4-page Case Study
Posted: 4/5/2011
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Advansa SASA Textile Firm Migrates Database to Cut Costs and Increase Performance by 20 Percent

Advansa SASA, a leading textile manufacturer base in Turkey, has a large facility, campus, and texturized yarn factory in Adana, as well as a fiber factory in Germany. In 2002, the company began using a SAP ERP infrastructure operating on a UNIX platform with database server that was commonly used with SAP. The company had major concerns about the total cost of ownership for the system and management risks in outsourcing to maintain the UNIX platform and existing database. To address these issues, Advansa SASA ultimately migrated to Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Intel-based hardware. By using the new solution, Advansa SASA has increased system performance by 20 percent, cut hardware and maintenance costs, and reduced database size through data compression. The company calculates that it is saving 30 percent, or about U.S.$150,000, in total cost of ownership over five years.

Situation

Textile manufacturer Advansa SASA has a multicompany structure. Advansa SASA BV is a Netherlands-based organization, under whose umbrella Advansa SASA GmBH is responsible for the management of a factory in Germany. Advansa SASA Marketing is responsible for marketing in Europe, and Advansa SASA is the central organization in Turkey.

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* After migrating to Windows Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008 on Intel-based hardware,… we have achieved almost 20 percent improvement in performance. If we also measure the buffer effects, I believe the performance has increased by 30 percent.  *

Ömer Demir
Information Systems and Communication Group Manager
Advansa SASA

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Ömer Demir, Information Systems and Communication Group Manager at Advansa SASA, says that the majority of the company’s exports are to Europe. “We often carry out our export activities through Advansa SASA Marketing. In addition to Europe, we have sales to countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Their ratio is not very high but it is growing continuously. The chemistry division in particular is mostly based on export.”

He adds that in recent times investments have been moved toward the chemistry segment, and in the last three years the ratio of chemical industry activities to overall activities has increased from 15 percent to 40 percent. During this process, Advansa SASA has become the regional leader in Europe and in Turkey as well, especially in fiber. “In artificial and synthetic yarn, we have very important brands, such as Termolite and Coolmax,” says Demir.

Demir, provides the following information on the IT infrastructure: “There are two separate IT infrastructures under Advansa SASA BV, one in Germany and the other in Turkey. Our colleagues working in Germany’s IT department report to me and provide support to all of our offices in Germany, France, and Spain. The IT group in Turkey is located on our campus in Adana. All of our systems are also located in Adana and provide support to all the other regions. Advansa SASA is known for its leadership both in production and information technologies. In the past, we were among the top 10 companies in Turkey. We made several investments in our IT systems, and when we completed our ERP project in January 2002, we became the leader in the industry.”

During that period, the most important reason for the company to choose SAP was that its partner DuPont, was using SAP. In 2002, Advansa SASA implemented all SAP modules with 500 users. Early that year, the company switched to the SAP ERP infrastructure. Demir says, “We started to use a database of another international software technology manufacturer, which is used commonly with SAP, on a UNIX operating platform. We continued with this up until three years ago. The expenses we incurred for hardware and license fees, as well as our hardware and maintenance costs, were much higher than those for Intel-based servers. We decided to use an Intel-based Microsoft application platform.”

Demir indicates that the IT group often brought forward the issue of migrating to Microsoft SQL Server data management software, but they were waiting for the development of the product. “When we decided to isolate the chemistry division of our organization in order to sell it, the problem of a cost-intensive SAP installation arose, because we were going to be two separate companies from then on. During that period, we conducted a study regarding the migration of Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and the installation of two different SQL systems based on real data. But we were not sure whether we were going to be able to achieve the performance we expected. Thus, by making an expensive hardware investment, dividing the existing database into two, and copying the same system on the other side as well, and making some changes, we built the second system. Later, in 2006, we sold that company, which we had already separated from our organization.”

The biggest deadlock at Advansa SASA regarding the existing database server was primarily the cost. The system’s total cost of ownership was very high, but for an organization like Advansa SASA the issue of management risk was of even more significant. Demir says, “Since the beginning, we have had difficulty finding staff specialized in UNIX and the existing database. Since 2002, we have benefited from outsourcing to some companies, but the related costs were very high. Moreover, this was a risk for us because there was an external dependency regarding the issues that had to be taken care of night and day. For Advansa SASA, which had inherited DuPont’s culture, these were considered big risks. The issue of outsourcing was always brought forward during each annual evaluation meeting, creating problems in these areas regarding the total cost of ownership (which is almost 30 percent), annual maintenance costs, as well as the ease of management and reducing external dependency. We believed that the best way to eliminate such problems would be migration to the Microsoft platform.”

