Silhouette sets its sights on global growth through fast operational insight

Providing rapid, round-the-clock access to vital enterprise information with a powerful IBM solution

Published on 05-Sep-2013

"The combination of IBM Power Systems and IBM i offers us an integrated, rock-solid platform for supporting essential business systems. Moving to IBM Power 740 servers running the latest IBM i operating system and IBM DB2 for i database has improved performance of our Infor ERP solution by 100 percent." - Karl Sulzbacher, Silhouette International Schmied AG

Customer:
Silhouette

Industry:
Consumer Products

Deployment country:
Austria

Solution:
BA - Business Analytics, BA - Business Intelligence, Big Data & Analytics, Big Data & Analytics: Operations/Fraud/Threats, High Availability , Information Management Foundation

IBM Business Partner:
Base-IT GmbH

Overview

Silhouette International Schmied AG designs and manufactures lightweight eyewear. Originally founded in 1964 with a vision of turning glasses into a fashion accessory, Silhouette has grown into a globally recognized brand, selling around 2.2 million pairs of eyeglasses each year. Headquartered in Linz, Austria, the company employs some 1,600 people in 11 countries worldwide and markets its products in more than 100 countries.

Business need:
To support global operations, Silhouette needs to provide production and sales teams with rapid information access 24/7 – or risk wasting resources and missing valuable opportunities for growth.

Solution:
Silhouette deployed two IBM® Power® 740 servers running IBM i with the integrated IBM DB2® database, creating a high-availability configuration that maximizes uptime for vital enterprise systems.

Benefits:
Boosts application performance by 100 percent and maximizes production uptime, giving the business fast access to the information it needs to support profitable, efficient operations around the clock.

Case Study

To read a German-language version of this case study, click here

Silhouette International Schmied AG designs and manufactures lightweight eyewear. Originally founded in 1964 with a vision of turning glasses into a fashion accessory, Silhouette has grown into a globally recognized brand, selling around 2.2 million pairs of eyeglasses each year. Headquartered in Linz, Austria, the company employs some 1,600 people in 11 countries worldwide and markets its products in more than 100 countries.

International operations play a critical role in Silhouette’s success, with exports accounting for more than 95 percent of total sales . The company sets itself ambitious growth targets, and is constantly increasing sales efforts to reach new international markets and expand revenues. With the scope of its global network growing continuously, Silhouette must keep tight control over operations in order to maximize sales and keep the business on track for profitable growth.

Supporting an international business
The ability to track every aspect of the production and sales process is key to driving strong business performance. For example, if Silhouette cannot accurately determine demand for specific products in different geographies, and match that demand to production, it risks over- or under-producing stock and utilizing capacity inefficiently – costly errors that could negatively impact profits and blunt the company’s competitive edge.

To run its business productively, Silhouette uses integrated Infor ERP applications to manage core processes, including warehouse management and sales management. To turn the large volumes of information generated by the Infor ERP solutions into valuable business insight, Silhouette takes advantage of IBM Cognos® Business Intelligence. This IBM solution provides advanced analytics and comprehensive reporting capabilities, and is used to create up-to-date reports on production activity, sales performance and customer orders.

Karl Sulzbacher of Silhouette International Schmied AG, explains, “Infor ERP and IBM Cognos are absolutely essential to our operations. Nearly every area of the business, from manufacturing and sales teams to senior management, relies on the software to co-ordinate activities and ensure profitable, efficient operations.”

Meeting high performance demands with IBM
As its international operations continued to expand, Silhouette faced increasing pressure to provide faster, more reliable access to growing volumes of information generated by its Infor ERP applications. With its existing IBM hardware systems due for a refresh, the company took the opportunity to upgrade its IT infrastructure and move to a powerful, scalable platform designed to deliver very high performance and availability.

To meet rising performance requirements, Silhouette implemented two IBM Power 740 servers, based on leading IBM POWER7® processor-based technology. The company also decided to migrate its enterprise applications to the latest version of IBM i, and to take advantage of the operating system’s integrated IBM DB2 database technology. All of the company’s enterprise applications now run in a single IBM i partition on the main IBM Power 740 server.

