Auckland-based DB Breweries has spent NZ$1 million on datacentre equipment -- including servers and storage solutions -- from Hewlett-Packard to support its SAP rollout which began in September.
The brewer operates four breweries throughout the north and south islands, and manufactures such brands as Heineken, Tiger and Export for all of New Zealand. DB Breweries employs up to 620 staff, including permanent and casual, across all sales offices and breweries.
Terry Wakefield, technical services team leader, said the previous set-up was insufficient, and to support the full SAP implementation money had to be invested in hardware.
To this end DB Breweries purchased two Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) SAN solutions -- a 4000 and 6000, 11 ProLiant DL385 servers and two ProLiant DL585 units, a MSL 2024 tape storage library and fibre switches. In addition DB Breweries will soon be purchasing another DL585.
For Wakefield the key benefits of its outlay were less administration, in terms of ease-of-use as well as resources, and increased reliability. "This means we can concentrate on the [SAP] project and I won't get a phone call at 3.00am in the morning to say that something's died," he told ZDNet Australia at the sidelines of HP StorageWorks.07 in Vietnam recently.
Wakefield said DB Breweries sat down with Bearing Point, its SAP implementation partner, to discuss what equipment would be needed to support an end-to-end solution. Some of the modules it will implement include financials and sales.
"We looked at a three to five year plan and then put a business case together to present to the board. Everything needs to be justified, you don't throw hardware at a project just to tide it over [in the short term]," Wakefied said.
DB Breweries put its hardware requirements out to tender with IBM, Dell and HP all competing for the contract. Wakefield, like Auckland-based freight forwarding and logistics firm Mainfreight, wanted one vendor to meet all its needs.
"If you are a complete one stop shop there are not many service calls to make to other vendors [if something goes wrong]."
After extensive research which included canvassing 25 professional organisations and government agencies on their opinions, as well as rating competitors and allotting points based on key requirements, HP was awarded the contract.
Virtual support for DR
DB Breweries has also committed to a number of other projects as well as the SAP implementation and datacentre hardware upgrade.
The brewery has invested in VMware's ESX server to ensure minimum downtime in the case of a disaster, such as a server going down or a backup failure.
A [virtual] snapshot of the production environment could be taken on any one day, and according to Wakefield, if a disaster did a occur the snapshot could be replicated and the whole business up and running from a site in Christchurch in 40 minutes.
Additionally, DB Breweries is set to refresh its PC fleet -- which includes laptops and desktops -- when the current lease runs out in May. Wakefield refused to divulge information about its current supplier, but said it would conduct the same weighting process of reliability and support [as for the servers] before deciding on a vendor for the refresh.
The brewery has been trialling five HP models since Christmas, yet Wakefield said it is not a given that it would go with HP.
Despite committing to a refresh, DB Breweries won't take the opportunity to upgrade to Windows Vista. Such a migration is still at least three years away, according to Wakefield. The PC fleet, when refreshed in May, will continue to run Windows XP.
Wakefield said its SAP implementation, and subsequent datacentre refresh, was such a big project that a settling in period was needed before the new operating system was introduced.