Dell moved one of its critical supply chains from a legacy UNIX system to industry-standard technology and Oracle Database 10g to gain a dramatic boost in performance while cutting $5 million from IT costs.
How Dell Does IT When the computer company moved one of its critical supply chains from a legacy UNIX system to industry-standard technology and Oracle Database 10g, it boosted performance and cut $5 million out of IT costs. A t Dell, fast, flexible, and lean supply chains operational, we don’t build and ship products. lie at the heart of the business. Indeed, If we don’t do that, we don’t book revenue— Dell’s supply chain capabilities are a key which makes these systems mission-critical,” The right IT platform competitive differentiator for the company—one says Duane Miller, senior manager of Worldwide helps Dell manufacturing that enables Dell to deliver built-to-order comput- Procurement IT at Dell. facilities like the one ers to customers quickly and cost-effectively. And Not long ago, however, Dell’s IT professionalsabove stay up and running that means that when it comes to the information saw potential problems looming on the horizon. and turning out some systems that support that supply chain, there The database that was the foundation of its supply 100,000 systems a day. is little room for error. “If these systems are not chain applications was running on a legacy UNIX
system—and with the ongoing success operational, because the problem is chain database platform—and man- of Dell products and the resulting IT stopping manufacturing at one of our agers wanted to do so quickly, before workloads, that system was reaching domestic or international facilities.” the coming holiday season, when the the limits of its capacity. What’s more, the IT group could company’s sales tend to spike. “We were starting to get ‘Sev 1’ calls see that things weren’t going to be regularly,” says Miller. Such calls, he getting any easier. The demand for Saying good-bye to UNIX explains, occur when an outage in the Dell’s products was increasing, and Dell’s challenge was hardly unique: supply chain management system forecasts called for higher production Running out of headroom on a large interrupts production. “They are the volumes in the near future. In addition, legacy server is a familiar problem for highest level of severity in terms of the company was bringing on new IT professionals in many organizations. problem calls, based on the degree of factories the system had to support. Traditionally, the solution has been to impact to the business. With those calls, To handle these growing workloads, add another legacy server, in essence it’s all hands on deck, and we drop the IT department clearly needed to implementing a relatively large amount everything and get them back up and increase the capacity of its supply of capacity in one pass—and then hope the new server will meet the company’s needs for several more years. But Dell IT leadership took a look at advancing technology and decided there was a better way. “We saw that there was an oppor- tunity to move the database from the expensive UNIX environment to a more cost-effective standards-based envi- ronment that could provide the high levels of performance we needed,” Dell on Dell at a Glance says Miller. The platform Dell selected: groups of Dell™ PowerEdge™ servers Business system running Oracle® Database 10g with Database supporting a supply chain involving: Oracle Real Application Clusters, and • More than 10 manufacturing plants worldwide drawing on Dell/EMC storage devices. • 1 million part numbers The platform uses the Linux® operating • 3 million inventory movements per day system, reflecting a growing trend in • More than 2 million bills of materials per year the Oracle community: According to • 1.8 million purchase order lines per year an Independent Oracle Users Group member survey in early 2006, Linux will Old environment overtake Sun’s UNIX-based Solaris as Sun® UNIX server the top operating system for Oracle database deployments in 2007. New environment The demands on the Dell and Oracle • Dell PowerEdge servers platform were clearly going to be signif- • Oracle Database 10g with Oracle Real Application Clusters icant. The database has to support a • Dell/EMC storage devices range of vital supply chain processes, including configuration management, Benefits procurement, material-cost manage- • More than $5 million in IT savings ment, inventory, and accounts payable. • 90 percent reduction in the number of product units not manufactured In terms of workloads, that means han- due to system outages dling the volumes of information needed • 40 to 50 percent shorter financial closings to manage 1 million Dell part numbers • Increased IT flexibility and scalability across nearly 200 product families. It • Reliable, cost-effective support for critical supply chain also means tracking nearly 3 million inventory movements a day, more thanS2
