Raiffeisen Informatik Center Steiermark (RICS), known as Raiffeisen Rechenzentrum, is the IT service provider for Raiffeisen Banking Group in Austria. It supplies a complete range of IT services to Raiffeisen banks to support day-to-day operations. The company also serves a growing number of industrial customers and other midsize and large enterprises. In mid-2013, RICS opened Austria’s most high-tech data center.
Raiffeisen Banking Group was expanding use of its SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (SAP BW). As loads increased, RICS faced challenges in meeting service level agreement requirements. It looked to optimize online analytical processing and ensure high data availability for the SAP BW and associated applications to enable approximately 40 users to rapidly produce various management and planning reports, including sales by region and product group.
“We saw response times increasing steadily, with some reports timing out. We had to make a move. It would not have made commercial or technical sense to expand our Power7 AIX database server by adding more memory. Our technical architecture had reached its limits,” said Heiko Held, data center infrastructure manager, RICS.
The company began searching for a solution to significantly improve SAP BW performance. After extensive analysis and evaluation, RICS selected Oracle Exadata Database Machine. The company went live on Oracle Exadata Database Machine X3-2 in just eight weeks.
RICS is very satisfied with its Oracle Exadata deployment. SAP BW performance is now 10x to 20x better than the legacy environment, depending on the report.
“It’s not every day that you receive e-mails from users thanking you for improvements. But, that is exactly what happened after we optimized SAP BW response times and increased productivity thanks to Oracle Exadata. This kind of feedback is very gratifying and shows that Oracle Exadata was the right choice for us,” said Dietmar Schlar, manager, RICS.
Thanks to Oracle Exadata’s combined hardware and software and scalability, RICS can now effectively and efficiently consolidate or simplify its existing database environment (some 40 Oracle Databases it uses for SAP and non-SAP environments). The IT company also laid the foundation to migrate its SAP ECC databases to Oracle Exadata, which will yield additional efficiency and performance improvements.
“This cuts transaction times and speeds up FI/CO usage, as well as reduces the outlay involved in database or SAP operations. We intend to promote our use of Oracle Exadata. One of the biggest projects we have underway at the Raiffeisen Banking Group is a comprehensive bank control system implementation—powered by Oracle Exadata,” Held said.
“The bottom line was that our test and analysis showed Oracle Exadata to be a better solution for us than SAP HANA—from a technology, business, and conceptual viewpoint. The final factor that swung the decision in favor of Oracle Exadata was a visit to an Oracle Exadata customer in Germany, whose experience with the product satisfied our expectations and confirmed for us that it was the right choice,” Schlar said.
During the evaluation stage, RICS thoroughly investigated the performance enhancements that Oracle Exadata could deliver. The company was also impressed with Oracle Exadata’s versatility. The engineered system can support the company’s SAP environment as well as other banking applications. In addition, the solution’s maturity and impressive price-performance ratio—including the time and costs involved in implementation and conversion—also factored heavily into the decision process.
“The implementation process was com¬pletely painless. Essentially, after installation and setup, it was a standard database export and import followed by testing, except for the fact that we had to increase the network connections between the AIX application server and Oracle Exadata Database Machine to support 10 gigabits per second, simply because Oracle Exadata processes and supplies data so fast,” Schlar said.
During the implementation, RICS worked with Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services as well as SAP’s support team. Today, the company’s total database volume is around 500 gigabytes.