Revolutionizing analytics with IBM DB2 for SAP

by Sajan Kuttappa, Content Marketing Manager

In-memory computing has gained a lot of traction as a great option to address the demands of use cases like real-time analytics. According to estimates, close to 75% of the use cases for in-memory computing are for real-time analytics.

I want to share this example where Knorr-Bremse – a leading manufacturer of braking systems for rail and commercial vehicles, adopted in-memory technology to scale seamlessly. As Knorr-Bremse continued to grow its global presence through acquisitions and joint-ventures and expanded its product portfolio for the automotive industry, it realized that speed was of the essence in integrating the acquired entities into existing business structures. The large increase in data volumes was impacting analytics capabilities and system throughput, while infrastructure costs were seeing an upward trend. To achieve productivity improvements, the company had to dramatically increase the ability to quickly deliver performance reports. Standardization of processes across the group without slowing down decision-making was also a critical consideration.

Knorr-Bremse chose IBM DB2 with BLU Acceleration to address its need for faster analytics. The company started using BLU Acceleration without changing or expanding its existing IT infrastructure or system administration workflows. By implementing new data compression features available in DB2 BLU Acceleration, Knorr-Bremse cut data volumes of already compressed data by up to 64 percent across all SAP Business Warehouse solutions thereby reducing storage costs. By activating BLU Acceleration, the company reduced the size of its largest analytics databases by a further 10 percent.   Certain reports took 160 seconds to generate in the past, but with IBM DB2 with BLU Acceleration the information is available in 9 seconds (17 times faster). Some of the other key business benefits include 55 times faster insights that enable real-time response to changing markets and 2.4 times quicker analytics in SAP Strategic Enterprise Management

IBM DB2 has a vibrant community of SAP users that span different industries, small, medium and large businesses and government agencies. With IBM DB2 for SAP environments, IBM is in a unique position to offer enterprise clients proven, scalable, high-throughput, highly available database software that supports a broad range of platforms, operating environments and SAP workload types. With the release of DB2 11.1, IBM has added several enhancements to the BLU Acceleration technology that includes the introduction of Massively Parallel Processing scale to BLU.

The annual SAPPHIRE NOW conference will be held in Orlando, Florida from May 16-18 2017. Visit IBM by stopping by booth #400 to see how we are helping clients like Knorr-Bremse solve business and technology challenges while transforming their companies. Don’t forget to explore the IBM sessions at SAPPHIRE NOW here

DB2 for SAP – Poised for growth

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Like most organizations, your company is pressing ahead to close out projects and prepare new ones for the coming year. Inevitably, these annual evaluations and reviews call into question the preservation of your existing IT investment while exploiting new areas for growth. Some vendors strongly encourage vertically integrated solutions with a promise of seamless operation, but reality dictates a closer look at technology choices.

If you’re currently running an SAP environment with DB2 for Linux, UNIX and Windows software, there are quite a few options available to help you leverage existing DB2 infrastructure and be well positioned for new projects. You are cordially invited to attend a half-day seminar to learn key DB2 insights and considerations for SAP environments.

Our IBM SAP experts will:

  • Outline issues and factors affecting database use with SAP
  • Go over key considerations on selecting solutions
  • Provide a DB2 for Linux, UNIX and Windows Roadmap
  • Showcase breakthrough in-memory technologies
  • Illustrate how your continued use of DB2 for Linux, UNIX and Windows in SAP environment is not just safe but the optimal one for growth

The seminars will be held at 2 cities in North America. Please find below details and register for the one nearest to your city

  1. Cincinnati   – Monday, December 12th, 2016 from 9:30 AM –2:30 PM EST

http://ibm.biz/BdsqQv

     2. New York City –  Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 from 9.30 AM – 2.30 PM EST

 http://bit.ly/2fRPn1B

After all, wouldn’t you want to know how to make existing investment work smarter without the risks of rip and replace?

 

 

 

IBM Insight 2015 – A guide to the DB2 sessions

sajan

By   Sajan Kuttappa,  Marketing Manager, Analytics Platform Services

In just a few weeks from now, thousands of people will converge in Las Vegas for the much talked about IBM Insight 2015 conference at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas.

