Administering a strong dose of analytics
After evaluating prescribed solutions from several vendors, Daiichi Sankyo Europe decided to stay on IBM® DB2® and to upgrade its SAP Business Warehouse application to the latest version of DB2 running on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Following the software upgrade, the team migrated the entire environment to a faster and more powerful server infrastructure, and activated the adaptive compression and data management features of the DB2 platform for the online transaction processing (OLTP) workload.
Next, the company decided to take advantage of BLU Acceleration® in-memory technology for rapid analytics, and migrated the production, test and development systems for its SAP Business Warehouse application to IBM DB2 with BLU Acceleration.
“We found that DB2 with BLU Acceleration offered a great way to solve our performance woes while keeping operational costs low,” remarks Vyacheslav Klushyn. “Even better, it allowed us to continue using our tried-and-tested IBM DB2 database, which we have relied on to support our mission-critical SAP applications for years.”
The company’s infrastructure is outsourced to a third-party provider, which uses IBM Spectrum Protect™ for backups of Daiichi Sankyo Europe’s data.
Getting reporting back to glowing health
Soon after deploying DB2 with BLU Acceleration, Daiichi Sankyo Europe began to experience impressive improvements.
“When we want to generate a report, we first need to load data from the SAP ERP environment into the SAP Business Warehouse application,” explains Vyacheslav Klushyn. “With DB2 with BLU Acceleration, these data-loads complete 55 percent quicker. The performance boost is also demonstrated by a 340 percent rise in SAPs, and data management runtimes are eight times faster.
“We have also achieved tremendous benefits in our controlling division, which is home to our most complex reports. With DB2 with BLU Acceleration, our controlling department can run complex OLAP queries 5.6 times faster on average. Many report runtimes have been slashed from a minute to just a few seconds, and process chains are completed around 2.2 times faster.
“Our analysts and controlling staff are delighted with the results, because rapid reporting enables them to work much more productively and hit strict, internal deadlines for financial consolidation reports. Thanks to the productivity gains, we have even been able to reallocate some staff members to different divisions, helping us achieve a full ROI on the solution in just nine months.”
The advantages of faster reporting also extend far beyond the finance and controlling departments, having a real impact on operational processes.
“Here at Daiichi Sankyo Europe, we operate two production plants—both of which are connected to our central SAP ERP application,” adds Vyacheslav Klushyn. “It is essential to keep our complicated manufacturing lines running smoothly, and we optimize the mix of medicines to ensure we meet customers’ needs. With the new solution in place, we can generate production plans faster than ever, helping us deliver the right medication on time.
“The new solution has also sparked impressive improvements in our monthly planning processes, which are sophisticated and involve up to 200 people. Thanks to DB2 with BLU Acceleration and the hardware upgrade, during these critical periods we can load up-to-date data into the SAP Business Warehouse application 55 percent faster than before. What’s more, if we need to adjust our production schedules, we can quickly update the parameters and optimize manufacturing activities on-the-fly. Even with hundreds of people accessing the solution at the same time, DB2 with BLU Acceleration remains fast and reliable.”
Even after moving to the more powerful DB2 with BLU Acceleration platform and investing in new hardware, Daiichi Sankyo Europe has incurred only a tiny increase in the fees it pays to its infrastructure hosting provider. That has been achieved largely using compression.
“Thanks to the compression capabilities in DB2, we have shrunk our database by more than 78 percent,” comments Vyacheslav Klushyn. “As a result, we can shift our IT budget from storage to processing power, and incur only a marginal rise in hosting fees. Today, we can use 3.4 times as many processor cores and memory capacity than before, helping us to further accelerate reporting.
“The new hardware boosted the performance of OLAP queries by 50 percent; use of compression and database reorganization accelerated the same queries by another 75 percent, then converting the InfoCube lifted performance by another 40 percent. So in total, our OLAP queries run between five and 15 times faster.
“When we looked for ways to speed up our SAP Business Warehouse application, we found that some vendors’ database technologies require hefty upfront investment in specific hardware that could only be expanded in large increments. With DB2 with BLU Acceleration, we could choose if or when we renew our infrastructure. By minimizing requirements and changes in workflows, we gained a competitive edge. To put it into figures, one in-memory database we looked at would have increased our operating costs by between 40 and 100 percent – with DB2 with BLU Acceleration the rise was just 2 percent.”
In future, the company plans to further shrink the size of its database by taking advantage of the adaptive compression functionality of DB2.
Vyacheslav Klushyn concludes: “IBM DB2 with BLU Acceleration is helping us uncover fresh insight into our business faster than ever before, helping us to make smarter decisions and to provide better service to patients. We are thrilled with the results so far, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds.”