SSB puts reliable public transport on the fast track with IBM and SAP

Published on 30-Sep-2013

"In our opinion, the combination of IBM AIX and the IBM Power Architecture offers simply the best match for supporting SAP applications and databases. We see a huge difference between running SAP on IBM Power Systems with IBM AIX compared with running SAP on Microsoft Server." - Roland Wagner, Team Lead Systems, Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG

Customer:
Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG (SSB)

Industry:
Travel & Transportation

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
Business Continuity, Data Warehouse, Enabling Business Flexibility, Enterprise Resource Planning, General Parallel File System (GPFS), High Availability , Information Management Foundation, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server, Virtualization - Storage

IBM Business Partner:
SAP

Overview

Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG (SSB) provides passenger transport services in the greater Stuttgart region of Germany. The company is owned by the State Capital Stuttgart, and acts as the region’s main public transport operator. SSB manages an extensive network of light rail lines, bus routes and a rack railway, carrying a total of more than 171 million passengers annually. In all, the company operates approximately 450 buses and trains, and employs more than 2,900 people.

Business need:
Slow response times or lack of application availability could have a huge impact on SSB’s ability to properly co-ordinate its activity and deliver safe, efficient urban transport. It could also cause significant disruption to its clients’ operations, leading to loss of revenues if clients chose to switch hosting providers. The company must ensure fast access to enterprise data, in order to provide its own executives and its clients with the information they need to perform timely, accurate analysis and reporting, and guide better decision-making.

Solution:
SSB relies on a solid hardware backbone of IBM® Power Systems™ servers, running IBM AIX®, to deliver exceptional performance for its business-critical systems, including an extensive SAP ERP application landscape. To manage growing quantities of data and provide fast access to vital information, the company extended its existing storage environment – based on IBM System Storage® SAN Volume Controller – with high-performance IBM FlashSystem™ technology.

Benefits:
Allows quicker payouts with optimized commission calculations in SAP Revenue Management and Contract Accounting (SAP RM-CA), reducing runtime from five hours to just 40 minutes, a saving of more than 86 percent. Provides HR staff with new opportunities to work better with data by accelerating complex payroll processing from six hours to six minutes, a saving of more than 98 percent. IBM FlashSystem storage expected to deliver a full return on investment within five years, and offers a total cost of operation that is 50 percent less than traditional storage solutions.

Case Study

About this paper

Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG (SSB) manages diverse operations, acting as the main public transport provider in Germany’s greater Stuttgart region, as well as an IT service provider for a number of medium-sized companies. SSB relies on a solid hardware backbone of IBM® Power Systems™ servers, running IBM AIX®, to deliver exceptional performance for its business-critical systems, including an extensive SAP ERP application landscape. To manage growing quantities of data and provide fast access to vital information, the company extended its existing storage environment – based on IBM System Storage® SAN Volume Controller – with high-performance IBM FlashSystem™ technology.

Customer Objectives

  • Maintain high performance and availability for both company systems and client applications
  • Manage rapid system growth of 10 percent per year, and take control of surging data volumes
  • Provide executives with fast, consistent access to the enterprise data they need to support better planning and decision-making
  • Deliver cost-effective managed services without compromising on quality, to boost competitiveness.

IBM Solution
  • IBM Power® 770, IBM Power 730 Express servers and IBM Power 550 servers running IBM® AIX® V6.1 with IBM PowerHA® SystemMirror for AIX along with IBM PowerVM® Enterprise Edition virtualization technology
  • Full virtualization with IBM Virtual I/O Server technology, IBM Micro-Partitioning™ and IBM Live Partition Mobility
  • IBM System Storage® SAN Volume Controller stretched cluster with redundant SAN fabric based on IBM System Storage SAN384B SAN directors
  • IBM System Storage DS5100 mid-range disk storage
  • IBM FlashSystem™ 810 low-latency flash storage and RamSan-630, predecessor to the IBM FlashSystem
  • IBM InfoSphere® Optim™ System Analyzer for SAP Applications software for efficient SAP application update management
  • Disaster recovery solution based on IBM Tivoli® Storage Manager with IBM DCS3700 disk storage,
  • IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS™) and IBM System Storage TS3500 tape libraries
  • SAP ERP applications, SAP ERP Human Capital Management, SAP Revenue Management and Contract Accounting (SAP RM-CA), and SAP NetWeaver Process Integration all with Oracle databases.