If you are a DB2 professional, an information architect or a database professional interested in knowing about the latest in in-memory technology, DB2 for SAP workloads and database Administration tools, there is an excellent lineup of sessions by subject matter experts that has been planned for you at the Insight conference. This article will highlight the topics that will be covered so that you can create your agenda in advance

IBM DB2 continues to be the best database option for SAP environments. Experts will share DB2 BLU Best Practices for SAP systems and the latest features of DB2 that enable in-memory, high-availability and scalability for SAP. For those interested in new deployment options like Cloud, we recommend sessions covering IBM’s portfolio of Cloud solutions for SAP on DB2 customers. The Hands-on-Labs at the conference will showcase how to best leverage DB2 BLU for SAP Business Warehouse.

Don’t miss the many client stories about how they benefited from DB2’s in memory technology (BLU Acceleration) to enable speed-of-thought analytics for their business users, share their lessons learned on and best practices, and talk about enhancements and tips for DB2 LUW and DB2 BLU. If you are planning for increased workloads, look out for the session on scaling up BLU acceleration in a high concurrency environment.
Learn more about upgrading to the Data Server Manager for DB2 and simplify database administration, optimize performance with expert advice & reduce costs across the enterprise.  Apart from this you can hear how our clients achieved cost savings and reduced time-to-market by migrating to DB2 LUW. Also on the menu is a Database Administration Crash course for DB2 LUW that will be conducted by top IBM champions in the field.

There is a lot that will be take place in Las Vegas. A week of high-quality educational sessions, hands-on-labs and panel discussions awaits you so attendees can walk away with better insights into how DB2 integrates into big data analysis and how it delivers in the cloud and more. We look forward to meeting you in Las Vegas for Insight 2015; and whatever happens in Vegas (at Insight) should definitely not stay in Vegas!!!

A list of all the sessions can be found at the below links

DB2 for SAP:   http://bit.ly/db2sapatinsight
Core DB2 for the enterprise: http://bit.ly/db2coreatinsight
DB2 with BLU Acceleration: http://bit.ly/db2bluatinsight
DB2 LUW tools / Administration: http://bit.ly/db2toolsatinsight

So start planning your agenda for Insight 2015 .

Follow us on Twitter (@IBM_DB2 ), Facebook (IBM DB2) for regular updates around the conference and key sessions.

Balluff loves BLU Acceleration too

cassieBy Cassandra Desens
IBM Software Group, Information Management  

BLU Acceleration is a pretty darn exciting advancement in database technology. As a marketing professional, I can tell you why it’s cool..
BLU provides instant insight from real-time operation data,
BLU provides breakthrough performance without the constraints of other in-memory solutions,
BLU provides simplicity with a load-and-go setup,
etcetera, etcetera ..you get the point.

You can read our brochures and watch our videos to hear how DB2 with BLU Acceleration will transform your business. We think it’s the next best thing since sliced bread because we invented it. But is it all it’s cracked up to be? The answer is YES.

Clients all over the world are sharing how BLU Acceleration made a huge, positive difference to their business. Hearing customer stories puts our product claims into perspective. Success stories give us the ultimate answer to the elusive question “How does this relate to me and my business?”. Which is why I want to share with you one of our most recent stories: Balluff.

Balluff is a worldwide company with headquarters in Germany. They have over 50 years of sensor experience and are considered a world leader and one of the most efficient manufacturers of sensor technology.  Balluff relies on SAP solutions to manage their business, including SAP Business Warehouse for their data analysis and reporting.

Over the last few years Balluff experienced significant growth, which resulted in slowed data delivery. As Bernhard Herzog, Team Manager Information Technology SAP at Balluff put it “Without timely, accurate information we risked making poor investment decisions, and were unable to deliver the best possible service to our customers.”

