency.
This dual server configuration provides the foundation for an efficient disaster recovery strategy and offers the company a high-availability solution. The second Power 750 Express server is hosted externally by IBM at its Business Continuity and Recovery Center in Woluwe, Brussels. To further boost the availability of its systems, Manasco implemented Vision Solution’s MIMIX Availability Professional for real-time data replication between its two datacenters. The MIMIX software creates a reliable high availability solution that is optimized for the IBM i operating system, helping to virtually eliminate downtime with innovative replication technology.
Manasco also worked directly with IBM Business Continuity and Resiliency Services to implement a new IBM System Storage DS8700. It has offloaded data from its development, quality and high availability systems, previously stored on an existing IBM System Storage DS8100 device, to the new DS8700. This has freed up the existing DS8100 to solely manage SAP production system data, delaying investment in more storage and increasing the resiliency of the company’s storage architecture.
“We were very impressed with IBM’s flexibility in regards to this project,” says Mark Vandeurzen. “We were able to renegotiate our existing contract with IBM for the provision of its business continuity and recovery services. As we were investing in new IBM hardware, IBM allowed us to reduce the scope of the disaster recovery contract. This flexibility has been very important in decreasing the overall cost of our entire configuration.”
Significant TCO savings
Manasco estimates that the new IBM solution has delivered total cost of operations savings of approximately €320,000 over four years. The IBM Power 750 Express offers outstanding energy efficiency, enabling Manasco to conserve more power. The company was also able to move its testing and development systems from a number of smaller, older machines to the IBM Power 750 Express server. This allows it to do more work with fewer servers, further reducing energy and cooling costs, and saving money on additional software licenses for multiple servers.
IBM further enhanced the value of the solution by giving Manasco the opportunity to renegotiate the terms of its existing business continuity and recovery services contact, following its purchase of additional IBM hardware. This played a significant role in decreasing the cost of the entire configuration and contributing to the solution’s impressive TCO savings.
The solution has provided additional cost savings by allowing Manasco to avoid costly investment in a complex storage infrastructure, as the company’s two IBM System Storage DS8000 devices provide simplified, streamlined storage for its growing volumes of SAP data. By purchasing just one IBM System Storage DS8700, Manasco freed up an existing IBM DS8100 device to manage all of its key SAP application data. With the DS8000 series, Manasco is now well-placed to handle increasing capacity demands without the need for additional hardware, significantly reducing the TCO of its storage infrastructure.
Meeting performance and availability objectives
The IBM solution has provided Manasco with the high levels of capacity and performance that it needs to support a constantly growing user base and ever more demanding business requirements. “We have been able to meet all of our capacity objectives with the new IBM hardware,” explains Mark Vandeurzen. “In terms of performance, we were already experiencing very high levels with our previous IBM servers, and the new POWER7 technology has built on this and allows us to support even more users without impacting performance.”
Crucially, Manasco’s new hardware configuration has dramatically improved system availability and recovery times. The IT team will soon be able to ensure that all systems are up and running almost 24/7. This is of prime importance, as Manasco supports an international user base, which demands constant application uptime.
Mimix software has also improved recovery time objectives by more than 90 percent, from an average of 24 hours to just one to two hours. Recovery point objectives have also improved: whereas backups of the journals were made every hour in the past, Manasco now uses the uses the remote journaling function of IBM i to provide continuous, near real-time replication of SAP system data for backup.
“For us, improving the reliability of our operations has been the biggest advantage, even more so than the cost savings we’ve seen so far,” concludes Mark Vandeurzen. “Knowing that vital company data is completely protected in the event of a disaster is priceless. The hardware infrastructure implemented by IBM Business Continuity and Resiliency Services offers a solid platform for our business-critical SAP systems, and gives us the flexibility we need to meet the growing demands of the group.”
Products and services used
© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012 IBM Deutschland GmbH 71137 Ehningen Deutschland ibm.com/de IBM Österreich Obere Donaustrasse 95 1020 Wien ibm.com/at IBM Schweiz Vulkanstrasse 106 8010 Zürich ibm.com/ch Produced in Germany May 2012 IBM, the IBM logo, Power, POWER7, Power Systems, System Storage and ibm.com 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 http://www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Other company, product or service names may be trademarks, or service marks of others. IBM and Cegeka are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor Cegeka 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.