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Posted: 9/12/2013
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Home Center Public Company (HomePro) Thai Retailer Improves Performance and Availability of Mission-Critical ERP System

Home Product Center Public Company (HomePro), a leading home improvement retailer in Thailand, needed to enhance its mission-critical SAP IS-RETAIL solution to support business expansion. HomePro decided to replace its IBM AIX and Oracle platform with a solution based on Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise. As a result, it has improved performance and scalability, while cutting costs. Now, HomePro can ease expansion, be more competitive, and ensure the continuous availability of its SAP system.


Business Needs

Based in Thailand, HomePro is a leading, “one-stop” home-improvement retailer with 56 stores across the country and more than 60,000 products. Since it was established in 1995, the company has grown rapidly and is now a publically listed firm. To support business growth, the company needed to enterprise resource management (ERP) IS-RETAIL solution to streamline business operations, replenishment, and workflows.

HomePro relies on the SAP IS-RETAIL solution for core business operations using multiple modules such as ERP Central Component 6.0 EhP 5, Business Warehouse 7.30, POS Data Management, and Enterprise Portal. The retail business is very competitive and often the most busy business periods are during weekends or public holidays. In this environment, planned or unplanned downtime is very difficult to manage. “High availability is very important to us,” says Surachate Tubtimjaroon, Vice President of Technical Service and Client Service at HomePro. “Our ERP system supports mission-critical activities, and downtime is not an option. Without it, we can’t serve our customers.”

HomePro wanted a solution that would not only improve performance and uptime, but also control costs. “Since we started in 1995, our goal has been to cut operating costs while enhancing the quality of service,” says Tubtimjaroon. “To meet that challenge, we need an IT system for the retail industry that is up-to-date, efficient, and simple to administer, and that provides low cost of ownership.”

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* With Windows Server 2008 R2, we have a cost efficient and scalable platform that provides the high-availability that is critical to our business. *

Sudapa Chamod
Senior Vice President, Information and Communication Technology
HomePro

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Solution

In March 2010, after looking at products from multiple vendors, HomePro decided to deploy the new SAP IS-RETAIL solution on the Microsoft platform. The company believed that Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise software running on the Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise operating system would provide better query performance at a lower total cost of ownership (TCO). The SQL Server 2008 R2 solution also offered built-in capabilities such as data compression, which would help cut costs for storage and reduce database administration tasks.

HomePro also wanted to take advantage of the solution’s improved support and easier implementation. “When we compared products from different vendors, Microsoft had the best offering for our needs,” says Tubtimjaroon. “Also, the Microsoft SQL Server Customer Advisory Team has expertise in deploying SAP on SQL Server and could provide deployment guidance.”

With help from Microsoft Premier Support Services and Microsoft partner Terabyte Net, the company implemented four SQL Server 2008 R2 instances in a failover cluster on three nodes in its production environment. If a node fails, service immediately resumes on another server without interruption. HomePro also maintains separate quality assurance and development installations.

HomePro replicates its production environment to the disaster recovery site with log shipping. In addition, “SAP DBA Cockpit and other monitoring tools work well with SQL Server,” says Wiroon Unggurarat, Manager of Information Communication Technology at HomePro.

The company is taking advantage of features such as table partitioning and backup and data compression too. It is also using Unicode compression, which reduces the number of bytes needed to store text characters. By using SQL Server compression technologies, HomePro can save storage space and also accelerate backups.

In addition to using the built-in security features in Windows 2008 R2, HomePro has also hardened the operating system by removing Internet Explorer and disabling unused features. The patching requirements were similar for both UNIX and Windows after applying basic security-hardening procedures.

To save disk space and reduce power and UNIX maintenance costs, HomePro has also shut down the SAP system running on UNIX and migrated the data to SQL Server running in a virtualized environment on Hyper-V technology. The company used the SAP OS/DB migration procedure for the project.

Benefits

With a Microsoft platform, HomePro is easing regional business expansion, strengthening its competitive edge, and increasing the availability of its mission-critical SAP IS-RETAIL solution.

Supports Accelerated Business Growth

As HomePro continues its expansion throughout Thailand and Southeast Asia, it has better support for business growth with a highly available, scalable platform. “In the past, we faced a growing volume of data and slower performance,” says Unggurarat. “But with SQL Server 2008 R2 features such as data compression, we can save disk space and improve the performance of our SAP environment.”

In addition, the company can cut hardware and support costs by standardizing on Intel-based servers, which helps reduce TCO and, in turn, eases expansion. Unggurarat says, “By reducing hardware and support costs with industry-standard servers and Microsoft technology, HomePro is able to invest in projects that add business value.”

Improves Competitive Advantage

HomePro has tested the built-in SQL Server 2012 columnstore index, which integrates with the SAP Business Information Warehouse (BW). By using the new feature, HomePro can dramatically reduce the size of BW fact tables and dramatically improve query performance. “With a Microsoft platform, we can serve more customers faster and stand out against the competition.”

Increases Availability

By taking advantage of built-in product capabilities, HomePro is ensuring that its core SAP IS-RETAIL system is continuously available to serve customers and manage operations. Sudapa Chamod, Senior Vice President of Information and Communication Technology at HomePro says, “With Windows Server 2008 R2, we have a cost efficient and scalable platform that provides with the high-availability that is critical to our business.”

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview




Organization Profile

A leading home improvement retailer in Thailand, HomePro operates 56 stores nationwide and offers more than 60,000 products as well as installation and maintenance services.


Software and Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Microsoft Services Premier Support

Vertical Industries
Consumer Goods

Country/Region
Thailand

Business Need
  • Enterprise Project Management
  • Mission Critical

IT Issue
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
  • Integration with SAP

Languages
English

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