Leading foodservice organization steers towards success

Enabling operational savings with IBM and SAP

Published on 23-May-2012

Validated on 04 Nov 2013

"The new Power, DB2 and SAP solutions perform considerably better than before. DB2 compression delivers lower I/O and reduced wait I/O, and as a result processor utilization has dropped. This gives us capacity for growth without requiring new investments, and performance has increased by around 20 percent." - IT Team Leader

Customer:
Leading foodservice organization

Industry:
Professional Services

Deployment country:
United Kingdom

Solution:
Enterprise Resource Planning, Information Integration, Small & Medium Business, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server, Virtualization - Storage

IBM Business Partner:
SAP

Overview

One of the leading foodservice organizations in the UK uses SAP Business Suite to manage its core financial, logistics, inventory, personnel and payroll tasks. Its IT division – which itself is part of the central finance division – is committed to continually finding better, more cost-efficient ways to deliver services.

Business need:
In the highly competitive foodservice sector, it is essential to reduce administrative overheads. The challenge is always to improve business efficiency and enhance service delivery while reducing infrastructure investments, cutting software license fees and decreasing operational maintenance expenses.

Solution:
A leading foodservice organization consolidated to IBM® Power Systems™ servers and migrated to IBM DB2®, using Deep Compression to reduce data volumes by 56 percent. The company implemented IBM Storwize® V7000 storage systems to create a fully virtualized, integrated data storage landscape. Subsequently, the company upgraded to the latest SAP ERP components, including financials, controlling, materials management, sales and distribution, human resources, and payroll, using IBM WebSphere® Portal to provide access for its hundreds of operational units across the UK.

Benefits:
Saved more than £90,000 over three years on database license and maintenance fees. Saved £50,000 over three years through lower development and test landscape sizes requiring smaller storage and processor capacities. Saved more than £90,000 on storage hardware purchases with DB2 Deep Compression.

Case Study

The foodservice industry represents an intensely competitive marketplace, and there is constant pressure to reduce back-office and administrative service costs.

One of the leading foodservice organizations in the UK uses SAP Business Suite to manage its core financial, logistics, inventory, personnel and payroll tasks. Its IT division – which itself is part of the central finance division – is committed to continually finding better, more cost-efficient ways to deliver services.

The company’s IT Team Leader says: “Any way to reduce direct operational costs and to avoid future capital expenditure will always be examined. For example, we look for ways to reduce software license fees, to cut maintenance and support costs, and to bring down the expenses associated with an expanding IT landscape. The business imperative is to do more with less, and continue to achieve and surpass our service levels and capabilities.”

Re-thinking the infrastructure
With plans to upgrade to the latest editions of the SAP applications, the company was presented with an opportunity to re-think its infrastructure strategy and software landscape, including its choice of database. By consolidating to fewer, more powerful servers, per-processor software license fees could be reduced, and new database technology could offer significant cost-avoidance benefits through data compression and improved performance.

The company’s systems support around 2,000 named users, with total production data of some 4.1 TB, growing at 600 GB a year. The team reviewed a range of vendor technologies, and chose to migrate from Oracle databases to IBM DB2, with the SAP application landscape running on IBM Power Systems servers.

“The driving forces behind the cost savings were the ability to virtualize the Power Systems environments and reduce our database license fees,” says the IT Team Leader. “By purchasing DB2 licenses and support through SAP, we have saved more than £90,000 over three years.”

“By implementing DB2 Deep Compression at the time of the migration, we were able to reduce 7.5TB of data to 3.3TB, a decrease of 56 percent. This produces immediate effects by saving on disk and tape capacity requirements, enabling faster backup and restore processes, and reducing power requirements, as we now require fewer disks. By minimizing direct expenditure on additional storage hardware, we can maintain a simple SAN landscape with fewer devices and lower maintenance costs.”

