The Missiles and Fire Control business unit of global aerospace manufacturer Lockheed Martin creates specialized products that range from missile defense systems and precision engagement weapons to creating heat rejection panels to protect those living aboard the International Space Station. Missiles and Fire Control has long used SAP software for its enterprise resource planning. Since migrating its SAP infrastructure from a UNIX/Oracle solution to Microsoft® SQL Server® 2005 Enterprise Edition (64-bit), the company reports enhanced performance and reliability, and a lower total cost of ownership including a significant savings in software and maintenance costs. Looking ahead to upgrading to SQL Server 2008, the company’s internal testing has found that the new Row Compression feature reduces database sizes by 37 percent while enhancing performance of some runs by more than 80 percent.
Lockheed Martin is well known as one of the world’s premier aerospace and defense companies. As such, it’s also one of the world’s largest manufacturers, producing a broad range of electronic and integrated systems, aeronautics, and space systems. Its operations are massive, with U.S.$42.7 billion in 2008 sales, produced by more than 146,000 employees in 939 facilities in 457 cities and 45 states throughout the United States, plus another 56 nations and territories.
||The cost savings . . . turned out to be real. Everyone, including our CFO, was pleased with the move from UNIX and Oracle to Windows and SQL Server.
SAP Technical Systems Manager, Lockheed Martin, Missiles and Fire Control
The company’s Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) business unit designs and builds a spectrum of products, including air-to-ground missiles, rockets and missiles, fire control and sensor systems, fire support systems, missile launchers, air & missile defense systems, and unmanned systems. The unit has also made major technological contributions to the International Space Station, a research facility in low earth orbit through the efforts of several countries. Contributions include the vital heat rejection radiator panels used to dissipate unwanted heat from the space station to protect those living aboard.
Lockheed Martin has used SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for nearly a decade to run its manufacturing and enterprise resource operations. The company had become a major customer of SAP, deploying both SAP R/3 and SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence (BI) systems, with multiple production instances deployed across the corporation in the U.S. All of these SAP instances were originally installed on UNIX-based technologies with Oracle as the database.
MFC has one of the largest SAP production instances at Lockheed Martin, with more than 2 terabytes of data (now grown to 3 terabytes) spread across what at the time were R/3 and NetWeaver BI systems. The MFC SAP infrastructure supported 4,700 named users, with more than 1,000 concurrent users. MFC used the entire R/3 suite. In addition, the company uses the SAP discrete industries solution (DIMP) for many customizations unique to its industry.
When deployed several years earlier, MFC had chosen to run its SAP system on Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) platforms running the UNIX operating system and hosting an Oracle database.
“UNIX and Oracle had been a logical choice for us,” says Brent Eckhout, SAP Technical Systems Manager at Lockheed Martin, Missiles and Fire Control. “At the time we felt it was the right platform for price and performance. And we had a history with UNIX and Oracle in our environment.”
But in more recent years, MFC saw its R/3 environment growing at a rate of 33 percent a year. When considering the costs for scaling its UNIX/Oracle solution stack it decided to reconsider its platform choice, though reliability remained a deciding factor for this mission-critical system. As the company considered reliability, it again found reason to consider migrating to a different OS/database stack.
“We wanted maximum reliability,” says Eckhout. “Clustering would have been one way to achieve it, but we had several false starts with UNIX clustering in the SAP environment.”
After consulting with other large manufacturers who had migrated from the UNIX/Oracle stack to the Microsoft Application Platform, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control determined that its best option for supporting future growth—while enhancing reliability and high availability—was to migrate its SAP infrastructure to Microsoft® SQL Server® 2005 Enterprise Edition (64-bit) database software running on the Windows Server® 2003 Enterprise Edition for 64-Bit Systems operating system, hosted on hardware running on Intel® technologies.
Looking for Lower Cost
“Our due diligence showed that other companies that had migrated from UNIX/Oracle to the Microsoft Application Platform found that with proper preparation it was easy to migrate the data, and that afterwards database administrators found it easier to manage the database infrastructure,” says Eckhout. “And we thought the combination of Windows Server and SQL Server on open, standards-based hardware could lead to lower costs. In a highly competitive marketplace, running as lean as possible is extremely important.”
||We have to integrate SAP with our e-mail system, with our word-processing system, and with a range of other systems that are all Microsoft products. This integration improves our use of both SAP and Microsoft products.
Director of IT Infrastructure and operations, Lockheed Martin, Missiles and Fire Control
The company’s due diligence included a proof-of-concept study conducted at the Microsoft Technology Center in Dallas, Texas. The test demonstrated the value of high-availability clustering in SQL Server 2005 and made the MFC team comfortable with a clustered database implementation.
For hardware, MFC chose IBM xSeries® servers based on the 64-bit Intel Xeon® processor, which provides enterprise-class performance and reliability for 32-bit and 64-bit computing. The external storage infrastructure backbone is the IBM System Storage® DS4800 disk subsystem with IBM TotalStorage™ 3584 Tape Library to materially reduce daily back-up time.
