CSX Corporation

Estimates substantial savings over three years with IBM InfoSphere Optim solutions

Published on 19-Oct-2012

"IBM InfoSphere Optim solutions support our packaged and custom applications across both distributed and mainframe environments." - Gary Bachtell, Manager, Enterprise Services, CSX Technology, Inc.

CSX Corporation

Travel & Transportation

Deployment country:
United States

Information Lifecycle Governance (ILG), System z Software

IBM Business Partner:
Estuate Inc.


CSX Corporation, along with its subsidiaries, is one of the leading transportation suppliers in the United States. The CSX transportation network encompasses approximately 21,000 route miles of track in 23 states, the District of Columbia and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

Business need:
Continued data growth was degrading application performance and increasing cost and capacity requirements for development and testing.

CSX deployed IBM® InfoSphere® Optim® solutions to improve application testing, protect sensitive data and manage data growth across both mainframe and distributed platforms.

Estimates substantial savings over three years; improves testing efficiencies to speed the delivery of reliable application enhancements; supports compliance regulations by mitigating risk in non-production environments.

Case Study

CSX Corporation, along with its subsidiaries, is one of the leading transportation suppliers in the United States. The CSX transportation network encompasses approximately 21,000 route miles of track in 23 states, the District of Columbia and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

CSX supports its daily business activities using a wide range of packaged enterprise resource planning (ERP) and custom applications that must be maintained at peak operating performance. Ongoing application development and testing is an important part of this effort, making effective test data management critical.

For Gary Bachtell, a manager within Enterprise Services at CSX, and Patrick Christofferson, a senior systems engineer, their project to improve testing efficiencies and support compliance requirements, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), is setting the foundation for a larger data lifecycle management initiative.

Several years ago, they made the decision to launch an application test center to provide developers with “repeatable test data so they can achieve predictable results.” However, to meet this objective, they needed to change the way test data was managed. Previously, IT staff used manual “copy and clone” processes to create development and testing environments. These processes typically took hours to execute—more than 40 hours in some cases—which affected testing schedules. The large test databases also required costly storage capacity.

In addition, increasing volumes of data were taking a toll on application performance in production environments. A database archiving solution was needed to help manage continued data growth.

“Sometimes, we would need to deploy many test copies of the same database for different development purposes, each of which would be a full production copy,” says Bachtell. “For example, the PeopleSoft database has grown to more than 300 GB, and we would have four or five test instances of the production database loaded into our test environment. We wanted to get the data down to a reasonable sized test set so that we could support these testing requirements with fewer resources, while still meeting the needs of our developers.”

Supporting both the mainframe and distributed application environments

The diverse application environment at CSX includes a variety of data servers and data stores—IBM IMS™, IBM VSAM, IBM DB2®, Microsoft SQL Server, and Oracle databases—which reside in the mainframe (on an IBM zEnterprise® 196 system running IBM z/OS®) and distributed environments (on Microsoft Windows-based and Linux servers). As a result, any test data management or data archiving solutions would need to support both environments.

“We conducted two Proof-of-Concept (POC) projects, the first focused on creating test environments by moving data from Oracle E-Business Suite software on Oracle Database,” says Bachtell. “The second POC focused on creating a test database using IMS and DB2 for a custom application. Most of the products we reviewed didn’t meet our requirements because they didn’t address IMS. IBM InfoSphere Optim solutions support our packaged and custom applications across both distributed and mainframe environments.”

The ability to “age the data” for testing purposes was also critical. “Data copied from a production database on one day may not be usable for testing purposes the following day because of logic built into the programs,” Christofferson explains. “For instance, if a program is looking for information dated today, and the test data is from yesterday, the application will not run properly. These IBM solutions provide the date manipulation capabilities that our developers need. We can adjust all dates in a given record, a table or multiple tables by the same time factor so that it is current for the tests.”

Protecting data

IBM InfoSphere Optim software also provided data masking capabilities to address compliance regulations—a key issue for the CSX team that manages the company’s PeopleSoft applications.

