As early as 2014, projects of SAP ERP and SAP BW migration to the HANA platform were considered as projects of the future. Nowadays, the future has become the present and more and more companies are choosing such solutions. The technology that is based on in-memory data processing and increases the performance of systems multiple times is a big benefit for businesses, offering real savings. These criteria were also taken into account by the management of the Colian Group when it decided to migrate their SAP ERP and SAP BW systems to the HANA platform and maintain them on an outsourcing basis at the SNP Data Centers.
SAP HANA – performance as a priority
“Switching to the HANA platform was an important step for us; an efficient and fast system is crucial in such a big company”, says Maciej Barczewski, Head of IT Department at Colian. “Moving the management of data sets from disk space to internal memory has opened up for us new possibilities of data reporting and analyzing. Due to the fact that data are stored only in the server memory, you need servers with a special structure, in particular, a very large amount of memory, to be able to launch this platform. Bearing this in mind, and assuming an increase in data volume in the next several years, we decided to implement the HANA platform. We selected SNP because of its rich experience in providing services related to launching HANA”, continues Maciej Barczewski.
– 20 weeks – a migration project
– Over 90% acceleration of data processing
– 99.5% of system availability at SNP Data Centers
– 500 system users
A guarantee of effectiveness and safety
SNP has been providing SAP environment maintenance and administration services at SNP Data Centers for many years. It has built a professional infrastructure that is developed and modified on an ongoing basis. This fact plus an effective approach to the SAP HANA environment sizing ensure a cost-effective hardware platform. Furthermore, SNP is one of the first companies in the world to have led the projects of migration of SAP Business Suite systems to the HANA platform. It has a team of experienced consultants with certificates proving their competence in all aspects related to the technology and work in the systems based on it. Readiness to offer services related to this platform is confirmed not only by consultants’ certifications, but also the certificates awarded to SNP Data Centers: SAP Certified in HANA Operations Services and SAP Certified in Hosting Services. They assure customers that the SNP outsourcing services, including SAP HANA, meet the high requirements of the manufacturer.
The basic objective of the project was to speed up data processing in the systems. In a dynamic organization where about 500 people work in the SAP system, this is crucial. Reports that were generated even a few hours slowed the work down, decreasing productivity.
Now, we work in a stable environment, and we use the latest versions of the system. We can also freely plan further development of systems.
Maciej Barczewski, Head of IT Department, Colian Group
The scope of the entire project carried out for Colian included transferring virtual machines from the hardware and software platform in use to the SNP Data Center, and upgrading and migrating SAP Systems from the existing databases to the SAP HANA database. The whole work took 20 weeks and was divided into two main stages: migrating the customer’s systems to SNP Data Centers and then upgrading the systems to the HANA platform. Migration to SNP began in September 2016 with development systems and a test system; migration of production systems was carried out two weeks later. The next step was to refresh ERP TST and BW DEV systems, which was made in October. In the following month, BW and ERP development systems were upgraded and migrated to HANA.
After a month of testing and customization, the BW production system was upgraded. In the case of the ERP system, a test system was also upgraded. All the adjustments resulting from the tests of the development system were implemented in this system. From mid-December to mid-January, the test system was tested. All the work in the technical area ended with an upgrade of the ERP production system in mid-January.
Both production migrations (SAP BW and ERP) were carried out without major problems, and the arising difficulties were resolved on an ongoing basis.
All of the customer’s systems: 3 x ERP, 2 x BW and 2 x SAP were migrated. The portal remained on the Sybase database. The Database Migration Option (DMO) considerably shortened the upgrade and migration process – to one weekend in the case of PRD systems, since the migration and upgrade were done in one step.
A new virtual reality
After the migration, SAP ERP and SAP BW environments are maintained and administered on the SAP HANA platform at SNP. To optimally determine the resources needed to maintain them, two values were taken into account: the total amount of disk space for a specified number of virtual servers that make up the SAP environment, and the number of the customer’s end users in the production environment. This is a unique approach in the market due to the fact that there are no limits to the amount of RAM allocated to the servers, the number of virtual processors, the size of the databases, the space for backups, etc. By utilizing resource virtualization possibilities, a much more flexible approach is used, where the hardware resources provided meet the current demand.
The maintenance of SAP systems based on the HANA database requires also an appropriate accompanying infrastructure. The comprehensive solution provided by SNP to Colian consists of:
- SAP HANA database servers,
- SAP ERP application servers,
- storage space that ensures high performance for SAP HANA,
- the Backup & Recovery infrastructure supporting the SAP HANA databases and enabling recovery of the system to any time for a specific number of days,
- the ICT infrastructure providing a redundant internet connection.
All this makes the Colian Group system available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, excluding scheduled maintenance and administration breaks. Its availability reaches 99.5% per month on business days.
Apart from the technical infrastructure, an important aspect of SNP services is the competent staff responsible for maintaining the systems: a large team of SAP BASIS administrators and their availability at fixed times. On business days, SNP administrators are available to Colian from 8.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., and they are on standby 7/24/365.
From the point of view of SAP system end users (there are about 500 of them in Colian) other than administrators, there are not many changes – the same transactions are still available, however their execution time may be considerably shorter (in many cases processing time has decreased by more than 90%), which increases work comfort.
Undoubtedly, the greatest advantage of SAP HANA is the shortening of the execution time of individual operations, especially those that took a lot of time before. The transition to HANA enables also easy migration in the future to the SAP ERP successor – S/4HANA. In addition, the HANA database itself can be used as an environment for the development of custom applications, including those created in the cloud.
We increase our competitiveness
Our ambition is continuous development. We have built a portfolio of recognizable sweets. In recent years, we have increased revenues not only in the Polish market but also abroad. We are making investments to improve the technological processes. We invest in the development and improvement of our corporate infrastructure to enhance our market competitiveness. This must be followed by the latest IT solutions, an efficient, fast running system, which is a basis of our group’s operations. The decision to migrate our SAP systems to the HANA platform and outsource SAP hosting and administration to SNP Data Centers was another step in implementing the company’s strategy.
Marcin Szulawa, Chief Financial Officer, Colian Group
The Colian Group is one of the largest food producers in Poland. It specializes in the production, distribution and sale of high quality food products. The company operates within three business divisions: confectionery, culinary products (spices, dried fruit) and beverages, as well as logistics that supports them. It owns such brands as Goplana, Solidarność, Jutrzenka, Grześki, Familijne, Jeżyki, Akuku!, Appetita, Siesta and Hellena. The Colian Group owns also Elizabeth Shaw — a producer of premium chocolate products based in the UK. For taking over this company, it received the Food Market Award 2016 in the Event on the Food Market category. It was granted for setting the direction of development for Polish companies by acquiring foreign entities in their domestic markets. The storage and distribution of products manufactured in the Group is a responsibility of Colian Logistic. The company has its headquarters in Opatówek near Kalisz. One of its manufacturing facilities is also located there. The other factories are in Bydgoszcz, Lublin, Kalisz and Wykroty. The company’s products are sold in Poland and in more than 60 other countries around the world.