UGMK extracts maximum value from SAP ERP

Reducing storage requirements by 50 percent with IBM XIV

Published on 09-May-2013

"We’re very happy with the snapshots feature of the XIV system; it lets us make a logical copy of all our data without interrupting production." - Anvar Hidearshin, Head of IT support, Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company

Customer:
Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company (UGMK)

Industry:
Industrial Products

Deployment country:
Russian Federation

Solution:
Business Resiliency, Enterprise Resource Planning, High Availability , Storage Consolidation

IBM Business Partner:
SAP, Trinity

Overview

Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company (UGMK) is a vertically integrated holding company comprising more than 300 different corporate bodies, including 60 industrial enterprises and their subsidiaries. One of the leading non-ferrous metal producers in Russia, UGMK has annual revenues of approximately 200 billion rubles (US$6.3 billion). In addition to mining, the company is active in the medical, agro-industrial and construction sectors.

Business need:
Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company wanted to improve the performance of its SAP ERP systems, and needed more storage capacity to support a strategic paperless-office initiative.

Solution:
Engaged IBM Premier Business Partner Trinity to deploy an IBM® XIV® Storage System in each of two data centers, then migrate critical SAP data, Oracle databases and business applications to the platform.

Benefits:
Built-in thin provisioning on IBM XIV cuts capacity requirements by 50 percent; XIV provides ample performance and space for SAP systems; built-in data replication provides protection for data.

Case Study

Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company (UGMK) is a vertically integrated holding company comprising more than 300 different corporate bodies, including 60 industrial enterprises and their subsidiaries. One of the leading non-ferrous metal producers in Russia, UGMK has annual revenues of approximately 200 billion rubles (US$6.3 billion). In addition to mining, the company is active in the medical, agro-industrial and construction sectors.

Two major strategic projects at UGMK were putting unprecedented pressure on its data storage infrastructure. The first was a paperless-office initiative involving the scanning and OCR (optical-character recognition) processing of large volumes of paperwork, which was expected to add around 40 TB of data each year. The second was an upgrade to UGMK's mission-critical SAP systems. “We’re a vertically integrated company, so our IT systems serve a vast range of employees spread across multiple business units," explains Anvar Hidearshin, Head of IT support at UGMK. “The one thing that all of these diverse functions have in common is their shared reliance on SAP ERP, which is crucial to the smooth running of the company. For that reason, when SAP performance started to drop, we knew we had to react quickly to address the problem.”

UGMK’s legacy storage platform lacked sufficient performance to ensure the rapid response times and throughput required to run the new version of SAP ERP, negatively impacting the productivity of end users across the company. To resolve the issue, UGMK needed a high-performance, reliable and secure data storage solution.

Searching for a solution
UGMK invited some of the most experienced systems integrators in Russia to give presentations. “We had a very clear idea about what we wanted from our solution,” says Anvar Hidearshin. “As our SAP data is integral to the running of our business, we wanted a high-performance storage solution with excellent reliability, resilience and disaster recovery capabilities.”

“We evaluated offerings from EMC, Hitachi, HP and several others, but, ultimately, it was the IBM XIV Storage System that impressed us the most. The most important criteria for us were reliability and performance, and XIV’s massively parallelized architecture checked both of those boxes. What’s more, virtualization, mirroring and snapshot tools are included in the price, and there are no extra charges based on how much data you store—we liked that very much. In fact, we worked out that the total cost of ownership for XIV—a Tier 1 solution—was lower than for the mid-range offerings of many of the other vendors we considered.”

Migrating critical data to IBM XIV
UGMK engaged IBM Premier Business Partner Trinity to implement new IBM servers and storage for its SAP systems. Working together with IBM, Trinity installed an IBM Power 570 server running IBM AIX at each of two geographically separate data centers, each with an IBM XIV Storage System. UGMK then migrated its SAP data, applications and Oracle databases to the XIV environment. Data is mirrored between the IBM XIV systems to provide a failover option in the event of a disaster at one location.

“A migration on this scale is always a complex procedure, but the transition to IBM XIV actually went quite smoothly,” says Anvar Hidearshin. “We were able to perform a semi-automatic migration, which meant we kept downtime and its attendant business disruption to an absolute minimum.”

No training required
Owning to the intuitive, user-friendly design of the IBM XIV user interface, the company did not need to run any special training to enable its administrators to make the transition.

“Compared to other systems I’ve worked with in the past, working with IBM XIV is a breeze,” says Anvar Hidearshin. “By making use of the thin provisioning feature, we can allocate phantom storage space to our Oracle database so that it thinks that it has the room to grow far beyond the space actually available. Because XIV is entirely virtualized, there’s no need to partition physical disk space or worry about storage tiers—if our Oracle database needs more space, we can simply connect a new XIV storage unit to the system, and its additional capacity will be automatically available to the system.”

Saving 50 percent on storage capacity needs
“Through thin provisioning alone, I’d estimate that we’ve reduced our storage requirements by around 50 percent,” says Hidearshin. “We estimate our data will grow by at least 40 TB per year, and we plan to scale up our storage accordingly. Because XIV scales linearly, there are no obstacles to achieving this goal. Also, we can maintain and update the XIV systems with little or no downtime, so we are confident of offering our SAP users excellent response times and high availability at all times.”

He adds: “We’re very happy with the snapshots feature of the XIV system; it lets us make a logical copy of all our data without interrupting production. We also really like the XIV client for the Apple iPad, as it gives us the flexibility to monitor and manage our storage even when we’re away from the office.”

High-performance decision
The introduction of XIV storage at UGMK has eliminated the bottlenecks in SAP performance, increasing business efficiency and providing headroom for growth. Adding additional XIV modules adds processors and cache as well as disk capacity, so that scaling up the system will actually increase performance.

UGMK remains convinced that it made the correct decision in choosing IBM as its storage vendor. “We’ve been using IBM hardware for more than 10 years,” concludes Hidearshin. “On this occasion, as in the past, it was a very successful collaboration. IBM and Trinity have proven themselves to be excellent partners, and I’d certainly recommend their services and technology to other enterprises.”

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
Power Systems, Storage, Storage: XIV

Software:
AIX, PowerVM, Tivoli Storage Manager

Operating system:
AIX

Service:
IBM-SAP Alliance

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation Systems and Technology Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America May 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, AIX, Power Systems, PowerVM, and XIV are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. It is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other products or programs with IBM products and programs. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided. Actual available storage capacity may be reported for both uncompressed and compressed data and will vary and may be less than stated.