4-page Case Study
Posted: 12/15/2010
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Komplett E-Commerce Company Speeds Performance by 30 Percent with Microsoft, IBM, and SAP

Komplett, a leading Scandinavian e-commerce company, needed to increase the scalability, flexibility, and stability of its IT infrastructure to facilitate rapid growth and deliver fast performance even during peak times. It also wanted to minimize risk and deploy a single customer relationship management (CRM) solution. Komplett engaged Microsoft Services and IBM consultants to design a highly available solution that includes Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise, and several SAP applications including SAP CRM. The solution also includes a virtualized IBM storage area network that will provide 150 terabytes of data capacity. With its new IT infrastructure, Komplett has sped database performance by 30 percent and slowed data growth by 75 percent by reducing database size. The company has also boosted agility, increased scalability, reduced risk, and cut costs.

Situation

Founded in 1991, Norway’s Komplett is one of the leading e-commerce companies in Scandinavia. The company is also the largest producer of personal computers in Scandinavia, and it is among the fastest-growing e-commerce companies in the region. Komplett operates nine web shops in three countries. The web shops—including Komplett.no, MPX.no, Norek.no, Itegra.no, Komplett.se, Komplett.dk, and inWarehouse.se—sell 10,000 different electronics products to consumers and businesses. In 2009, Komplett employed 470 people and earned NOK 3,750 million (U.S. $640 million) in revenue.

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* By using data compression in SQL Server 2008 Enterprise, we reduced the size of our SAP NetWeaver BW and SAP ERP databases by 75 percent…. We [also] boosted database performance by 30 percent.  *

Stein Ove Røv
Chief Technology Officer
Komplett

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In 2009, rapid growth—spurred by booming sales and corporate mergers—had pushed the company’s existing IT infrastructure to capacity. Implemented as a private cloud that supports all business units, the existing solution ran on the Microsoft platform and an IBM storage area network (SAN). The software infrastructure included the Windows Server 2003 operating system and Microsoft SQL Server 2005 data management software. Most business applications were from SAP, including modules such as SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), SAP Netweaver Process Integration (PI), and SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW). Employees also used disparate customer relationship management (CRM) applications.

Komplett wanted to add SAP modules such as SAP CRM and SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWN) to consolidate software, simplify customer service, and facilitate data sharing among business applications. However, limited IT resources and system capacity made this implementation infeasible. Architectural limitations also hindered flexibility and scalability. For example, to add a disk to a server node or to the IBM SAN, IT personnel had to take the corresponding applications offline. However, with a customer order processed every 23 seconds, any system downtime was unacceptable.

The inflexibility of the existing infrastructure restricted the company’s ability to easily support new web shops—a key part of the company’s long-range strategy. “In our business, mergers and acquisitions are quite common, so we need to be able to support new business units as quickly as possible,” says Ole-Kristen Hjelme, Senior Software Consultant at Komplett.

Other challenges involved system performance and availability. Each day, the systems at Komplett generate an average of 100,000 electronic data interchange (EDI) transactions using the intermediate document (IDoc) format. During peak times, the systems generate nearly 200,000 IDoc transactions per day. Increases in web traffic, database size, and CPU demand—caused by processes such as data archiving—slowed overall system performance and response times for customers. Maintaining reasonable system performance also required increasing effort by IT personnel.

To protect its reputation for excellent customer service, Komplett needed to increase the agility, flexibility, and stability of its infrastructure so that it could more easily scale to support growth and, at the same time, deliver consistently fast performance. “We determined that our existing infrastructure could not support the increases in transaction volume,” explains Stein Ove Røv, Chief Technology Officer at Komplett. “We needed to expand our private-cloud infrastructure so that it could deliver centralized services to our new business units.”