“The team that works with PeopleSoft is HIPAA certified,” says Bachtell. “And when we first engaged them several years ago to provide data for test cases, they had to encrypt the data because the IT team wasn’t HIPAA certified. They scrambled sensitive fields, which made it difficult to validate test results. The InfoSphere Optim Data Masking Solution enabled us to mask sensitive data for our test environment and provide realistic results. We can now easily engage third party contractors to conduct tests knowing that our data is secure.”

IBM Business Partner, Estuate, provided CSX with implementation support.

“We were fresh out of InfoSphere Optim training when we started the PeopleSoft project,” says Christofferson. “Estuate was very helpful in identifying the privatization tables and routines and offered expertise in design concepts and software installation.”

Improving performance and availability of test data

The subsetting capabilities of InfoSphere Optim Test Data Management Solution software helped the CSX IT team identify precise subsets of referentially intact test data that can be saved, shared and reused. Subsetting reduces the time and capacity CSX requires to create and refresh realistic test environments.

“From a testing perspective, we’ve gotten feedback that the solution has greatly improved our test turnaround time,” says Bachtell. “Developers are seeing much faster executions as they run tests.”

Faster delivery of test databases is also helping to streamline the testing process.

“One of the problems in the past was that one team would consume the data that another team was counting on using,” says Bachtell. “And because we only do a weekly refresh of the databases, the team then might lose development cycles because the test data isn’t available to them. By reducing the size of the databases, we can refresh those databases faster throughout the week, so that developers don’t have to wait.”

Controlling data growth

While test data management was the initial focus, Bachtell expects “a production benefit” as well.

“When we heard about the data archiving capabilities in the InfoSphere Optim Data Growth Solution, there was also interest from the application folks who wanted to trim down the size of their production databases,” he explains. “We’re starting a project soon using InfoSphere Optim to archive data based on our business rules and record retention policies. We expect archiving to trim several years of production data and provide application performance improvements.”

Bachtell adds, “We’re still early in our InfoSphere Optim implementation. Currently, I’m rolling out new testing standards and discussing the various capabilities we now have with this software. The application teams are very interested in these capabilities. The data management team is also excited about these capabilities and how this product can help them identify duplicate data and gaps in our data.”

Significant savings expected in the next three years

According to Bachtell and Christofferson, substantial savings are expected through a combination of factors including the following:
● Ability to save historical data on lower-cost storage media
● Reduction in upgrade costs due to more manageable database sizes
● Decrease in capacity requirements for test data
● Faster delivery of application enhancements

“The opportunity for savings is significant,” says Christofferson. “One of the biggest challenges is getting the word out to the many teams that can benefit from test data management and archiving capabilities because their participation is key.”

For more information

To learn more about IBM InfoSphere software, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner or visit the following websites: ibm.com/software/data/optim or ibm.com/software/data/infosphere

For more information about Estuate Inc., visit: www.estuate.com

For more information about CSX Corporation, visit: www.csx.com

Products and services used

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

System z: zEnterprise 196 (z196)

InfoSphere Discovery, InfoSphere Optim Data Growth Solution for Oracle E-business Suite, InfoSphere Optim Test Data Management Solution for Oracle E-Business Suite, InfoSphere Optim Test Data Management Solution for PeopleSoft Enterprise, InfoSphere Optim Data Growth Solution for PeopleSoft Enterprise, InfoSphere Optim Data Masking Solution for DB2 for z/OS, InfoSphere Optim Data Masking Solution, InfoSphere Optim Data Growth Solution, InfoSphere Optim Test Data Management Solution, InfoSphere Classic Federation Server for z/OS

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America October 2012 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, InfoSphere, and Optim 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 Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, or both. Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. 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 performance data and 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. The client is responsible for ensuring compliance with laws and regulations applicable to it. IBM does not provide legal advice or represent or warrant that its services or products will ensure that the client is in compliance with any law or regulation. Actual available storage capacity may be reported for both uncompressed and compressed data and will vary and may be less than stated.