Customer Benefits
  • Allows quicker payouts with optimized commission calculations in SAP Revenue Management and Contract Accounting (SAP RM-CA), reducing runtime from five hours to just 40 minutes, a saving of more than 86 percent
  • Provides HR staff with new opportunities to work better with data by accelerating complex payroll processing from six hours to six minutes, a saving of more than 98 percent
  • IBM FlashSystem storage expected to deliver a full return on investment within five years, and offers a total cost of operation that is 50 percent less than traditional storage solutions
  • IBM Power Systems™ servers in combination with IBM FlashSystem storage deliver exceptional performance for SAP applications, providing a throughput of 240,000 SAPS
  • Combination of IBM AIX on IBM Power Systems enables easy management, requiring only 0.8 full-time employee equivalent (FTE) for administration
  • Delivers very high levels of availability, ensuring that business-critical systems are kept up and running around the clock.

Background, starting point and objectives

About Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG (SSB)
Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG (SSB) provides passenger transport services in the greater Stuttgart region of Germany. The company is owned by the State Capital Stuttgart, and acts as the region’s main public transport operator. SSB manages an extensive network of light rail lines, bus routes and a rack railway, carrying a total of more than 171 million passengers annually. In all, the company operates approximately 450 buses and trains, and employs more than 2,900 people.

In addition to its public transport duties, SSB acts as an IT service provider for other public transport companies and medium-sized companies from various industries. Its IT service business specializes in SAP ERP hosting, and the company also provides general data center services and runs online shops, marketplaces and business-to-business portals for its clients.

Initial IT environment
To support its own business systems and those of its clients, SSB operates a comprehensive IT infrastructure, based on IBM Power Systems servers.

With a large base of both internal and external users, and a great variety of application environments, SSB must manage a diverse and complex set of requirements. The company needs to be able to respond fast and flexibly to changing circumstances and demands if it is to maintain high levels of service.

Slow response times or lack of application availability could have a huge impact on SSB’s ability to properly co-ordinate its activity and deliver safe, efficient urban transport. It could also cause significant disruption to its clients’ operations, leading to loss of revenues if clients chose to switch hosting providers. The company must ensure fast access to enterprise data, in order to provide its own executives and its clients with the information they need to perform timely, accurate analysis and reporting, and guide better decision-making.

As the scope of SSB’s transport services expanded and as the scale of its application hosting service increased over the years, the company’s computing landscape has grown massively. To meet rising capacity demands, the company became an early adopter of virtualized storage. Backed by strong support from its CIO, Mr. Martin Augspach, SSB decided to deploy the IBM SAN Volume Controller as its strategic storage platform.

The successful deployment of IBM SAN Volume Controller enabled SSB to manage its storage resources more efficiently than before. Increased availability, performance and capacity utilization improved reliability and delivered substantial savings.

Over time, data storage requirements became more and more demanding, prompting SSB to re-evaluate its storage strategy. With enterprise systems growing approximately ten percent year-on-year, the company was finding it more and more difficult to cope with soaring data volumes.

Roland Wagner, Team Lead Systems at SSB, explains: “It was a considerable challenge for us to meet the increasing capacity demands placed on our storage systems. We were adding more and more disks to our systems just to meet our service level agreements and provide the throughput rates our customers need for their mission-critical SAP systems. Overcapacity and high costs were the consequence, damaging our margins and harming our competitiveness.”

SSB, specifically Alexander Müller, Pavel Fryè and Frank Fegert from the IT department, looked to upgrade to a more powerful, flexible storage platform, which could be used in conjunction with the company’s existing IBM SAN Volume Controller solution for enhanced management and functionality. The aim was to balance high performance with low costs, in order to keep hosting services competitive without compromising on service quality.

Business challenges and project objectives
SSB faces the two-fold challenge of keeping its public transport business running and supporting its external customers’ operations. Maintaining high levels of service for its own business systems and those of its clients is a top priority.

