Esri maps out large-scale growth with SAP and IBM


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Headquartered in Redlands, California,
USA, Esri specializes in Geographic
Information Systems (GIS) software.
Esri products are used by more than
350,000 organizations worldwide,
including most U.S. federal agencies
and national mapping agencies, 45 of
the top 50 petroleum companies, all
50 U.S. state health departments, most
forestry companies, and many others in
dozens of industries.

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Esri maps out large-scale growth with SAP and IBM

  1. 1. OverviewEsri maps out large-scalegrowth with SAP and IBM As ESRI added new applications and data volumes grew, system response started to slow down.Headquartered in Redlands, California, Oracle, SAP, SAS and others, providing The existing infrastructure couldUSA, Esri specializes in Geographic integrated mapping and location data not be extended, and Esri tookInformation Systems (GIS) software. services. the opportunity to review its ITEsri products are used by more than strategy.350,000 organizations worldwide, The company relies on SAP softwareincluding most U.S. federal agencies for many of its core business The company migrated its SAPand national mapping agencies, 45 of management processes, such as solutions to IBM Power 750the top 50 petroleum companies, all financials, human resources and servers, and maintained its50 U.S. state health departments, most materials management. As further SAP data on the existing IBM DB2forestry companies, and many others in applications were added and data footprint, with assistance fromdozens of industries. volumes grew, system response started the IBM Migration Factory. Esri to slow down. Batch processes were consolidated from 16 to twoEsri software is used by more than taking longer to complete, and there physical servers, and replaced its24,000 state and local governments, was a danger that these would over-run multiple storage systems with twoincluding Paris, France; Los Angeles, into production time. IBM XIV Storage Systems.California, USA; Beijing, China; andKuwait City, Kuwait. The existing infrastructure was based Esri created a scalable, high- on another vendor’s older technology performance architecture forEsri has ten U.S. offices, 80 distributors that could not be easily extended to more rapid services delivery.worldwide and 2,200 business cope with the increased workload Esri has cut energy costs bypartners. The company employs 2,800 and meet the service level needs of its around 85 percent, while XIVpeople, generating annual revenues customers. automated storage managementof $794 million, posting consistent and provisioning have cutyearly revenue growth. Esri works In common with practice at the administration costs by one full-closely with major technology leaders time, the SAP applications and their time employee equivalent.such as AT&T, Citrix, IBM, Microsoft, corresponding non-productionCase study
  2. 2. environments were each implemented on separate servers. The result was that Esri operated 16 servers and three “We were impressed main storage devices, with a complex, with IBM’s PowerVM tiered storage architecture. Collectively environment whichBusiness Challenge the infrastructure was not keeping pace basically replaces with demand from internal users and our physical systems.Geographic Information Systems from customers placing orders directly We were amazed(GIS) specialist Esri relies on over the internet. Esri spent most of its that, for example, weSAP software for core business time on operations, with little time left could replace all 16management. As new applications for business investment. systems with just twowere added and data volumes grew, physical systems,system response started to slow Ricardo Davis, Systems Administrator and we could rundown. Batch processes were taking at Esri, comments, “We could not these systems in alonger to complete, and there was depend on the system with regards virtual environmenta danger that these would over-run to performance. If a customer clicked that is reliable andinto production time. on a web button to make a purchase, redundant.” and the database was experiencing Ricardo Davis a problem at that particular time, theThe existing infrastructure based on Systems Administrator customer would see an ‘unknownanother vendor’s older technology Esri error’ message, and we would lose thecould not be extended. With 16 sale. Our only feedback would be fromseparate servers to manage and a complaints to the webmaster.”series of data storage devices to take three or four seconds, and usersmaintain, system maintenance was a To attempt to cure some of the issues, experienced intermittent applicationconstant challenge. Esri rebooted its core servers every hangs. six to eight weeks, incurring 15 to 20 minutes of downtime. Gradually, the Selecting IBM for efficiency benefits of the reboot would fade and Esri arranged for several vendors service delivery to end users would to propose solutions, including the drop. incumbent. While other vendors suggested the same basic scale- Users began to complain that their out, physical architecture albeit with reports were not running successfully. newer technology, the IBM team, Moving from one tab to another within working with IBM Premier Business an SAP application window might Partner thinkASG, proposed advanced 2