The company sought a solution that would transform the speed and reliability of their information management system. They chose DB2 with BLU Acceleration to accelerate access to their enormous amount of data. With BLU Acceleration Balluff achieved:

  • Reduced reporting time for individual reports by up to 98%
  • Reduced backup data volumes by 30%
  • Batch mode data processing improvements by 25%
  • A swift transition with no customization needed; Balluff transferred 1.5 terabytes of data within 17 hours with no downtime

These improvements have a direct impact on their business. As Bernhard Herzog put it, “Today, sales staff have immediate access to real-time information about customer turnover and other important indicators. With faster access to key business data, sales managers at Balluff can gain a better overview, sales reps can improve customer service and the company can increase sales”.

Impressive, right? While you could argue it’s no sliced bread, it certainly is a technology that is revolutionizing reporting and analytics, and worth try. Click here for more information about DB2 with BLU Acceleration and to take it for a test drive.

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For the full success story, click here to read the Balluff IBM Case Study
You can also click here to read Balluff’s success as told by ComputerWoche (Computer World Germany). Open in Google Chrome for a translation option.

pureScale at the Beach. – What’s New in the DB2 “Cancun Release”

KellySchlamb Kelly Schlamb
DB2 pureScale and PureData Systems Specialist, IBM

cancun_beachToday, I’m thinking about the beach. We’re heading into the last long weekend of the summer, the weather is supposed to be nice, and later today I’ll be going up to the lake with my family. But that’s not really why the beach is on my mind. Today, the DB2 “Cancun Release” was announced and made available, and as somebody that works extensively with DB2 and pureScale, it’s a pretty exciting day.

I can guarantee you that you that over the next little while, you’re going to be hearing a lot about the various new features and capabilities in the “Cancun Release” (also referred to as Cancun Release 10.5.0.4 or DB2 10.5 FP4). For instance, the new Shadow Tables feature — which exploits DB2 BLU Acceleration — allows for real-time analytics processing and reporting on your transactional database system. Game changing stuff. However, I’m going to leave those discussions up to others or for another time and today I’m going to focus on what’s new for pureScale.

As with any major new release, some things are flashy and exciting, while other things don’t have that same flash but make a real difference in the every day life of a DBA. Examples of the latter in Cancun include the ability to perform online table reorgs and incremental backups (along with support for DB2 Merge Backup) in a pureScale environment, additional Optim Performance Manager (OPM) monitoring metrics and alerts around the use of HADR with pureScale, and being able to take GPFS snapshot backups. All of this leads to improved administration and availability.

There’s a large DB2 pureScale community out there and over the last few years we’ve received a lot of great feedback on the up and running experience. Based on this, various enhancements have been made to provide faster time to value, with the improved ease of use and serviceability of installation, configuration, and updates. This includes improved installation documentation, enhanced prerequisite checking, beefing up some of the more common error and warning messages, improved usability for online fix pack updates, and the ability to perform version upgrades of DB2 members and CFs in parallel.

In my opinion, the biggest news (and yes, the flashiest stuff) is the addition of new deployment options for pureScale. Previously, the implementation of a DB2 pureScale cluster required specialized network adapters — RDMA-capable InfiniBand or RoCE (RDMA over Converged Ethernet) adapter cards. RDMA stands for Remote Direct Memory Access and it allows for direct memory access from one computer into that of another without involving either one’s kernel, so there’s no interrupt handling and no context-switching that takes place as part of sending a message via RDMA (unlike with TCP/IP-based communication). This allows for very high-throughput, low-latency message passing, which DB2 pureScale uniquely exploits for very fast performance and scalability. Great upside, but a downside is the requirement on these adapters and an environment that supports them.

Starting in the DB2 Cancun Release, a regular, commodity TCP/IP-based interconnect can be used instead (often referred to as using “TCP/IP sockets”). What this gives you is an environment that has all of the high availability aspects of an RDMA-based pureScale cluster, but it isn’t necessarily going to perform or scale as well as an RDMA-based cluster will. However, this is going to be perfectly fine for many scenarios. Think about your daily drive to work. While you’d like to have a fast sports car for the drive in, it isn’t necessary for that particular need (maybe that’s a bad example — I’m still trying to convince my wife of that one). With pureScale, there are cases where availability is the predominant motivator for using it and there might not be a need to drive through massive amounts of transactions per second or scale up to tens of nodes. Your performance and scalability needs will dictate whether RDMA is required or not for your environment. By the way, you might see this feature referred to as pureScale “lite”. I’m still slowly warming up to that term, but the important thing is people know that “lite” doesn’t imply lower levels of availability.