With more than half a million people travelling on its transport network every day, SSB cannot afford any interruptions to the systems that support vital operations such as ticketing, network maintenance and customer relations. For instance, the SSB website is rapidly becoming an important port of call for travelers looking for information or seeking to purchase tickets. Customers need to be able to access the information and services they require quickly and easily, and will not accept lengthy delays.

It is vital for SSB to ensure top performance for the systems supporting its website and other business applications. Failure to provide a fast, convenient and reliable service to travelers could result in transport disruption, loss of revenue and public dissatisfaction.

As Stuttgart’s leading public transport provider, SSB also plays a major role in regional development projects, such as the “Stuttgart Services” e-mobility initiative, aimed at providing travelers with convenient access to public services, including transport, through the use of electronic smartcards.

The company needs to be able to adjust dynamically to the changing requirements of such projects as they develop. For example, to kick-start “Stuttgart Services”, SSB had to quickly set up a powerful and scalable platform that would enable other project partners to proceed with the full roll-out of the new initiative.

As a managed services provider (MSP), SSB must strike a balance between delivering excellent service and keeping costs low. With the number of clients and hosted environments growing steadily, the company needed a way to meet increased performance and capacity demands without raising its prices. If SSB could not keep a tight rein on operating costs, profit margins would shrink and it would risk losing business to competitors.

Technical solution
To support the business processes of its clients, SSB manages a comprehensive suite of SAP ERP applications, including SAP ERP Financials. For its own personnel processes, the company relies on the SAP ERP Human Capital Management (SAP ERP HCM) application, which includes complex payroll management for approximately 2,900 employees. The company has set up its SAP systems in a two-tier configuration where SAP application servers and databases run on the same operating system instance.

To further optimize its SAP ERP operations, SSB takes advantage of IBM InfoSphere® Optim™ System Analyzer for SAP Applications software. The SAP-certified tool helps accelerate SAP application lifecycle activities and maintenance, such as applying enhancement packs, support packs and upgrades.

Before installing a new SAP release or enhancement package, the company uses IBM InfoSphere Optim System Analyzer for SAP Applications to analyze the SAP landscape and recommend test plans to avoid application conflicts and ensure that the update installs effectively.

The solution’s automated in-depth analysis and precise diagnostics reduce project timelines for system updates, saving time for administration and testing teams and cutting maintenance costs.

Server architecture
To support hosted environments for its clients’ SAP ERP applications, SSB implemented a private cloud based on four IBM Power 770 servers, two IBM Power 730 Express servers and three IBM Power 550 servers, which run the IBM AIX operating system. The Power 770 servers feature eight-core POWER7® processors with 512 GB of memory. The Power 730 servers feature four-core POWER7+® processors with 256 GB of memory. The Power 550 servers are equipped with POWER6® and POWER6+™ processors, and have 128 GB and 256 GB of memory respectively.

Roland Wagner explains, “In our opinion, the combination of IBM AIX and the IBM Power Architecture® offers simply the best match for supporting SAP applications and databases. We also have 500 virtual machines running in a Windows environment on VMware ESX, and we run one SAP system on that platform, so we know what we are talking about.

“We see a huge difference between running SAP on IBM Power Systems with IBM AIX compared with running SAP on Microsoft Server. The Power Systems platform offers great advantages over x86 processor based environments: it allows us for example to scale processors and memory up and down dynamically as required, without any issues.”

By running SAP applications on IBM Power Systems servers, SSB can guarantee exceptionally high levels of performance and availability. The current environment delivers a throughput of 240,000 SAPS, based on the SAP Application Performance Standard. Thanks to the high scalability of the Power Systems servers, SSB can increase performance up to 320,000 SAPS without the need for additional physical servers.

For easy management, SSB has developed a standard configuration for IBM AIX, which enables the company to automatically deploy operating system images when a new system is required.

Roland Wagner says, “Our automated operations concept ensures staff efficiency and allows us to operate our entire IBM AIX environment with only 0.8 full-time employee equivalent (FTE).”