  3. 3. that actually runs in the hardware itself. And that’s it. We were amazed that,“In the old storage for example, we could replace all 16 array technology systems with just two physical systems, we were required to and we could run these systems in a spread our database virtual environment that is reliable and Solution over multiple spindles redundant.” to achieve sufficient To create the kind of flexible, high- performance. The XIV “As far as the storage was concerned, performance solution that would manages the data we ran about 8 or 10 disk trays. In our serve Esri’s existing needs and layout across multiple production system we have to lay the support future needs, the company drives automatically, data out in such a way that we get the migrated its SAP solutions to IBM and delivers great best performance. It takes time to do Power 750 servers, maintained performance.” that on a standard storage array. its data on the existing IBM DB2 Paul Blatchley software, and consolidated its data “With XIV storage array all that work SAP Manager storage to IBM XIV Storage Systems. went away. All the work going into Esri carving up disks, creating volumes, we By enabling IBM DB2 compression, didn’t have to go through any more with core production database volumes the XIV.” were reduced by 40 percent, onlinePowerVM virtualization capabilities backup time was cut by 30 percent,to transform the Esri infrastructure. Migrating to POWER7 for and offline backup time was cut byThe Power Systems solution, based performance 79 percent.on IBM Power 750 servers with Esri migrated its SAP applications toPOWER7 processors running IBM the IBM AIX environment on the Power In the process, Esri reduced itsAIX and PowerVM virtualization 750 platform, and both applications and server footprint from 16 to twotechnology, combined with IBM XIV data were moved to the XIV platform. In physical servers, using PowerVMStorage System, offered Esri a smarter the process, Esri maintained IBM DB2 virtualization to provide independentapproach enabling improved business as its database software for its SAP virtual servers for its SAPperformance. applications, enabling them to take full applications. advantage of the IBM technology andRicardo Davis says, “We were software stack.impressed with IBM’s PowerVMenvironment which basically replaces During the migration Esri tookour physical systems. With the advantage of DB2 compressionPowerVM you have a virtual system features to reduce its data volumes. The 3
  4. 4. production database of 750 GB was cut to 450 GB, a 40 percent saving. With reduced data volumes and other “The Migration Factory technical enhancements, online back was great. They has reduced from 18 hours to 12 hours, essentially were onKey Solution Components a 30 percent improvement. Offline top of everything they backup has been cut from four hours to were going to do, andIndustry 50 minutes, a 79 percent improvement. they explained all ofSoftware what they were going The company operates two data to do, and I foundApplications centers, each with one Power 750 and them to be verySAP® ERP including financials, SAP XIV device. Using PowerVM, the servers professional and veryeRecruiting, part of SAP ERP Human support multiple logical partitions knowledgeable.”Capital Management (LPARs), running each SAP application Paul Blatchley in its own separate virtual server. SAP ManagerHardware PowerVM enables Esri to allocate EsriIBM Power® 750 servers, IBM XIV® processor capacity, memory andStorage System bandwidth resources dynamically to the servers, to ensure that the applicationsSoftware always have sufficient resources to automatically adjusts according toIBM DB2 version 9.7 deliver fast response and meet service requirements, further reducing the need level objectives. This arrangement for manual monitoring and intervention.Services is considerably more efficient thanIBM Premier Business Partner running physical servers, as capacity Choosing the IBM MigrationthinkASG, IBM Migration Factory can be allocated according to demand Factory and released to the pool when available. Esri runs a lean IT department, focused on providing operational value to the Each of the two XIV devices provides business. A significant application 27 TB of storage, expandable to 79 and data migration project would be TB. The XIV storage architecture and beyond the team’s resources, and the automated self-management removes company invited systems integrators the need for manual storage tiering and and business partners to present their storage allocation. The XIV includes a proposals. technique known as ‘thin provisioning,’ which enables the Esri team to set up Reviewing presentations with thinkASG, a storage volume, which the XIV then Esri selected the IBM Migration Factory 4
  5. 5. “The IBM Migration Factory provided an excellent service and outstanding“The IBM platform is support for the migration.” an excellent hardware platform to run SAP The core SAP application landscape on. It is very reliable. contains around 600 GB of production Business Benefits A migration to the data, replicated for test and IBM hardware is development purposes. Esri also uses • Esri’s new scalable, high- an easy process, SAP eRecruiting, which adds a further performance architecture enables made so by the IBM 80 GB. The production system was it to deliver business services faster Migration Factory migrated to the Power 750 and XIV and improves its IT economics, and the work that infrastructure in 10 hours. supporting investment in the they do.” business through cost savings. Paul Blatchley, SAP Manager, adds, Paul Blatchley “The Migration Factory was great. They SAP Manager • The new solution occupies a essentially were on top of everything Esri smaller physical footprint, and with they were going to do, and they reduced software licenses (based explained all of what they were going on the reduced number of servers), to do, and I found them to be very Esri has a much lower total cost ofservice, as Ricardo Davis explains: “You professional and very knowledgeable. ownership.take a deep breath when you know They were familiar with