High Stability, excellent Performance and low Costs

"PBS ContentLink and IBM DR550 guarantee high stability, excellent performance, and low total costs.“
Michael Ebbeler, head of Information Service/Organization, Bischof + Klein

A continuously increasing volume of data in the SAP system was the deciding factor at the end of 2006 for a comprehensive, three-stage archiving project at Bischof + Klein, a leading European supplier of flexible packaging made of plastic and paper, as well as technical foils. The company was already using several PBS archive add ons (CSD, CPP, CFI, CMM, CCU and CCOPA), that enabled fast and smooth access to archived SAP data. Previously, the SAP archives were stored on disks or in the file system. However, because the volume of data had already risen to 80 gigabytes and was still increasing, the decision was made to look for a more efficient way of storing data.
Of course, the solution also needed to fulfill the German principles for data access and verifiability of digital documents (GDPdU) that define how a company’s data may be directly accessed as required by law. The company wanted to perform archiving not only in order to simplify auditing and compliance but rather because they also wanted to control the flood of data without restricting access to it. Furthermore, they wanted to improve system performance, keep the load on the IT resources as low as possible, and support the IT consolidation. Additional objectives included compatibility with compliant storage systems, high scalability, use on all common platforms, tight integration with SAP systems, and – last but not least – reduced overall costs.

A Convincing Combination

As Bischof + Klein were already using both PBS and IBM products, they also decided to rely upon a proven solution for their data storage strategy and opted for the combined use of IBM DR550 and PBS ContentLink, a slim middleware for connecting SAP and storage system. IBM DR550 was an obvious choice as a secure and inexpensive archiving solution for structured and unstructured data. The rule and event-based data administration protects data against manipulation and deletion and enables data to be stored until the retention rules allow it to be deleted. PBS ContentLink on the other hand has numerous CMS functions and enables a transparent view of the document status. In addition, the solution does not need its own database and has proven itself to be highly scalable due to its web-based architecture. The installation effort was low and enabled a highly reliable configuration even with simple means. Administration of the virtually maintenance-free middleware is performed directly in the SAP System. Another advantage was that it is also possible to search directly for records with linked documents via the Web browser without SAP GUI, using the integrated PBS ContentReader. Today, Bischof + Klein perform archiving regularly on a quarterly basis in order to permanently keep the performance of the complete SAP system at a high level. To ease the load on the database, 650 archive files were moved in a one-off operation from the SAP file system into IBM DR550, which has been used for storing data since then. For this, a back-up copy of the archiving path was first created. Next, the selected data was stored within the archive administration. Finally, the file from the SAP file system was deleted to avoid a duplicate storage of this data.

Protection against worst case scenarios

The IBM system is basically a system that is designed with safety in mind and in which all hardware components have a redundant design. In the event of one of the P-series failing completely, the other one takes over operation. However, the archiving team at Bischof + Klein had to additionally protect themselves against two worst case scenarios: on the one hand, the complete failure of the system and on the other hand, the case where the data was successfully archived on to disk and deleted in the SAP system, but before it could be saved on to tape. However, this horror scenario is avoided if PBS ContentLink is used, since it also provides data to a “Secondary Storage” area at the same time as supplying data to the storage system. A copy of the data is kept here for a limited retention period (for example, for seven days), until the data has finally been saved successfully on to tape. The use of this combined solution therefore enables Bischof + Klein to feel on the safe side when storing SAP data. It is also pleasing to know that in addition to the straight-forward implementation that the team performed completely by themselves, the systems have been operating ever since without a single hitch – just like a black box.

Overview

Country: worldwide
Industry: packaging industry
Staff: around 2300

Company
Bischof + Klein is a leading European full-service supplier of flexible plastic and paper packaging and of technical foils.

Initial Situation
Previously, the SAP archives were stored on disks or in the file system.

Solution
Efficient data storage via PBS ContentLink to the compliant IBM storage system DR550.

Benefit
With simple installation, high scalability, as well as low administrative effort, SAP data can be stored in a compliant way.