Karl Sulzbacher says, “The combination of IBM Power Systems and IBM i offers us an integrated, rock-solid platform for supporting essential business systems. Moving to IBM Power 740 servers running the latest IBM i operating system and IBM DB2 for i database has improved performance of our Infor ERP solution by 100 percent. We have accelerated workflows and information availability across the business, helping our staff work more efficiently and giving them the accurate, timely information they need to drive better performance.”

Managing growing information volumes
With the information generated by Silhouette’s business applications growing steadily, the company looked for an effective way to store and manage rising quantities of data. Finding a solution that could scale to meet future demands was a key requirement – Silhouette wanted to guarantee fast access to vital information even as the business expanded, and provide decision-makers with the data they needed to support productive operations.

To meet the requirement for powerful, scalable storage, Silhouette deployed IBM System Storage® DS8800, using the storage system to manage some 16 TB of operational data. The solution is connected to the company’s Power Systems™ servers via an 8 Gbps Fibre Channel link. For secure data archiving and off-site backups, the company implemented an IBM System Storage TS3500 Tape Library with 350 TB of storage capacity, which is located at a third data center.

High availability for 24/7 operations
Silhouette runs its sales and distribution activities practically around the clock, making it essential for the company to maintain high levels of availability for the business systems supporting its operations. Even the slightest delay or service interruption could cause major disruption to the company’s supply-chain processes, and potentially lead to costly overruns and missed sales opportunities.

To maximize uptime for vital production systems, Silhouette worked with IBM and IBM Business Partner Base-IT to design and implement a high-availability solution. The company has set up its IBM Power Systems servers and System Storage technology in a mirrored configuration, and uses Rocket iCluster software from IBM Business Partner Rocket Software to mirror the systems across two data centers for increased business continuity.

All network connections and fibre channel links between servers and storage are fully redundant, ensuring that operations can continue uninterrupted even if one component fails. Finally, Silhouette uses Backup, Recovery and Media Services for IBM i to create daily backups of its production data, which are stored on its System Storage TS3500 tape library.

Karl Sulzbacher says, “We implemented a high availability configuration to minimize system downtime in an event of failure. We test the disaster recovery process once a year and are confident that this IBM solution provides the total availability our business demands, giving us strong performance and reliability at a cost-effective price.”

Improving productivity and business performance
The outstanding stability of IBM i on IBM Power Systems helps Silhouette to keep administration cost and effort low, with the platform offering a highly secure operating system environment and virus-resistant architecture. The reduced workload has increased employee productivity and freed up staff to work on more productive tasks.

Karl Sulzbacher explains, “We need only two people to operate our mission-critical IBM i environment – the system is very easy to manage, and allows us to do much more with our available resources. As the integrated IBM DB2 database also requires minimal administration effort, we do not even need a dedicated database administrator.”

With IBM i on Power Systems servers forming a rock-solid backbone for integrated Infor applications, Silhouette can provide its growing business with top levels of performance and stability, maximizing operational efficiency while minimizing system downtime and putting the company in a strong position for supporting continued international expansion.

Karl Sulzbacher concludes, “IBM is a strong partner and we are very happy with our decision to run mission-critical systems on IBM i. The IBM Power Systems platform allows cost-efficient operations of our global Infor ERP system, keeping our manufacturing plants running at high levels of efficiency and providing our teams with the information they require to maximize sales efforts and meet customer needs.”

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
Power 740 Express, Power Systems, Power Systems running i, Storage, Storage: DS8800, Storage: TS3500 Tape Library

Software:
Cognos Business Intelligence, IBM i, DB2 for i5/OS

Operating system:
IBM i

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013. IBM Deutschland GmbH. IBM-Allee 1. 71139 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 Austria. September 2013. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Cognos, DB2, Power, POWER7, PowerVM, Power Systems and System Storage 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: www.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.