Taking advantage of virtualization
For optimized capacity utilization, SSB implemented a fully virtualized environment using IBM PowerVM® Enterprise Edition virtualization technology. With PowerVM, the company has provisioned 142 independent logical partitions (LPARs), running IBM AIX, on just seven physical servers.

SSB exploits innovative IBM POWER7 features such as Active Memory Expansion (AME), which enables automated and transparent compression of data in memory. AME is able to double the apparent memory capacity of some systems, both improving performance and reducing the investment required in physical memory.

To support more efficient use of available computing, memory, networking and storage capacities, SSB takes advantage of the IBM Virtual I/O Server (VIOS). By sharing physical resources among LPARs in each server, the solution gives systems administrators the flexibility to manage fluctuating demand and dynamically allocate resources where they are most needed.

By running two IBM Virtual I/O Server instances on each IBM Power Systems server, SSB can ensure that the systems’ 10 Gbit/s networking connections and 8 Gbit/s Fibre Channel SAN links are available to the IBM AIX systems even if one VIOS should fail.

The diverse nature of SSB’s business means that the data processing workload varies considerably, with certain systems requiring greater performance at peak times. To ensure optimum utilization of its existing server resources, SSB takes advantage of IBM Micro-Partitioning™ technology, which enables multiple logical partitions to share the system’s processing power. This feature allows the company to dynamically scale its AIX-based systems without system restarts.

The sophisticated virtualization stack of IBM PowerVM, IBM VIOS and IBM Micro-Partitioning makes it easy for SSB to operate dynamic cloud infrastructures for its enterprise systems. When requirements change due to data growth or the implementation of new features, the systems can easily be scaled up or down to make sure existing computing capacity is used as efficiently as possible.

SSB takes advantage of the IBM PowerVM Live Partition Mobility (LPM) feature to move running SAP systems and database servers between physical servers, enabling the company to perform system maintenance on its IBM Power Systems servers without downtime for users.

High availability
Maintaining high levels of availability for its clients’ SAP applications and the business systems underpinning its own transport network is a top priority for SSB. Even minor periods of downtime can have huge repercussions, impacting client operations and potentially leading to transport network delays.

To increase system resiliency, SSB has set up its IBM Power Systems servers in a mirrored configuration, stretched across two data centers. The company has enabled a high-availability configuration using IBM PowerHA® SystemMirror for AIX. This IBM software mirrors AIX systems from the production server to a second Power Systems server; if the primary server fails, the secondary server will take over the workloads, minimizing interruption and system downtime for users.

Roland Wagner says, “The IBM Power Architecture with the IBM AIX operating system is an extremely reliable enterprise system. So far, we have achieved constant uptime and excellent performance with our IBM Power 770 and Power 550 servers.”

Storage architecture
With its own systems and those of its clients growing continuously year-on-year, SSB faces a considerable challenge in managing huge volumes of data efficiently and cost-effectively. The company needs to be able to scale up storage systems quickly in order to cope with rising capacity demands.

To build greater flexibility into its storage environment, SSB became an early adopter of storage virtualization, implementing the IBM SAN Volume Controller. The company evaluated a range of other storage virtualization solutions, and selected IBM SAN Volume Controller for its unique features and superior clustering functionality.

Roland Wagner explains, “We wanted to implement a failsafe active-active storage virtualization cluster to increase storage availability and system resiliency. IBM SAN Volume Controller was the only solution on the market that could offer this feature.”

SSB has configured the IBM SAN Volume Controller as a stretched cluster, with four cluster nodes forming two I/O groups at two data centers. A quorum disk is located at a third data center, to ensure data consistency in the event of an error on the primary storage clusters.

High-performance storage area network (SAN) connectivity is provided by a dual switching fabric of four IBM System Storage® SAN384B SAN directors.

These SAN directors form a robust SAN fabric backbone and are designed for modern enterprise data centers. Outstanding performance, scalability, minimal cooling requirements and low power consumption improve data center efficiency and deliver a higher throughout per watt.

Behind the IBM SAN Volume Controller, SSB operates seven mid-range disk storage systems from various vendors, including one IBM System Storage DS5100 solution. In total, SSB has integrated 131 managed disks (MDisks) in 12 MDisk groups with IBM SAN Volume Controller. The system manages a storage capacity of 225 TB and is used as central storage for all servers in IBM AIX and VMware environments.

