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A successful quest for exceptional performance and peace of mind – while reducing costs

RONNY GILISEN, EUROPESE ITS MANAGER SBHPP


For   decades,   Sumitomo   Bakelite   High   Performance   Plastics  (SBHPP)  has been producing     chemical     compounds like resins and glass fibre. To ensure its ERP system  is  just  as  performant  as  its  chemicals  –  without  major  hardware  investments  –  SBHPP  migrated  its  on-premise  AS400  hardware  to  a  shared  power  hosting  platform at the Cegeka data center in Hasselt.

“Our  current  ERP  system  was  running  on  decades-old  IBM  AS400  technology,”  says  Ronny  Gilisen,  European  ITS manager at SBHPP. “It had done a great job for many, many  years,  but  it  could  no  longer  guarantee  the  24/7  availability that we required. Moreover, there were fewer and  fewer  people  who  knew  the  system’s  ins  and  outs.  Replacing the servers with a new on-premise alternative was  economically  unviable,  as  we  had  solid  plans  to  migrate   to   the   SAP   HANA   platform   –   with   related   hardware.” 

Positive experiences

As  SBHPP  had  to  keep  the  existing  ERP  platform  up  and  running  for  several  more  years  and  it  could  no  longer  stretch  the  limits  of  the  servers, they decided to look for an alternative. The choice was an easy one,  as  Cegeka  runs  SBHPP’s  Windows  and  Citrix  servers  at  its  data  center in Hasselt. Moreover, Ronny is an ex-Cegeka employee himself, who  had  successfully  led  IBM  AS400  upgrade  projects  in  the  past.  He  knew exactly what he wanted: to run the ERP system on Cegeka’s shared power hosting platform in order to ensure absolute peace of mind.

Four steps towards power hosting

As all three SBHPP sites run different instances of the ERP system, the migration was handled on a site-by-site basis, kicking off in Genk. Each time  it  was  a  four-step  project,  which  implied  quite  a  bit  of  analysis  and  planning  to  identify  potential  conversion  difficulties  and  estimate  the  time  needed.  After  the  preparations,  Cegeka  first  upgraded  the  outdated IBM hardware to four versions higher. The project team then analyzed  all  the  objects  to  decide  which  would  need  conversion  and  which  could  be  kept.  Only  then  could  Cegeka  migrate  the  ERP  system  from  the  AS400  server  to  its  own  power  platform.    Extensive  testing  helped make sure that everything would run smoothly. 

Complete peace of mind

“In the end everything did indeed run smoothly, even though our project management went astray here and there,” Ronny admits. “Cegeka, for their part, were incredibly flexible and always ready to help. That really was one of the keys to the project’s success.”

With  the  ERP  system  now  running  on  Cegeka’s  power  servers,  the  system  performance  has  improved  impressively,  as  the  servers  are  much more powerful. Moreover, as Cegeka also houses both the iSeries and Citrix servers, data and files such as Excel documents are exchanged at  lighting  speed.  Ronny  adds  that  the  model  now  ensures  complete  peace  of  mind  while  reducing  costs:  “Although  we  still  have  an  active  role in the management process, we don’t have to worry about server reliability, security, maintenance or updates. Proactive notifications help us prevent issues. And cost-wise, we keep expenditures and operational costs  to  a  minimum,  thanks  to  the  predictable  monthly  pay-as-you-use model. I truly believe that this model is the way forward!”

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“We don’t have to worry about server reliability, security, maintenance or updates, and we can keep operational costs low at the same time.”


Challenges

  • The current ERP system was
    running on decades-old IBM AS400
    technology.
  • The ERP system could no longer
    guarantee the required 24/7
    availability.
  • Replacing the servers with a new on-
    premise alternative was economically
    inviable.

Solutions

  • The ERP system now runs on Cegeka’s
    shared power hosting platform.
  • Data and files are exchanged at lighting speed thanks to Cegeka’s hosting of both the iSeries and Citrix servers.
  • The migration was handled on a site-by-site basis due to different instances of the ERP system.

Solution



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