Ageing Infrastructure Compromising SAP Performance
Coca-Cola İçecek’s SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) is used by close to 5,000 CCI staff across nine countries for key business functions such as financial reporting, supply chain management, and human resources. The company had been hosting its SAP ECC platform on data centers run by a provider in Istanbul. But as the business grew, the infrastructure was reaching the limits of its capacity, which was compromising performance of the SAP applications. This hindered productivity, delayed reporting, and slowed delivery of key information to senior managers.
Levent Yildirmak, Technology Manager, Data Center and Cloud at CCI, says, “Not only did we want to boost the performance of our SAP applications for our thousands of users, but we also wanted to run operations more efficiently and look at our costs related to SAP.”
Minimal Disruption & Seamless Integration
Any migration would have to create minimal disruptions for users, and reporting cycles would need to remain unaffected to maintain business continuity. CCI also had to ensure that a new environment would integrate seamlessly with its 400-plus systems across the business—including an in-house data warehouse and transactional systems.
Why Amazon Web Services
Evaluating various on-premises and cloud options, CCI decided to move its mission-critical SAP platform to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud after engaging with AWS Advanced Consulting Partner Lemongrass Consulting. “We were aiming to improve SAP performance, build in more robust disaster recovery, and reduce our storage costs. We selected Lemongrass to help us achieve those goals,” said Levent Yildirmak, Technology Services Manager, Datacenter and Cloud.
Eamonn O’Neill, director of Lemongrass Consulting, talks about the approach selected for CCI: “We started by drawing up a cost model and identifying areas where savings could be made. Storage is the single biggest cost in running SAP, so we showed how we could significantly decrease storage size. We also knew that speed of migration was vital, and with a detailed roadmap we were able to allay any concerns CCI had.”
As a result of the project, CCI went from proof of concept at the end of 2015 to complete migration across nine countries in January 2016.
CCI’s SAP ECC environment runs on a mixture of on-demand and reserved Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. Highly scalable storage is provided by Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and both SSD and magnetic Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volumes are used, depending on workload. It uses multiple Availability Zones across the AWS EU (Frankfurt) region.
Separate production and non-production workloads run in different Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) environments. AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) allows control of user access to AWS resources. The infrastructure is monitored through Amazon CloudWatch, and AWS CloudTrail records changes across services.
O’Neill says, “Through careful planning—especially testing all the necessary integration points—we progressed from initial concept to full deployment in just three months. That’s incredibly fast for an SAP project.”
“We had zero issues during or after the migration,” adds Yildirmak.
CCI rapidly migrated its mission-critical SAP environment with immediate and significant benefits for IT and the business. “By using AWS, we’re saving 50-60 percent on our SAP infrastructure costs,” says Yildirmak. “With the new AWS environment we’re constantly optimizing our architecture, looking at the workloads we’re running, and scheduling capacity only when it’s required.”
For example, when month-end reporting approaches, the automation running on AWS ensures that there are extra resources available to provide more capacity. These resources are then scaled down when they’re no longer required. Similarly, development and test environments don’t need to run in the evenings or on weekends, so they’re switched off during these times.
Yildirmak continues, “The infrastructure is designed to fit the way we work rather than the other way around. As a result, we’re seeing significant savings.” Another cost-related advantage of running SAP in AWS is being able to accurately charge each CCI region for the exact resources it uses. “This wasn’t possible with our previous infrastructure,” says Yildirmak.
End-user experience has also improved across the business. Staff use SAP for financial reporting to generate information that senior managers use to make decisions about the business. Yildirmak talks about the feedback he’s received so far: “Our finance team is generating reports four times faster than before. Whereas with our on-premises environment it used to take one hour to produce a report, it now takes just 15 minutes.” In addition to speeding up the delivery of information to business leaders, it also means other departments can be more productive. HR teams, for example, can now process payroll three times faster.
With the new system, CCI has also been able to reduce its storage requirement. “Through better housekeeping and using snapshots in Amazon EBS, for example, CCI’s storage is now 50 percent more effective, which is creating further savings,” says O’Neill. “Not long after we migrated to AWS, we observed some unusual increases in database load that were newly visible through Amazon CloudWatch,” says Yildirmak. It turned out to be user error that was causing a jump in CPU load from 20 percent to 60 percent. He continues, “Now, the users have been retrained, and we no longer have this issue. With AWS, we can be more agile in our operations—if we identify an inefficient process, we can change it in a couple of clicks.”
Additionally, the system running on AWS provides faster recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO). “Previously,” says Yildirmak, “our RPO was up to one day and our RTO was anything up to three days. Now, we’re looking at 15 minutes for RPO and just three hours for RTO.”