Billion Dollar Plastics Manufacturer

Challenge

During its rapid growth journey to becoming a billion dollar company, this leading plastics manufacturer ended up with islands of IT infrastructure at its 30+ factories all over the country. Anybody could tell that it was highly beneficial to consolidate all that infrastructure into a single data center. But saying is one thing and doing it in a manufacturing company that has been in operation for many decades is another thing.

Solution

Enter Unique Solutions. With our consultative approach that is undergirded by a spirit of partnership, we went beyond technical issues and factored in the role played by cultural issues in enabling digital transformation in a company with such rich legacy. We designed a new data center around HPE HANA Appliance and HPE Service Guard to serve as the backbone for the company’s new SAP HANA installation. In the absence of any historical data on SAP, we drew from our past experience of similar SAP HANA sites to carry out database sizing for the customer. We proposed Memory Preload and Dual-Purpose Architecture as two alternatives along with HPE Center of Excellence support. In addition, we proposed a robust Disk-to-Disk backup solution for both alternatives. We involved the company’s key stakeholders and got them onboard with the new centralized infrastructure architecture by getting them to see how it fulfilled High Availability and Business Continuity, which were their two key requirements. We also went beyond our brief in helping the company implement the best practice of storing a copy of Production data backup outside the Primary Site. Instead of the standard practice of physically transporting tapes between the Primary Site and the Disaster Recovery site, we recommended online replication of the backup between the two sites.

Outcome

The “differential backup” replication style proposed by us ensured that the replication did not demand a separate link between the two sites. Because only changed data was getting replicated, the replication could be accommodated within a small portion of the existing high-speed link anyway required for enabling business continuity. Our advice for backup replication proved visionary.

During the recent coronavirus pandemic outbreak, it would have proved difficult to physically transport tapes between the primary and secondary sites. Our replication strategy eliminated the need for doing so and thereby minimized the amount of workforce that would need to be physically present at the two sites. It also eliminated administrative headaches involved in applying and getting e-passes during the recent lockdowns in various parts of the country and reduced risks to people who knew plastics best. We would like to believe that it is a testimony of our superior SAP HANA infrastructure design capabilities that the hardware and software sized and installed by us has supported a 50% growth in the customer’s SAP HANA user count - from 1200 to 1800 users - without any downtime or need for upgrades for over three years.