With the ability to do this TCP/IP sockets-based communication between nodes, it also opens up more virtualization options. For example DB2 pureScale can be implemented using TCP/IP sockets in both VMware (Linux) and KVM (Linux) on Intel, as well as in AIX LPARs on Power boxes. These virtualized environments provide a lower cost of entry and are perfect for development, production environments with moderate workloads, QA, or just getting yourself some hands-on experience with pureScale.

It’s also worth pointing out that DB2 pureScale now supports and is optimized for IBM’s new POWER8 platform.

Having all of these new deployment options changes the economics of continuous availability, allowing broad infrastructure choices at every price point.

One thing that all of this should show you is the continued focus and investment in the DB2 pureScale technology by IBM research and development. With all of the press and fanfare around BLU, people often ask me if this is at the expense of IBM’s other technologies such as pureScale. You can see that this is definitely not the case. In fact, if you happen to be at Insight 2014 (formerly known as IOD) in Las Vegas in October, or at IDUG EMEA in Prague in November, I’ll be giving a presentation on everything new for pureScale in DB2 10.5, up to and including the “Cancun Release”. It’s an impressive amount of features that’s hard to squeeze into an hour. 🙂

For more information on what’s new for pureScale and DB2 in general with this new release, check out the fix pack summary page in the DB2 Information Center.

A Dollar Saved Is Two Dollars Earned. Over A Million Dollars Saved Is?

Radha

Radha Gowda, Technical Marketing, IBM Analytics

A refreshing new feeling because DB2 can offer your business 57% improvement in compression, 60% improvement in processing times, and 30-60% reduction in transaction completion time.

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (CCBCC) was faced with severe business challenges: the rising cost of commodities and sharply higher fuel prices cannot be allowed to impact consumers of its world-famous sodas.  At the time of an SAP software refresh, the CCBCC IT team reviewed the company’s database strategy and discovered that migrating to IBM DB2 offered significant cost savings.  DB2 has delivered total operating cost reductions of more than $1 million over four years. And, DB2 10 has continued to be a compression workhorse, delivering another 20 % improvement in compression rate.

Staying competitive in a tough market

Andrew Juarez, Lead SAP Basis and DBA at CCBCC, notes:   “We happen to be in a market where we are considered an expendable item. In other words, it is not something that is mandatory. So we cannot push the price off to our customers to offset any losses that we may have, which means that we need to be very competitive on how we price our product.

Making the move to IBM DB2

Tom DeJuneas, IT Manager at CCBCC, states:   “We did a cost projection, looking at the cost of Oracle licenses and maintenance fees, and calculated that we could produce around $750,000 worth of savings over five years by switching to IBM DB2. We also undertook a proof-of-concept phase, which showed that IBM DB2 was able to offer the same, and potentially more, functionality as an Oracle system.”

Moving from Oracle has brought about a significant change in the IT organization’s strategy, as Andrew Juarez explains:   “When we were on Oracle, our philosophy was that we did not upgrade unless we were doing a major SAP upgrade. If the version was stable, then we stayed on it. Now, with IBM DB2 our strategy has completely changed, because with every new release our performance keeps getting better and better, and the value of the solution continues to grow.

Fast, accurate data

IBM DB2 manages key data from SAP® ERP modules such as financials, warehouse management, materials management and customer data.  Tom DeJuneas states, “Many of our background jobs and online dialog response times have improved considerably. For example, on the first night after we performed the switchover, one of our plant managers reported that jobs that normally took 90 minutes to run were running in just 30 minutes. This was simply by changing the database. So we had a massive performance increase in supply chain batch runs right from the get-go.

Impressive cost savings

IBM DB2 has helped CCBCC to make better use of its existing resources, delaying costly investment in new hardware and freeing up more money for investment in other projects.