Solution

In 2006, Advansa SASA decided to migrate to Microsoft SQL Server 2005. Demir says that it is very critical for the company to use SQL Server, especially on the database side.

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* We calculated the total cost of ownership for a five-year period and saw that we achieved a 30 percent gain through migration to SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. When we include the costs of maintenance, this ratio increases.  *

Ömer Demir
Information Systems and Communication Group Manager
Advansa SASA

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Within the last three years, all the software applications developed under Advansa SASA were designed based on the SQL database. Software applications in particular— which are very important for the company and include the systems for operation information, maintenance management, and laboratory management—work on the Microsoft SQL Server. Mainly, the Windows Server operating system and SQL Server are used on the server side in Advansa SASA. At international businesses related to project management, they rely on Microsoft Office Groove 2007 software for managing projects and sharing.

Demir emphasizes that they hadn’t underestimated the easiness that was going to be brought by Windows platform, and considered that they could manage some issues more easily, such as copying and disaster recovery on this platform. “We assessed several advantages that came with Microsoft technologies. There was a certain cost of migration. In the past, these costs were very high. Then, with the skills of our consultant FIT, recognized for its specialty in SAP, we have reduced these costs to almost zero. In 2006, when we carried out global research into this subject, I remember that a British company made us a proposal of 100,000 euros for migration. FIT accomplished much more than what the British company could have, and with lower costs at that.”

Onur Altıntaş, Microsoft Customer Representative, states that in recently working very closely with FIT he has seen the difference generated by the company. “FIT offers high-quality consulting services in a special niche area that requires very considerable expertise. SAP consulting has many branches. FIT provides consulting on the technology and the installation side and in this highly sensitive area it has gained the confidence of our customers.”

In the last phase of the company’s database migration, Demir states that it has migrated from SQL Server 2005 to SQL Server 2008 Enterprise and from Windows Server 2005 to Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise. This deployment was completed in November 2009. Now they are in the process of making SAP compatible in order to benefit from the features provided by Windows Server 2008 R2.

“We conducted preliminary work for the migration for almost six months and have been using it for two weeks,” said Demir in an interview on November 20, 2009. “After we received the approval for the project from our upper management, we carried out some procedures that depend on the database or the operating system. These were, in particular, floor and MIS procedures on the production side, which we had to make independent from the platform. We were unable to make all of them independent, but we carried out an inventory study to enable them to function without any problems.

“Under normal conditions, we were aiming at completing the migration by January 1, 2010, but due to the application of the SAP New General Ledger, which we are operating now, we decided to migrate in November. In September, we got in touch with FIT consulting, one of the Microsoft solution partners, and in the second week of that month we created a test system. As Sabancı ERP’s test group, we tested all of our activities and operations. In reality, what we had done there was migration,” says Demir. Hüseyin Bilgen, an FIT Technology Consultant, says that all the data was copied for the test and as such they migrated twice: one was the test and the other was live.

“We hardly experienced any problems during the test,” says Demir, adding that they found this situation suspicious and made a very detailed scanning. For this reason, they had to postpone the migration of the project for a week. However, they didn’t experience any problems during the live migration.

Benefits

By migrating to SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2, Advansa SASA has increased system performance by 20 percent, cut hardware and maintenance costs, and reduced database size by more than 40 percent. The company calculates that it is saving 30 percent, or about U.S.$150,000, in total cost of ownership over five years.

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* We prefer the Microsoft platform on the SAP side. First, Microsoft provides rapid developments in the field of technology and it is very easy to hire qualified IT personnel to adapt to these developments. Second, the compatibility features provided in the SAP platforms in recent years have improved significantly.  *

Hüseyin Bilgen
Technology Consultant
FIT

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Increases Performance 20 Percent

“We are moving on with zero problems,” says Demir with pleasure. “After migrating to Windows Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008 on Intel-based hardware—even though we have selected hardware that in terms of cost of ownership cost half as much as previously—we have achieved almost 20 percent improvement in performance. If we also measure the buffer effects, I believe the performance has increased by 30 percent.”

