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Posted: 2/9/2012
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Griffin's Foods Snack Maker Strengthens Competitive Edge and Improves Database Performance

Griffin’s Foods is the largest manufacturer of snack products in New Zealand. Because the company wanted to improve the performance of its SAP applications, it migrated to the latest Microsoft database solution as part of a hardware upgrade. With this new solution, Griffin’s can stay ahead of its local competition by using a database that is smaller and performs better than before. In addition, the firm has shortened its database backup window and can more easily manage its database.

Business Needs

Griffin’s Foods, founded in 1864, manufactures and distributes some of New Zealand’s most popular cookies, crackers, and other snacks. The country’s largest snack manufacturer, Griffin’s sells more than NZ$300 million (U.S. $238.5 million) of products every year.

* Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 gives us the best technology for our mission-critical SAP environment, which is the heart of our business. *

Steve Hutchison
IT Manager
Griffin’s Foods

The company relies on a comprehensive infrastructure of SAP applications, including SAP Enterprise Central Component (ECC), Advanced Planner and Optimizer (APO), and Business Information Warehouse (BW). All of the company’s product sales and distribution are supported through these systems. “Our SAP environment is mission-critical. If these applications are not available to our sales representatives and customers, we can’t sell our products and don’t have revenue,” says Steve Hutchison, IT Manager, Griffin’s Foods.

Additionally, to stay competitive, Griffin’s must make sure that its SAP systems perform at the highest level. “Like any manufacturing business, to be competitive we have to be a low-cost, efficient company,” Hutchison says. “In our local market, we need to be dynamic to stay ahead of our competition, and our systems need to be dynamic to match.”

Since 1997, Griffin’s has used Microsoft SQL Server data management software to support its SAP environment. In mid-2011, the organization decided to migrate to new hardware and was interested in upgrading to SQL Server 2008 R2. “We had shared the back end of our 1.5-terabyte database with another local company, and that resulted in some database growth challenges and performance issues,” says Hutchison. “We wanted to make sure we had the absolute best performance.”


Griffin’s Foods knew that continuing with Microsoft technology was the right choice. “When we first chose Microsoft to support our SAP infrastructure back in 1997, we believed that it was the only technology that could give us a well-managed infrastructure and a strong toolset,” says Hutchison. “It was a risk at the time, because not many companies in New Zealand were using Microsoft in their SAP environments. But it certainly proved to be the right decision, and we were very happy to continue our journey with Microsoft by upgrading to SQL Server 2008 R2.”

Griffin’s realized that it could benefit specifically from the built-in data and backup compression features in Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise. Data compression reduces database size, potentially improving performance. “We expected better storage requirements and performance from upgrading to SQL Server 2008 R2,” Hutchison says.

In January 2011, as part of an overall hardware migration project, Griffin’s Foods worked with local technology partner REALTECH, a Microsoft Certified Partner, global Microsoft Partner, and SAP Partner, to begin the upgrade. REALTECH assisted Griffin’s in upgrading its SAP applications to SQL Server 2008 R2 and the Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise operating system, running on three HP ProLiant DL380 G7 server computers with two hex-core processors and 72 gigabytes (GB) of RAM.

Shortly after the database upgrade and hardware migration, REALTECH implemented the data compression features of SQL Server 2008 R2. “For this important migration, REALTECH helped us exceed compression expectation levels while delivering the project within budget and on time,” says Hutchison.

Griffin’s Foods went into production with the solution in May 2011, making it available to 260 employees.


With its new Microsoft solution, Griffin’s Foods is better equipped to offer its salespeople and customers better-performing SAP applications. The company has also reduced its database and data backup times, which helps facilitate easier database management.

Helps Increase Business and Strengthen Competitiveness

The new SQL Server 2008 R2 solution gives Griffin’s Foods the technology it needs to fully support its SAP applications. “Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 gives us the best technology for our mission-critical SAP environment, which is the heart of our business,” says Hutchison. With an SAP environment based on SQL Server 2008 R2, Griffin’s expects to more easily expand its business. “To be competitive in a dynamic market, we need to proactively manage the business. A key to this ability is an efficient, fully integrated information system. Griffins’ uses an integrated SAP suite of products, underpinned by Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2.”

Reduces Database to 360 GB and Boosts Performance

Using the database compression feature in SQL Server 2008 R2, REALTECH was able to reduce the Griffin’s Foods database from 1.4 terabytes to 360 GB. As a result, the organization has seen a substantial database performance improvement. “We have experienced very large performance gains with the new SQL Server 2008 R2 solution, along with the new hardware,” says Hutchison. “Even at periods of high- volume processing, there are no performance issues anymore. This helps us provide a better experience for our sales team and our customers.”

Provides Faster Backup Times

Now that it has a smaller database, Griffin’s Foods can deliver faster backup times as well. “Our backup times are much shorter now, thanks to the data and backup compression capabilities in SQL Server 2008 R2,” says Hutchison. “This saves us a lot of time and further contributes to better performance.”

Eases Management of Data Growth

The increased performance and shorter database backup times are making it easier to manage the Griffin’s Foods database overall. “We have a smaller, better-performing database that is much more manageable,” says Hutchison. “We no longer have to worry about issues related to our data growth. This entire project confirms for us that we made the right decision by choosing Microsoft technology and sticking with it for the last 16 years.”

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

Organization Size: 800 employees

Organization Profile
Based in Auckland, New Zealand, Griffin’s Foods is the maker of New Zealand’s favorite cookies as well as a range of other snack products. The company has three offices across New Zealand.

HP ProLiant DL380 G7 server computers

Software and Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise

Vertical Industries
Consumer Goods

New Zealand

Business Need
  • Mission Critical
  • Business Critical