SSB connected 33 physical servers with more than 650 virtual machines to the IBM SAN Volume Controller and used the capacity provided by managed disks to configure 300 virtual disks (VDisks). VDisks are virtual volumes that appear to server systems like a standard SAN resource. For improved reliability, the company set up VDisk mirrors for all volumes to enable data synchronization across different managed disks.

Roland Wagner says, “Storage virtualization has increased our flexibility substantially, and allows us to use our storage capacity more efficiently and set up new systems more easily than before.

“Moreover, we can manage a broad range of certified storage systems through IBM SAN Volume Controller. This means that we can always buy the most cost-efficient option on the market when we need to expand or update our storage systems, which has enabled us to keep overall storage costs low.”

Implementing IBM FlashSystem
To improve insight into operations and run their businesses more productively, SSB and its clients perform increasingly advanced data analytics on greater quantities of data. Decision-makers require quick access to reports in order to detect emerging trends and target areas for improvement, and cannot afford to be held back by a lack of available information.

SSB decided to add all-flash arrays to its storage line-up to boost performance in its storage environment and accelerate its data analytics processes. The company evaluated two flash storage systems – the Violin 3000 Series from Violin Memory and IBM FlashSystem technology.

To prove the real-world capability of the storage solutions, SSB set up a proof of concept over two months. After integrating both solutions into an IBM SAN Volume Controller test environment, the team consisting of Alexander Müller, Pavel Fryè and Frank Fegert put the storage systems under real load and analyzed the impact the systems had on SAP and non-SAP application performance.

Roland Wagner sums up, “We were very impressed by the IBM FlashSystem. It was very easy to integrate into our existing IBM SAN Volume Controller environment and provided an immediate performance boost across all systems. The striking results convinced our CIO, Mr. Martin Augspach, to fully support the implementation of IBM FlashSystem.”

SSB deployed four IBM FlashSystem offerings with a total usable capacity of 13 TB in a mirrored configuration, including two

IBM FlashSystem 810 units with enterprise multi-level cell (eMLC) flash media technology. These systems include the IBM Variable Stripe RAID™ technology for improved reliability. Thanks to IBM MicroLatency™, the IBM FlashSystem 810 provides response time in microseconds, high bandwidth and extreme input/output operations per second (IOPS) performance in a small footprint, addressing business-critical needs and adding value quickly.

The company also deployed two RamSan-630 units with single-level cell (SLC) technology, predecessor to the IBM FlashSystem. These high-density enterprise storage systems offer excellent performance in a small footprint, for maximum efficiency.

Throughout the development of its storage environment, from introducing virtualization to integrating flash storage systems, SSB worked closely with teams from IBM and IBM Business Partners, who provided strong technical skills and competent support.

Accelerating response times with IBM FlashSystem
SSB has configured a number of its own systems to run exclusively on IBM FlashSystem storage, including the company’s SAP ERP Human Capital Management database, which is used by approximately 2,900 employees and contains 500 GB of data.

SSB also takes advantage of the IBM EasyTier® feature of IBM SAN Volume Controller to automatically assign highly active data volumes to faster flash storage systems. This makes the flash storage capacity instantly available across all systems, providing a performance boost to the systems which need it most, without the need for manual tuning. For example, SSB has been able to massively accelerate response times for one of its client’s large billing systems, which has a database size of about 1.9 TB.

Roland Wagner says, “It was very easy to integrate IBM FlashSystem into our existing IBM SAN Volume Controller environment. For most systems, we let the IBM EasyTier technology determine which systems and data benefit most from the flash performance. We have also permanently moved certain systems that require consistently high performance to IBM FlashSystem.

“Today, when a client needs a performance boost at peak times or unforeseen workloads emerge during projects, we can easily move whole systems or databases from traditional storage to flash storage at the push of a button. This capability has increased our agility and enables us to improve the user experience and react quickly to changing performance requirements.”