Solution

In 2009, Komplett evaluated database and business applications and decided to upgrade its existing software architecture. Ultimately, the company chose Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise and Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, because they offer numerous enhancements to simplify database management and boost system performance and availability. For example, new failover clustering capabilities in the Microsoft platform make it possible to increase system capacity without affecting system availability. The tools also support geographically dispersed clusters, which gives Komplett unmatched high-availability and disaster-recovery capabilities that did not exist before.

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* We looked at several alternative database, operating system, and business technologies. However, we felt that we would be most successful using the Microsoft platform and SAP applications.  *

Stein Ove Røv
Chief Technology Officer
Komplett

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Because the new solution offers greater capacity and performance, Komplett decided to implement additional SAP modules. The company would also deploy Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 to simplify the architecture and system administration—and take advantage of Microsoft Services Premier Support to promote high availability. In addition, Komplett would use the new administrative and database compression functionality of SQL Server 2008 to decrease storage costs and further improve operational efficiency and performance. “We looked at several alternative database, operating system, and business technologies,” says Røv. “However, we felt that we would be most successful using the Microsoft platform and SAP applications.”

In November 2009, Komplett engaged Microsoft Services and IBM to help design a solution. “We held a two-day workshop in Nice, France, where we worked with Microsoft Services and IBM storage consultants to design an architecture that addressed our challenges,” says Røv. “By engaging Microsoft Services consultants and IBM hardware specialists, we knew that our solution would work and meet our service-level agreements. Having that feeling of assurance was really important to us.”

In February 2010, Komplett started to implement its new solution on all of the servers in one data center. These systems include a mix of rack-mounted and commodity blade servers that run Windows Server 2008 Enterprise. “We have numerous physical servers because we run physical failover clusters in our test environment as well as in production,” explains Hjelme. “That way we can test deployment and administration procedures on failover clusters and stand-alone systems before we implement anything in production.”

Ten Windows Server failover clusters support multiple SAP applications such as SAP ERP, SAP NetWeaver PI, and SAP CRM. Collectively, these applications store 2–3 terabytes (TB) of data in SQL Server 2008 Enterprise databases. IT personnel use System Center Operations Manager 2007 to manage the SAP architecture, including a 1-TB data warehouse.

All business data resides on a SAN. To keep pace with data growth—which doubles or triples each year even after using SQL Server 2008 database compression—Komplett engineers are upgrading the SAN to boost input/output performance. The company is also increasing the SAN’s capacity so that it can store 150 TB of production data and 1.4 PB of archived data. To manage communication between the servers and the SAN, engineers deployed an IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller (SVC). SVC manages and virtualizes SAN resources and provides high availability and disaster recovery capabilities between the two datacenters.

Engineers installed 20-gigabit fiber rings to connect all systems. They also installed 10-gigabit fiber rings to support connectivity with a second data center that is 500 meters distance from the first. Komplett will soon distribute its failover server clusters between the two data centers in a geo-cluster configuration using IBM SVC as a hardware basis for data replication.

By August 2010, Komplett released its new solution into production. By the end of the first quarter in 2011, engineers will deploy SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management and implement a new failover cluster to support SAP NetWeaver BW. Komplett also plans to virtualize its servers.

Benefits

By engaging Microsoft Services to design a solution that includes Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, SQL Server 2008 Enterprise, SAP applications, and IBM hardware, Komplett has increased agility, scalability, and customer service. The company has also boosted database performance by 30 percent and significantly reduced costs and operational risk.

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* By using the clustering capabilities in SQL Server 2008 Enterprise to support SAP applications, we have greatly reduced our risk. We can also focus on the business rather than the systems.  *

Stein Ove Røv
Chief Technology Officer
Komplett

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Increases Scalability, Agility, and Service

Because its new application platform is now more flexible and scalable, IT no longer hinders corporate growth. Instead, Komplett can easily expand and develop innovative offerings. “You lose market competition if it takes a long time to add new IT capabilities or hardware,” explains Røv. “We are ready for change with our new platform supported by Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and SAP applications.” Hjelme says, “We can buy a new company and incorporate it as a business unit in weeks and not months. Having that ability is a big value to our company.”