Consolidation through virtualization
The foodservice organization has consolidated its SAP applications to just three IBM Power Systems servers, running multiple logical partitions (LPARs) to create virtual servers for the SAP applications. Using LPARs enables the company to allocate processor, memory and network resources to each SAP application as necessary.

In practice, the organization uses a technique known as ‘over-commitment’, where more resources are assigned to the LPARs collectively than are physically available in total. Because the peak workload occurs at different times for each LPAR, the applications are able to use the maximum resource allowances to ensure the best possible performance, and then release resources back to the shared pool for use by other LPARs.

“The combination of the LPAR technology and planned over-commitment means that our company is able to exploit the maximum processing efficiency from its investments,” says the IT Team Leader. “Again, this allows us to avoid expenditure on additional processing capacity by allowing us to manage workload in the most efficient manner with existing resources.”

Data is stored on a newly implemented IBM Storwize V7000 and existing IBM System Storage® DS8100 and DS5300 devices. The IBM Storwize V7000 incorporates innovative storage efficiency technologies typically found only in enterprise-class systems, integrated into a compact, modular design. The solution simplifies management with a groundbreaking GUI that is both powerful and easy to use, designed to help improve storage performance, efficiency and utilization rates, while improving storage administrator productivity. Preinstalled software on the V7000 enables simplified provisioning, online data migration, simplified application performance tuning and easy storage tiering architecture.

“IBM was very helpful throughout the entire server and storage consolidation process, and with the SAP application upgrade,” says the IT Team Leader. “The process was painless, and we have full confidence in IBM’s ability to support our ongoing transformation. IBM fully understood our business objectives, and helped us reach our goals by building the business case and executing each step of the process quickly and efficiently.”

Rapid SAP software upgrade
With a simplified and optimized SAP application landscape migrated to IBM DB2 and consolidated to IBM Power Systems servers, the organization readied itself for a major SAP application upgrade across all its business-critical components.

“With smaller database volumes and the ability to create new virtual servers for SAP instances, we reduced the SAP upgrade time from around 18 hours to less than a working day of eight hours,” says the IT Team Leader. “The compressed database enabled us to complete essential pre-migration backup more quickly, and we completed the upgrade to the enhancement package for SAP ERP in less than a day. This landscape includes a payroll system that supports 160,000 people, so it is important to have these systems working.”

“The new Power, DB2 and SAP solutions perform considerably better than before. DB2 compression delivers lower I/O and reduced wait I/O, and as a result processor utilization has dropped. This gives us capacity for growth without requiring new investments, and performance has increased by around 20 percent.”

“Backup processes now complete in less than half of the previous time, enabling us to return full processing capacity to production applications more quickly. Additionally, the tape and disk storage devices can be made available for other business areas more rapidly, contributing to better asset utilization throughout the company.”

Integrating business operations
The enhanced SAP application landscape includes web access via IBM WebSphere Portal technologies. This enables staff at each site to login and self-manage much of their business operations, including controlled access to the core human resources, payroll and sales applications, as well as an IT maintenance solution.

The IT Team Leader concludes, “With a diverse business across the UK, it is important to be close to customers. IBM WebSphere Portal connects us to centralized SAP applications rapidly and cost-effectively, enabling all operational units to work from the same set of data. With SAP and IBM, the result is an integrated, highly efficient business that serves its customers and delivers value to stakeholders.”

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
Power 570, Power Systems, Storage, Storage: DS5300, Storage: DS8100, Storage: Storwize V7000

Software:
DB2 for AIX, WebSphere Portal

Operating system:
AIX

Service:
IBM-SAP Alliance

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012 IBM Deutschland IBM-Allee 1 D-71139 Ehningen Germany Produced in Germany May 2012 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com AIX, DB2, Power, POWER6, Storwize, System Storage, and Websphere 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. SAP ERP is a product of SAP. IBM and SAP are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor SAP makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. Other company, product or service names may be trademarks, or service marks of others. 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.