A Concern for Support
One concern of the MFC team was whether it would be able to get the support it would need for a solution running on Microsoft and Intel technologies.
“Previously, we went to a single vendor for our hardware, operating system, and related issues,” Eckhout says. “Our major concern with the Windows-based architecture was having multiple vendors and the risk of support issues falling between the gaps.”
Those multiple vendors were Microsoft for the software, IBM for the hardware, SAP for the application software, and another partner for implementation of the migration, with support from Intel. Far from being an actual problem, however, the support situation for the new platform was a big plus, according to Eckhout.
“All of our vendors worked extremely well together to achieve excellent results,” he says. “Companies that we once viewed as vendors, we now view as partners.”
A variety of factors contributed to that coordination and success. Perhaps most important was a detailed project plan that addressed all potential risks in the migration process. For example, the partners recommended a three-week performance testing period, including testing by business users.
Because the SAP graphical user interface doesn’t change in a typical migration, many companies omit user testing. Such testing allowed the partners to check not just how well specific queries were performing in the new environment, but also how users perceived that performance, enabling them to make any required adjustments.
In addition, MFC and the partners established a detailed schedule of status meetings, including weekly internal meetings, biweekly partner meetings, and steering committee meetings for team leaders.
The partners worked together when problems arose, and performance assurance on the hardware configuration and a fixed-bid price for the migration implementation transferred risk from MFC to its partners. As a result, the migration was “better, faster, and smoother than I anticipated,” says Eckhout.
MFC carefully prepared for migration, including working with a SAP Services Partner that specializes in SAP-based migrations. MFC decided to migrate its SAP NetWeaver BI implementation first so it could use knowledge gained from the experience to apply to its mission-critical R/3 migration.
Both migrations went smoothly, and each was accomplished over a weekend. The new environment is hosted on 16 IBM System x servers. The solution uses Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 and Tidal Horizon, (SAP alerting and monitoring application from Tidal Software) for proactive monitoring.
Post Migration Upgrade
MFC has been successful with its new SAP infrastructure, and continued to use the same software and hardware platform when it recently upgraded from SAP R/3 4.7 to SAP ERP 6.0, and upgraded its BI solution from SAP NetWeaver 3.5 to SAP NetWeaver BW 7.0.
||[the migration was] better, faster, and smoother than I anticipated.
SAP Technical Systems Manager, Lockheed Martin, Missiles and Fire Control
The company plans for an early upgrade to SQL Server 2008 Enterprise, and is already working with the product to test new features including Row Compression and Data Compression.
The solution architecture includes:
- SAP ERP 6.0. MFC hosts SAP ERP 6.0 on an active/active two-node cluster, with one node hosting applications, and the other hosting the database. SAP ERP applications are hosted on a 64-bit IBM System x 3950 computer with 4 dual-core x360 Intel Xeon processors. The 2-terabyte database is hosted on a 64-bit IBM System x 3950 computer with 16 Intel Xeon processors MP and 48 gigabytes (GB) of RAM. Storage is on an IBM System Storage DS4800 Disk Storage System.
- Disaster Recovery. A third System x 3950 server at a remote site supports disaster recovery through the use of the Log Shipping feature of SQL Server 2005. Log Shipping increases a SQL Server database's availability by automatically copying and restoring the database's transaction logs to another database on a standby server. Because the standby database receives all changes to the original database, it's an exact duplicate of the original database—out of date only by the delay in the copy-and-load process.
- SAP BI. The company’s SAP NetWeaver BW 7.0 software and 1-terabyte database are hosted on an IBM System x 3950 computer with 16 Intel Xeon processors and 64 GB of RAM. Storage is on an IBM System Storage DS4800 Disk Storage System.
As a result of its migration from a RISC–based UNIX/Oracle stack to the Microsoft Application Platform, including SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition (64-bit) on Intel-based IBM xServers, Missiles and Fire Control was able to reduce its SAP infrastructure costs over a 5-year period. The company has also enjoyed enhanced performance, reliability, and easier database management. Looking ahead to SQL Server 2008, the company sees value in the product’s new compression technology features.
Reduction in Costs
The same due diligence that established that the Microsoft Application Platform provided a superior foundation for supporting SAP scalability and high availability, also showed that the company would enjoy a lower total cost of ownership. MFC assembled detailed projections showing that the Microsoft and Intel solution would yield a significant savings the first five years, compared to the cost of continuing on the UNIX and Oracle platform. The savings are all “hard dollar” savings for hardware, software, and maintenance.
One of the greatest savings is in software maintenance costs, which MFC saw drop as the business unit reduced its Oracle licenses and the need for contracted software maintenance. The company also reports lower hardware maintenance agreement costs by moving from RISC-based to Intel-based hardware. MFC saw additional hard-cost savings in data storage due to the efficiencies and self-tuning abilities of SQL Server and IBM data storage hardware, and it avoided the costs it had projected for deploying a UNIX-based clustering solution.