the IBMyou have to migrate because in a big equipment that we were moving to, the • XIV automated storagemove like that it is important to mitigate storage system we were moving to, management and provisioning havethe risks that are involved. How are we they were familiar with SAP and how it cut administration costs by onegoing to do this? What are the risks that functioned, and they led us through that full-time employee equivalent.are out there that we don’t see right process without an issue.”now? That’s the first thing that comes • Projected energy use by the newto mind. Gaining the business benefits IBM server hardware is 89,702 The new IBM infrastructure has kWh/year, a saving of 33,726 kWh/“My concerns were alleviated when we transformed system response through year, some 27 percent.had our kick-off meeting with the IBM rapid service delivery and eliminatedMigration Factory. I was impressed by the frustrations of its staff andhow they had things planned from the customers. The Power solution alsovery beginning. There was no hesitation has embedded scalability in the systemon their part, which gave me a sense of architecture supporting new businessconfidence. investment for Esri. 5
  6. 6. Ricardo Davis comments, “With systems and two storage arrays. Now,our data on the old storage array, basically, that says it right there. As farin DB2 we were averaging around as electricity is concerned, we do not IBM Deutschland GmbH D-70548 Stuttgart11-15 milliseconds response time have to power 16 systems. We’re just asynchronous I/O reads. With powering two systems, two storage IBM, the IBM logo, and are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation,our data on the XIV, the DB2 arrays, not to mention the storage registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of other IBM trademarks is available onaverage asynchronous I/O reads arrays that we had before – we had the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at 3-5 milliseconds, a 66 percent three separate storage systems that Intel, the Intel logo, Intel Xeon and the Intel Xeonimprovement. The average electrical were supporting our old environment, logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the Unitedenergy used by the server hardware so that in itself is a big saving. Having to States and other countries. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the United Statesis 123,428 kWh/year. The projected provide electrical power for 16 systems and other countries. Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, orenergy use by the new IBM server and three storage arrays down to two both. Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT, and thehardware is 89,702 kWh/year, a saving systems and two storage arrays, and Windows logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States, other countries,of 33,726 kWh/year, some 27 percent. of course, not to mention the support or both. costs.” Other company, product or service names may be trademarks, or service marks of others.Paul Blatchley says, “In the old This case study illustrates how one IBM customer uses IBM and/or IBM Business Partnerstorage array technology we were Esri is currently running the Power 750 technologies/services. Many factors haverequired to spread our database over servers with five CPUs, expandable contributed to the results and benefits described. IBM does not guarantee comparable results. Allmultiple spindles to achieve sufficient up to 24 CPUs, and the XIV arrays information contained herein was provided by the featured customer and/or IBM Business Partner.performance. The XIV manages the can grow from 27 to 79 TB. Ricardo IBM does not attest to its accuracy. All customer examples cited represent how some customersdata layout across multiple drives Davis estimates that this headroom have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs andautomatically, and delivers great means that Esri has at least ten years’ performance characteristics will vary dependingperformance.” headroom. on individual customer configurations and conditions. This publication is for general guidance only.Esri formerly allocated time purely to Paul Blatchley comments, “Here at Photographs may show design models. © Copyright IBM Corp. 2011. All rights allocation and management, Esri, we are running SAP to run thewhich is now handled automatically business, something that executivesby the XIV systems, saving the costs at the company do not want to haveof one full-time employee equivalent. to worry about. The company is in theThe team has seen improvements for business of selling its software andbatch processing, too, as Ricardo Davis achieving its mission. So we want SAP © Copyright 2011 SAP AG SAP AGexplains: “One batch job used to take to be running in an environment that is Dietmar-Hopp-Allee 16 D-69190 Walldorf30 minutes, for example, now it is taking reliable so those folks in the company SAP, the SAP logo, SAP and all other SAP products10 minutes, a 66 percent improvement. that never have to concern themselves and services mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany andWe’ve seen others that, it just varies. We with it. In the past, we were regularly several other countries.have seen 10 times the improvement, asked for approval for downtime, andor 50 percent improvement, it just now with the IBM technologies we don’tdepends.” worry about that. The IBM platform is an excellent hardware platform to runEsri has also cut its core operational SAP on. It is very reliable. A migration tocosts, including support, energy and the IBM hardware is an easy process,data room space. Ricardo Davis says, made so by the IBM Migration Factory SPC03376-WWEN-00 (December 2011)“We have gone from 16 systems to two and the work that they do.”