Saves 30 Percent in TCO over Five Years

“We calculated the total cost of ownership for a period of five years and saw that we achieved a 30 percent gain through migration to SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2,” says Demir. “When we include the costs of maintenance, this ratio increases. We are aiming to carry out this measurement over time. If we take the maintenance cost out of the picture and look solely at the cost of ownership with a five-year depreciation, we achieve a 30 percent savings rate. The maintenance costs of UNIX-based systems were much more than the Intel-based ones. Moreover, because we are owned by Sabancı Holding, we have the power of entering into contracts with better prices compared with the market. Nonetheless, the 30 percent savings obtained within five years is considerable, its financial equivalent is approximately U.S.$150,000 in expenses, cost of maintenance and ownership, if we consider only the past two or three years.”

Reduces Database Size by More Than 40 Percent

Advansa SASA uses the compression feature of SQL Server 2008, which reduces the existing database size from 700 gigabytes (GB) to 390 GB. “The smaller size is very important in terms of performance: we aimed to protect our gains with the compression feature provided by the former UNIX-based infrastructure,” says Demir. “The more the size decreases, the more the performance increases, because reading from the hard drive slows the system down. We are very happy that we used the SQL Server 2008 data compression feature, which protected and even improved the previous gains. If another platform or SQL Server 2005 had been used here, the database would have definitely been increased by an additional 30–40 percent.”

Benefits from Software Interoperability

Altıntaş remarks that due to the fact that Windows Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008 operate together, there have been many benefits. “The combination of Windows Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008, what we call the Microsoft Application Platform, provides many benefits since they are the infrastructures operating under large-scale solutions such as SAP. Obtaining space from the server due to data compression feature is one of these. There may be scenarios with size reductions of up to 30–40 percent.

“Furthermore, in terms of efficiency it is very important to have the option of allocating resources as much as you want to the user profile you want, integrated in the database. You can, for example, limit the resources for a user that enters bills in the accounting department, while reserving a significant processor load to an upper-level manager. Now we are able to tune the system so some users can get immediate system response.”

Offers Advantages for the SAP Side

Bilgen, the FIT Technology Consultant, suggests that due to the nature of the area they are specialized in, they provide platform-independent services. In recent years, however, as a result of the developments in Microsoft, they have moved mainly toward the Microsoft platform in the infrastructure projects they have been developing. “There are some important reasons why we prefer the Microsoft platform on the SAP side. First, Microsoft provides rapid developments in the field of technology and it is very easy to hire qualified IT personnel to adapt to these developments. Second, the compatibility features provided in the SAP platforms in recent years have improved significantly.

“The fact that the Microsoft platform has such an appeal and recognition provides an advantage for us. At FIT, we have a clear mission statement: We create the solution, bring it to life, and create success stories to hand to our customers. Our customers may later on sign a support agreement with us if they wish, or they may continue on their own. At the point where it needs to continue under its own scope, the platforms used should be easy to manage. Conveying this to the customers requires another skill. There can be some limitations on the customer side:, human resources may not be sufficient, especially in group firms and firms under the umbrella of a holding company. As a result, ease of adaptation and fast management becomes important for a platform. Microsoft provides such a platform.”

Microsoft Server Product Portfolio

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

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 Advansa SASA products and services, call +90 322 4410053 or visit the website at:
www.advansa.com

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



Organization Size: 1500 employees

Organization Profile

Advansa SASA, whose origins go back to 1966, is the largest polyester fiber and filament producer across Europe and the Middle East. It plays a leading role in the sector as a producer of polyester-based polymers, raw materials for those polymers, and specialty polymers. Headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey, Advansa SASA has 1,500 employees.


Business Situation

Advansa SASA used a SAP application on a UNIX platform with a compatible database server, but ownership costs and maintenance risks were growing concerns.


Solution

In June 2009, Advansa SASA decided to migrate to Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Intel-based hardware.


Benefits

  • Increases performance by 20 percent
  • Saves 30 percent in TCO over five years
  • Reduces database size by 40 percent
  • Cuts hardware and maintenance costs


Software and Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Microsoft Office Groove 2007

Vertical Industries
Consumer Goods

Country/Region
Turkey

Business Need
  • Data Management
  • Business Critical
  • Mission Critical

IT Issue
  • High Availability
  • Data Warehousing

Languages
English

Partner(s)
FIT Consulting

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