As a result of the cost savings, MFC projected an internal rate of return of 29 percent from the migration with payback in three years, making it a highly successful investment for the unit.
“The cost savings that were projected at the beginning of the project turned out to be real,” says Eckhout. “Everyone, including our CFO, was pleased with the move from UNIX and Oracle to Windows and SQL Server.”
Migrating to the Microsoft Application Platform and Intel-based hardware provided the company with enhanced performance, though Eckhout points out that upgrading hardware on the UNIX platform would have also enhanced performance, as it was time for a hardware refresh. Still, the company has been pleased with the performance of the new solution.
“SAP on Windows-based software, Intel processors, and IBM hardware meets or exceeds all of our performance criteria,” says Eckhout. “Our ERP system supports more than 340,000 SAP dialog steps per day, and has enabled us to easily accommodate an increase in the number of users.”
SQL Server and the rest of the Microsoft Application Platform have helped enable Missile and Fire Control to achieve the reliability and uptime required for its mission-critical SAP systems. “In the more than four years since we migrated the first R/3 database to SQL Server, I don’t believe we’ve had a single event of unplanned downtime, or at least an event that was caused by either the database or operating system,” says Chris Church, NetWeaver Administrator at Lockheed Martin, MFC.
In addition to the reliability engineered into SQL Server and the Windows Server operating system, Missile and Fire Control benefits from its use of MOM 2005. “Microsoft Operations Manager and Tidal Horizon are very big for us,” says Eckhout. “We weren’t doing as much proactive maintenance before. Now we have a centralized, consolidated view of all events and errors in the SAP system. We could get that before with SAP, but not out of the box or easily implemented, without weeks of tweaking. Now we get daily reports of how our batch jobs ran, so we can address any issues, and we get a daily checklist for administrators. That’s automatic—and it was something we had to produce manually before.”
For MFC, the integration of SAP and Microsoft software extends beyond MOM 2005. “We have to integrate SAP with our e-mail system, with our word-processing system, and with a range of other systems that are all Microsoft products,” says Darcy Sety, Director of IT Infrastructure and Operations. “This integration improves our use of both SAP and Microsoft products.”
Easier Database Management
After migrating off of Oracle, the company was pleased to find that its database administrators felt that SQL Server was easier to manage. “We seemed to have required a lot more intervention by database administrators on Oracle,” says Eckhout. “We were told by people in other companies that our DBA maintenance needs would drop after moving to SQL Server. This turned out to be true and we are enjoying the results.”
Easier database management contributes to a lower total cost of ownership, and to clients content with the implementation. “The reduced need for DBA interventions has freed up this talent so they can focus on other support areas,” Eckhout says. “This has made our DBAs more available to our user community, which provides a higher value to our business.”
SQL Server 2008 Compression Technology
MFC is currently testing SQL Server 2008, including some of its new features, as it prepares to upgrade to the newest version of the database software. One of the first features to catch the attention of the IT group is Row Compression, new for SQL Server 2008.
Row Compression reduces database size by removing unneeded bytes from column values and storing them in variable length format. The technology can significantly reduce overall database size, as MFC found in their own testing, which also showed faster performance of critical jobs (See table).
“We have deployed three instances of SQL Server 2008 for testing, including using the new Row Compression feature,” says Church. “When we applied Row Compression to a copy of our ERP database, we found a 37 percent reduction in total data size. We also found that all of our benchmarks of critical jobs ran faster after using Row Compression. The processing times for one of our jobs went from 8 minutes to 1.5 minutes after applying Row Compression. Another of our critical jobs went from 34 minutes to 25.”
The company is just starting to look at the Data Compression feature of SQL Server 2008, but likes the idea of having compression on the database. “Reducing disk size requirements definitely contributes to lower total cost of ownership, because we are constantly getting user requests for more disk space,” says Eckhout. “We don’t do a lot of archiving because our analysts and user community like having immediate access to all the data they might ever need. With demand like that, data compression is attractive.”
In summary, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has reported a lower total cost of ownership, enhanced performance, reliability, and easier database management since moving its multi-terabyte SAP infrastructure from a UNIX/Oracle stack to the Microsoft Application Platform.
Microsoft Server Product Portfolio
For more information about the Microsoft server product portfolio, go to: www.microsoft.com/servers/default.mspx
Microsoft SQL Server 2005
Microsoft SQL Server 2005 is comprehensive, integrated data management and analysis software that enables organizations to reliably manage mission-critical information and confidently run today’s increasingly complex business applications. By providing high availability, security enhancements, and embedded reporting and data analysis tools, SQL Server 2005 helps companies gain greater insight from their business information and achieve faster results for a competitive advantage. And, because it’s part of the Microsoft server product portfolio, SQL Server 2005 is designed to integrate seamlessly with your other server infrastructure investments.
For more information about SQL Server 2005, go to: www.microsoft.com/sqlserver
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Document published July 2009