Speeds Performance by 30 Percent

The new application platform provides software capabilities such as data compression and uses state-of-the-art hardware. As a result, Komplett has realized a significant boost in performance. “By using data compression in SQL Server 2008 Enterprise, we reduced the size of our SAP NetWeaver BW and SAP ERP databases by 75 percent,” says Røv. “Just by reducing the size of some of our databases and taking advantage of performance enhancements in SQL Server 2008, we boosted database performance by 30 percent. We can also archive data about 40 percent faster.”

Reduces Costs

Decreasing database size improves efficiency and savings in other areas as well. “We can postpone the need for archiving on a large scale and therefore avoid additional storage costs,” notes Røv. “We also avoid purchasing additional disks for our growing databases because we have freed up so much of the space that was already allocated to them.”

By consolidating disparate applications and implementing new administrative capabilities, Komplett has realized other savings and boosted efficiency. “We now have tools like System Center Operations Manager 2007, which we use to monitor SQL Server 2008,” says Røv. “As a result, we are proactive—and not reactive like we were in the past.”

Minimizes Risk and Delivers High Availability

Komplett has improved operational effectiveness and promoted business continuity by taking advantage of the experience and knowledge of Microsoft Services consultants to help design its new infrastructure. The company has also realized 99.99 percent system availability, an increase of 0.15 percent. One reason for this boost is that the application platform and underlying hardware infrastructure operate independently from the applications that use it. As a result, Komplett can modify the infrastructure without affecting application availability. In addition, the solution includes highly available server clusters that will soon span two locations. “By using the clustering capabilities in SQL Server 2008 Enterprise to support SAP applications, we have greatly reduced our risk,” explains Røv. “We can also focus on the business rather than the systems, because our new infrastructure easily handles the traffic.”

Commenting on the overall reliability of its new application platform, Hjelme says, “We have seen big improvements in the stability and predictability of the Microsoft platform. I am no longer worried if I see an automatic failover from one node to another—or if I have to failover to another node to perform some kind of maintenance. I just know that the systems will continue to work.”

Microsoft Server Product Portfolio

For more information about the Microsoft server product portfolio, go to:
www.microsoft.com/servers

Microsoft Services

As the consulting, technical support, and customer service arm of the world’s leading software company, Microsoft Services maximizes the benefit of Microsoft solutions and technologies for all customers.

For more information about Microsoft Services, go to:
www.microsoft.com/microsoftservices

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
www.microsoft.com

For more information about IBM products and services, call (800) 426-4968 or visit the website at:
www.ibm.com

For more information about Komplett products and services, call (47) 33 45 42 00 or visit the website at:
www.komplett.com

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



Organization Size: 470 employees

Organization Profile

Based in Sandefjord, Norway, Komplett operates nine web shops in three Scandinavian countries. In 2009, the company employed 470 people and earned NOK 3,750 million (U.S. $640 million) in revenue.


Business Situation

To support rapid growth, Komplett needed to increase IT flexibility and scalability. The company also wanted to boost performance and implement a disaster recovery solution to minimize risk.


Solution

Komplett implemented a solution based on clustered servers running the Microsoft platform and SAP applications. It also deployed an IBM volume controller to manage a virtual storage solution.


Benefits

  • Increases scalability, agility, and service
  • Speeds performance by 30 percent
  • Reduces costs
  • Minimizes risk and delivers high availability


Hardware

IBM x3850 M2 server computers IBM x3950 M2 server computers IBM BladeCenter HS22 server computers IBM System Storage DS8300 models IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller


Software and Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise
  • Microsoft Services
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise
  • Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007
  • Premier Support for Enterprise
  • Datacenter

Vertical Industries
Specialty Retail

Country/Region
Norway

Business Need
Cloud & Server Platform

Languages
English

Partner(s)
IBM Corporation Microsoft Services

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