Infosys, founded in 1981, is a global leader in IT and consulting. When competitive pressure and aging software spurred the company to become more efficient, Infosys sought an innovative solution to upgrade its infrastructure and reduce its hardware and maintenance costs. To achieve those goals, it deployed new Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise data management software in a clustered environment and integrated it with its mission-critical SAP system. With this approach, Infosys was able to consolidate its databases and reduce the largest ones by 70–80 percent. As a result, Infosys gained a solution with a low total cost of ownership (TCO), without sacrificing the high availability or performance of its SAP system, greatly enhancing its ability to compete.Situation
In 2010, Infosys, a worldwide leader in IT and consulting known for its innovative solutions, was faced with an increasingly competitive marketplace. To address this challenge, Infosys sought to reduce the growing hardware, maintenance, and cooling costs for its mission-critical SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, while maintaining high availability.
The company had deployed a number of SAP solutions and associated databases, including these important components:
- ERP Central Component (ECC) EhP4
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Business intelligence (BI)
- Process integration (PI)
- Enterprise portal (EP)
- GRC AC and PC (Governance, risk, and compliance access control and process)
- Central process scheduling (CPS)
- Composition environment (CE)
- Identity management (IDM)
- Business warehouse (BW)
They were deployed in a conventional architecture, with each solution residing on dedicated server hardware. The application layer was hosted on multiple server computers, and the database and central services were hosted on a dedicated two-node cluster.
||With SQL Server 2008 R2, we have streamlined our infrastructure for our mission-critical SAP applications without sacrificing performance or availability at any time for our 141,822 employees.
||D. Sangharajka Jitendra
Associate Vice President and Head Enterprise Platform Management, Information Systems
Infosys also used the Windows Server 2003 operating system and Microsoft SQL Server 2005 data management software for its SAP computing. But with growing costs, and with the Microsoft software nearing end-of-life, Infosys needed to make some changes. “We asked ourselves how we could improve our competitiveness while embracing new technologies,” says D. Sangharajka Jitendra, Associate Vice President and Head of Enterprise Platform Management for Information Systems at Infosys. “We needed a new model that was highly scalable and available and that lowered our total cost of ownership.”Solution
Infosys has successfully relied on Microsoft SQL Server since 1999 for its SAP system and believes the global alliance of Microsoft and SAP is important. “When Microsoft releases a new version of SQL Server, SAP supports it,” says Akhilesh Kumar Maurya, Project Manager, SAP Projects at Infosys. “So when we needed a new solution, it was natural to turn to Microsoft.”
After an introduction to SQL Server 2008 R2 in early 2010, Jitendra and his team explored setting up the software in a clustered environment using Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC). In October 2010, working with representatives from Microsoft and SAP, Infosys began its implementation.
Infosys set up a Windows cluster across two of its data centers, consolidating its hardware from 30 nodes to two four-node clusters. It deployed two new SAP modules—for a total of 15—and upgraded to Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise and SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise. The software was deployed on HP ProLiant DL785 and HP ProLiant BL680 server computers. During the deployment, Infosys:
- Grouped databases for multiple SAP solutions logically and consolidated them into the two four-node clusters (five multiterabyte databases on one cluster and seven smaller databases on the other).
- Installed ASCS/SCS—the central services of SAP—on a WSFC cluster set up on virtual machines, along with the primary application server.
- Used Hitachi True Copy for storage replication between the two data centers.
- Took advantage of page-level compression in SQL Server 2008 R2 to decrease the size of the ECC and business warehouse databases.
The deployment, which was completed in April 2011, went smoothly. “We were able to resolve any issues in a relatively short time,” says Maurya. “When questions arose, the representatives from Microsoft and SAP got together and came up with answers. We were impressed by that.” Benefits
The consolidation of the hardware and SAP solutions and the upgrade to SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise and Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise have helped Infosys become more competitive. The company can use its mission-critical SAP applications more efficiently at less cost—without sacrificing performance or availability.Improved Competitiveness While Maintaining High Availability
Infosys has gained a solution that can easily scale up as the company grows, while maintaining high availability. Although the company has not formally measured performance, the day-to-day experience of users has confirmed their quick access to data. “With SQL Server 2008 R2, we have streamlined our infrastructure for our mission-critical SAP applications without sacrificing performance or availability at any time for our 141,822 employees,” says Jitendra. “Nor have we had any unscheduled downtime, so this solution should help us get to market faster. And because the Windows cluster greatly reduces the complications and time to failover and failback after a disaster-recovery event—or even regular data-center maintenance—recovery will be quick without any data loss.” By using the latest Intel Nehalem processors and Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise, Infosys achieved high reliability, availability, and serviceability at a reasonable cost.Increased Resource Efficiency with Consolidation and Reduced Databases
With its new architecture and the data compression capabilities of SQL Server 2008 R2, Infosys has reduced the number of computers from 30 to 8. In addition, says Jitendra, “We were able to cut the size of our largest database—the SAP business warehouse database—by 70 percent and our SAP ECC database by 80 percent. That saved considerable space.” The business warehouse database went from 2.2 terabytes to 675.8 gigabytes (GB), and the ECC database went from 1.8 terabytes to 368.5 GB. Overall, with the reduced database sizes and fewer servers, Infosys reduced its data-center requirements by 68 square feet. Lowered Total Cost of Ownership
Because it has reduced its space and hardware needs, Infosys has also reduced its cooling costs. Fewer servers and a streamlined system have also lowered management expenses. “Maintenance is typically 6.5 percent of annual server expenses,” says Jitendra. “So we have dramatically cut our maintenance costs.” When Infosys compares itself to other IT services companies with conventional architectures and more expensive database solutions, it believes the low TCO of its new solution will give it a significant competitive edge.Microsoft Server Product Portfolio
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