Backup and disaster recovery
SSB manages an extensive landscape of business-critical systems and data, which must be fully protected at all times. In the event of unexpected downtime, the company needs to be able to fully and rapidly recover these systems. If vital customer data were ever to be lost, it could have huge repercussions for customers and threaten SSB’s reputation as a hosting provider.

For data protection, the company operates a sophisticated backup and recovery solution based on IBM Tivoli Storage Manager and General Storage Cluster Controller (GSCC) high availability software, provided by IBM Business Partner General Storage. SSB runs four IBM Tivoli Storage Manager servers as a cluster on IBM AIX with the IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS) across its two data centers.

SSB uses IBM Tivoli Storage Manager as the central backup solution for its entire server and application landscape. Protected systems range from SAP ERP applications and Oracle databases to Microsoft SQL Server databases, Microsoft SharePoint deployments and Microsoft Exchange collaboration systems.

Two compact and scalable IBM System Storage DCS3700 disk arrays, with a total capacity of 280 TB, act as storage for the IBM Tivoli Storage Manager solution. Backups are archived to LTO5 tapes using an IBM System Storage TS3500 Tape Library with 10 tape drives. The company stores approximately 1.5 PB of backup data on 600 tapes and has a daily backup volume of about 5.5 TB.

To improve its disaster recovery strategy, SSB recently connected its storage area network to that of the State Capital Stuttgart, which is hosted at a third data center. In co-operation with the State Capital Stuttgart, SSB implemented cross-data-center SAN routing and moved its tape library to this third data center. In turn, State Capital Stuttgart relocated its tape library to one of SSB’s data centers.

In doing so, both parties improved their resiliency and increased data protection with reliable backups at external locations, without changing their backup processes or introducing additional complexity into their disaster recovery procedures.

Project achievements
With flexible and powerful IBM storage systems providing a rock-solid foundation for SSB’s extensive computing landscape, the company can rest assured that vital operational data is kept highly available and made easily accessible for analysis and reporting at all times.

Roland Wagner explains, “Customers today expect 24/7 availability and fast response times. With IBM systems we can deliver excellent performance and high availability round the clock. In particular, IBM FlashSystem gives us the agility to react quickly to changing performance requirements and speed up systems dynamically when needed. This allows us to deliver consistently excellent performance in any customer situation.”

The new flash storage solution at SSB provides consistently high performance, providing 400,000 IOPS regardless of the system load. This enables SSB to achieve substantial performance improvements across its SAP and non-SAP applications.

For example, by using IBM FlashSystem technology in conjunction with IBM EasyTier, the company was able to substantially optimize a complex billing system based on SAP Revenue Management and Contract Accounting (SAP RM-CA) software.

For one of its customers, SSB reduced the runtime of crucial commission calculations processes for its sales function in SAP ERP from five hours to just 40 minutes, a time saving of more than 86 percent.

This improvement enables the customer to analyze commission figures faster and allows for quicker payouts. SSB has also been able to boost performance for other processes in its SAP ERP HCM application. To determine monthly payments, SSB uses sophisticated algorithms to analyse the data from SAP ERP HCM and compile a billing report.

Roland Wagner says, “In the past, one run of the payroll processing task took more than six hours. Moving to the new servers with IBM POWER7 processors has reduced the runtime to 2.5 hours, a saving of almost 60 percent.

“Deploying IBM FlashSystem then slashed the runtime to only six minutes, an additional saving of 96 percent. It is vital for the company to pay employees on time, and with the new IBM solution, our HR department has gained completely new opportunities to work better with data and manage staff more effectively.”

IBM SAN Volume Controller allows SSB to boost system uptime considerably, and run maintenance tasks like firmware updates without disrupting users. The solution’s resilience has already been proven: when one storage virtualization node needed a restart, SSB was able to perform the operation without any impact to overall storage availability.

The move to IBM FlashSystem storage has enabled SSB to keep storage costs competitive without compromising on performance. Thanks to its combined virtualization and flash storage strategy, SSB has managed to keep storage costs near constant, while still investing the latest technology.

Roland Wagner says, “We estimate that the IBM storage solutions will deliver a full return on investment within five years. With IBM FlashSystem, we have been able to keep our mid-range storage capacity in line with actual demands, which helps us to use the capacity efficiently and keep tight control of our costs.

