Grup Barcelonesa: successful SAP Cloud migration


At its headquarters located in Barcelona, the group investigates, finds and distributes the best chemical products in the market, as well as actively developing new solutions through their I+D+i department.

About Grup Barcelonesa: Since 1942, Group Barcelonesa imports and distributes commodity products for a broad selection of professional sectors at an international level. They closely work with clients and suppliers, transporting and stocking goods in the most suitable way in order to guarantee maximum security.

THE CHALLENGE

Grup Barcelonesa´s main challenge was the successful migration of their SAP systems to the cloud maintaining or even incrementing their performance. On top of this, the company is located in an industrial logistics’ park, jeopardising the internet connection power and reliability, in order to make any changes without affecting customers and the business.

The transformation goes from a high on-premises environment (Oracle Enterprise, Sun SPARC, Fibre Channel SAN Storage)

to a cloud environment, changing the underlying architecture to Windows Server and SQL Server database.

This project became the first one with such characteristics in Spain, considering the architecture in the cloud in multiple AWS Availability Zones in the configuration of SQL Servers on its active-active operations.

If proven successful, this achievement could benefit many other medium and large companies.

It was essential to have all SAP ERP components of the traditional architecture in High Availability. As important was also to incorporate the necessary ecosystem services for its proper performance including: domain controllers, printing or backup systems

In order to achieve these goals, Linke, in collaboration with Capside, proposed a Proof of Concept (PoC) before accomplishing a reliable, previously tested, successful migration. This process was achieved within a weekend, ensuring 100% the continuity of the business.

THE SOLUTION

After the analysis, learning and audit steps, the solution was proposed: migrate a traditional SAP ERP System, already operating in the company, into AWS. In doing so, the most important premise was to minimise the impact for the users in regards to response time, migration and operation.

Such migration implied a change of platform (from Sun Solaris to Microsoft), as well as database management (from Oracle to SQL Server).

Those changes deployed on Amazon Web Services, meant a highly cost reduction in licensing and infrastructure.

The key aspect of the project, in order to achieve High Availability, was the SQL server database. It was suggested the installation with SQL Server AlwaysOn, even though there was no precedent for it.

Neither was any prior official documentation to a similar deployment.

“Company staff left the office on a Friday afternoon and they came back the following Monday, to start using SAP on a cloud-based environment instead of on-premises. The main difference was that everything was running faster, reducing backup costs, simplifying operation and improving business continuity”.
Jordi Garcia, CIO @ Grup Barcelonesa

As a result of this successful project, some of the benefits for Grup Barcelonesa are highlighted below:

  • Considerable savings in licencing and infrastructure costs.
  • SAP ERP migration outside working hours (less than 48 hours on a weekend).
  • Acceleration in server consolidation, improving connectivity and networking on external and internal network.
  • No downtimes, by using different datacentres, geographically detached and redundancy of elements.

A migration like this, with all company critical systems that can affect the business in many different levels, was only possible to perform upon the certainty that all controversial aspects were taken into account, assuring the business continuity. Linke contributed significantly through its broad knowledge on SAP migrations, being responsible for the software implementation. On the other side, Capside looked after the architecture’s design, deployment and migration, as well as the service launch and 24/7 operation and maintenance. The migration project ended successfully and with no incidents.

THE FUTURE

Grup Barcelona will continue relying on Linke for its SAP application maintenance and Capside for its operations and 24/7 maintenance for its cloud infrastructure.

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