Originally, when we did our business case for moving to IBM DB2, it was built around the savings on our Oracle licenses and maintenance, and that was it,” notes Andrew Juarez. “We did not factor in disk savings, so the fact that we are seeing additional savings around storage is icing on the cake. We had originally projected about $750,000 savings over five years and to date we are at four years and have seen a just over a million dollars in savings after migrating to IBM DB2. So we have bettered our original estimate by more than 25 percent.”

Tom DeJuneas concludes, “At CCBCC it is very important for us to stay on the frontline of innovation, and technology like IBM DB2 helps us to do that. Based on our experience, I do not see why anyone running SAP would use anything other than IBM DB2 as its database engine.”

Download CCBCC migrates to IBM DB2, saves more than $1 million for complete details.

For new insights to take your business to the next level and of course, cost savings, we invite you to try the DB2 with BLU Acceleration side of life.

Whatever you do, stay uncompromised!

Radha

Radha Gowda, Technical Marketing, IBM Analytics

That is the new marketing campaign for all new Audi A3 – a luxury without compromise at an affordable price. How does Audi AG accomplish that? By creating super-efficient business processes for a start.

Audi AG, facing growing competition from global auto companies, teamed up with IBM and implemented server virtualization using IBM PowerVM® and migrated over 100 SAP systems from HP-UX with Oracle 10g database to IBM AIX 6.1 with IBM DB2 9.7. With the IBM private cloud ready infrastructure underpinning its SAP systems, Audi now has a robust, flexible, and high-performance platform for managing its business operations. As the company tackles increasing competition, the ability to expand and contract its SAP solutions in line with changing demands will help Audi to ensure that it has the right IT resources in place, at the right cost of ownership.

Need for a more sustainable infrastructure

With over eight production plants across the world and increasing competition, the IT Services Department at Audi needed to help the company address multiple business challenges – increasing demands from employees, customers and suppliers, variable sales volumes, rising cost pressures, and the need for new technologies. They envisioned a flexible virtualized infrastructure that is more flexible and sustainable, and equally important was the availability and performance of over 100 business-critical SAP systems.

“IBM created an environment that enabled us to compare DB2 9.7 with a reorganized Oracle 10g database, both running on IBM Power Systems servers. The results were clear: storage savings in the range of 50 to 70 percent, and much higher performance when using DB2.”
— Markus Wierl,Service Owner of SAP Infrastructure AUDI AG

Cloud for flexibility and speed

Teaming with IBM, Audi implemented server virtualization using IBM PowerVM® and migrated over 100 SAP systems, including more than 30 SAP landscapes and 26 high-availability clusters, from HP-UX with Oracle 10g database to IBM AIX 6.1 with IBM DB2 9.7. The new SAP landscape runs on dual-data-center, symmetrically implemented ‘private cloud ready’ infrastructure, with the infrastructure hosted by Audi and managed by IBM. Virtualization enabled Audi to pack a large number of separate business systems onto a small number of physical servers, pushing up utilization and eliminating costly unused capacity. Rather than having each logical system tied to a particular physical server, and only able to expand through the physical addition of new hardware, Audi can now reallocate resources on the fly from one system to another as required, and respond faster and more cost-effectively to new business requirements.

This really was an impressive accomplishment by the IBM team: migrating more than 100 SAP systems to a completely new operating system and database in six months and with no disruption.” — Markus Wierl

Supporting business excellence

We trust the IBM infrastructure to run our production systems, which are absolutely business-critical,” says Markus Wierl “Any significant unplanned downtime could lead to a stoppage on our production lines. Modern automotive manufacturing is based on just-in-time concepts, and involves a large and complex partner ecosystem. So any minor disruption to production can rapidly turn into a major problem for multiple parties. For this reason, we highly value the robustness and availability of the IBM Power Systems and BladeCenter technology for our SAP solutions.

Download how Audi gears up for continued success with IBM private cloud for complete details.

Migration is a factor in natural selection. Stay uncompromised as you evolve your data management systems.

Follow Radha on Twitter @radgo1