“The availability of our supply chain systems is paramountto keeping our factories running. . . . any downtime costs usthousands of dollars per minute.” —Curt Johnson, director of Worldwide Procurement IT, Dell2 million bills of materials a year, and And new nodes can be easily added tonearly 1.8 million purchase order lines the cluster to increase capacity.per year—and doing so with high levels In recent years, Dell and Oracle haveof reliability and speed. “The availability tested and validated a variety of configu-of our supply chain systems is paramount rations using Dell PowerEdge serversto keeping our factories running,” says and Oracle software, including suchCurt Johnson, director of Worldwide Pro- clustered systems. As a result, Dell’s ITcurement IT at Dell. “And because we’re group has been able to take advantagebuilding more than 100,000 systems each of the strengths of both companies’ tech-day, any downtime costs us thousands nologies. In terms of performance, forof dollars per minute.” example, using Oracle Database 10g, Not surprisingly, Dell’s IT group put Dell servers lead other vendors’ serversthe platform through an extensive and in the 300GB clustered TPC-H price/rigorous evaluation. “Given the high performance results. The PowerEdge Better performance, lower coststakes involved, the choice was certainly servers also include Dell OpenManage™ In operation, the Dell and Oracle plat-not a matter of simply choosing the com- tools, which offer integrated deployment, form has proven to be highly effective.pany’s own servers,” says Miller. “We monitoring, and change-management “The reliability and stability has just beenbuilt an environment where we could capabilities for updating server software, phenomenal,” says Miller. For example,simulate a full online set of users, as well operating systems, databases, and appli- Dell tracks the number of product unitsas the batch processing we use to inter- cations, all from a single console. that are not manufactured due to systemface this data with numerous other appli- Dell’s IT group has also drawn on outages—and that figure has beencations.” The group also put the system Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g Grid reduced by more than 90 percent. Atto the test in the real world, implementing Control tools to streamline the monitoring the same time, he adds, “we’ve seenand evaluating it in its Malaysian opera- and management of its databases. “Grid tremendous performance improvements.tions before rolling it out globally. Control lets us manage the clustered The new environment can process sig- The system passed these various database on multiple servers through nificantly more data than before.”tests, and today Dell’s supply chain one central location,” says Ravee Avutu, That improvement is especiallydatabase is run on clusters of up to six senior manager of Database Manage- evident during weekly, end-of-quarter,Dell PowerEdge servers, depending ment Services at Dell. “This has helped and end-of-month financial processingon the region being supported, with us improve reliability and reduce man- times, which have been cut by an esti-mirrored disaster recovery systems at agement costs.” mated 40 to 50 percent—or more. Basicremote sites. That means that Dell has With the new system, Dell IT is now month-end batch jobs that used to takeredundancy at both the backup and supporting supply chain operations at eight hours now take two to three hours.cluster levels. If a server node goes more than 10 plants around the world, In more complex cases, there can bedown, its workload can be picked up as well as several merging centers in the some 40 steps involved in closing theinstantly by another node in the cluster. U.S., where products such as computers, books and calculating cost, a processAdditionally, individual nodes can be printers, and flat panels are consolidated that used to take 13 hours or more tobrought down one at a time for mainte- into orders for more efficient shipping. complete. Those closings are now com-nance without affecting the operation Within months, Dell plans to have all of its pleted in six hours or less. Such reduc-of the overall system—as opposed to regions using Dell and Oracle Database tions have been key, because duringhaving to take the entire UNIX server 10g, giving the company a powerful, con- these closing processes, the supplydown when maintenance was required. sistent platform worldwide. chain system is shut down—and so is S3
Storage For more info on Storage Solutions, visit: http://del.ly/storage Visit our other communitiesfacebook.com/dellenterprise linkedin/com/groups/dell-enterprise Blogtwitter.com/dellenterprise en.community.dell.com Dellenterpriseeﬃciency.com TC delltechcenter.comyoutube.com/delllargeenterprise slideshare.com/dellenterprise