“In fact, we calculate that the solution’s total cost of ownership is about 50 percent less than that of our previous solution. This allows us to run a leaner IT operation, and pass those savings on to our clients, keeping our managed services competitive.”

Performance improvements
To improve the user experience and reduce waiting times for website visitors, SSB migrated its website from a Windows server to an IBM AIX system on IBM Power Systems servers, accelerating response times. Previously, the average response time was approximately 560 milliseconds (ms); with IBM AIX, the response time decreased to just 75 ms – an improvement of 87 percent.

SSB has also seen impressive performance improvements in its IBM Tivoli Storage Manager solution. With the company’s old storage solutions, the best-practice procedure to correct errors in the database would need 48 hours to complete.

Roland Wagner explains, “A downtime of two days was simply not acceptable for us. After we moved the Tivoli Storage Manager database onto the IBM FlashSystem, it took less than eight hours to run the error correction process, a time-saving of more than 83 percent. As this is an emergency procedure, the improvement converts a mission-critical downtime into a bearable delay.”

Keeping systems up to date by installing security patches and enhancement packages is important to ensure reliable operations. For example, using IBM FlashSystem on one customer system, SSB was able to reduce the time taken to install SAP enhancement packages from around 23 hours to 10 hours, a reduction of more than 55 percent.

Next steps
To keep up with continuous expansion in its storage environment, SSB is extending its licensing agreement for IBM SAN Volume Controller to cover total data volumes of 300 TB. The company purchased two IBM Storwize® V3700 storage systems to provide additional storage capacity and replace the existing EMC devices. SSB also has plans to roll out a comprehensive IBM Content Manager solution, featuring IBM DB2® databases.

Roland Wagner remarks, “Over the years, our collaboration with IBM and IBM Business Partners has been very productive. Working closely together, we have continuously improved our IT infrastructure, and with the IBM storage solution we have maintained our high storage performance during a period of strong growth.

“We optimized business processes with the help of IBM FlashSystem; based on data made more rapidly available, our HR department can now work much more efficiently, because the processing tasks in SAP ERP HCM have been accelerated by more than 98 percent. For example, we have been able to reduce the time required for the important commission calculations for one customer by more than 86 percent, enabling faster payouts.

Alexander Müller, Pavel Fryè and Frank Fegert from SSB’S IT department continue to develop and fine-tune the solution, searching for ways to further improve customer service and identify efficiencies.

Roland Wagner concludes, “As a managed services provider we need compelling, competitive offerings to stay ahead of the market, and are always looking for ways to improve our service and keep costs low for our clients. IBM technology allows us to work very efficiently and strengthen our competitive advantage. We look forward to maintaining this strategy of improvement and innovation together with IBM.”

Products and services used

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

Hardware:
Power 550 Express, Power 730 Express, Power 770, Power Systems, Power Systems running AIX 6, Storage, Storage: DS5100, Storage: IBM FlashSystem 810, Storage: TS3500 Tape Library, System Networking: SAN384B

Software:
General Parallel File System for AIX, General Parallel File System, InfoSphere Optim System Analyzer for SAP Applications, AIX, PowerVM Enterprise (VIOS), PowerHA, PowerVM, System Storage SAN Volume Controller, Tivoli Storage Manager

Operating system:
AIX

Service:
IBM-SAP Alliance

Legal Information

©Copyright IBM Corporation 2013. IBM Deutschland GmbH. IBM-Allee 1. 71139 Ehningen. Deutschland. Produced in Germany. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, AIX, DB2, Easy Tier, FlashSystem, GPFS, InfoSphere, POWER6, POWER6+, POWER7, Power, Power Architecture, PowerHA, PowerVM, Power Systems, Storwize, System Storage, Tivoli and Variable Stripe RAID 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 http://www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT, and the Windows logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. IBM and PROFI Engineering Systems are separate companies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor PROFI Engineering Systems makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products. 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. Statements regarding IBM’s future direction and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice, and represent goals and objectives only. Actual available storage capacity may be reported for both uncompressed and compressed data and will vary and may be less than stated.