Delphix Accelerates Development Of Mission-Critical SAP Systems In The Cloud

We asked the Deputy General Manager/Executive Engineer, Information Systems Department, Information Systems Department, Service Design Group, ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Co., Ltd. about the background regarding the introduction and the anticipated efforts.

Please tell us why you needed to introduce Delphix.

The restructuring of the core system was started in 2015 with the aim of making more appropriate decision-making by top management, and improving the efficiency and appropriateness of sales and SE operations. The S4/HANA, which achieved high speed processing with an in-memory database, was used for rebuilding the core system. SAP ERP and SAP BW/BO (Management Accounting/Free Analysis) were able to build a stable and convenient application.

As a result, each division was able to access management information reports on its own and make significant improvements such as grasping the business situation in a timely manner. Even after the start of use, we will continue to focus on function improvement requests from users. We identified issues related to system operation as we improved our applications to improve the efficiency of the front-office department.

Please tell us about your issues.

Testing is essential for developing these applications, such as compliance with laws and regulations, application improvement (addition of functions) for the purpose of further improving work efficiency, and improvement of application processing performance for stable system operation.

That testing requires the latest production data. However, with SAP/HANA, production data increased in capacity every day, and it took a lot of time to prepare a test environment using the production data. By the time the development team had access to the test environment, SAP ERP and SAP BW together required a total of 17 days of lead time, highlighting the following challenges:

  • Impact on project progress: As test environment preparation was very time-consuming, task management within a project became complicated, and this had a major impact on the execution and maintenance of the project overall.
  • Increase in man-hours: There are times when the test environment is unavailable, and each team performs development and test work using test data prepared independently. Many man-hours were required in order to maintain sufficient quality. It was also difficult to adjust the schedule for infrastructure personnel and BASIS personnel as the preparation period for the test environment became longer. 

Please tell us about the history of Delphix.

Delphix has existed since around 2016. At that time, HANA was not supported. HANA is now supported, and I first tried Delphix in the form of PoC.

Before & After: Time required to prepare test environment data

Before & After: Time required to prepare test environment data

Evaluation and Anticipated Impact of Delphix

“Well, it’s certainly fast.” The time required to prepare the test environment was as expected. As a result of verification, we confirmed that data could be copied in a short time. Specifically, the lead time on the 17th has been significantly reduced to one hour. Based on this calculation, we estimate that development man-hours can be reduced by about 30% compared to the past.

While it was not possible to prepare a test environment with the same data section as in the production environment in the BW environment, use of the Delphix software allowed for the data segment to be matched, resulting in improved test quality. In the future, we expect that testing conducted at the time of major overhauls, such as for system compliance, will be effective.

Advantages of Cloud-Based CUVICmc2 (CUBIC MC2)

By using our cloud platform, CUVICmc2, it is possible to respond to changes in the configuration of HW resources (such as changes in CPU and memory allocation) in a short period of time, improving availability in terms of core system operation. In addition, by running Delphix on CUVICmc2, a test environment for multiple projects can be quickly set up. It is also possible to restore the data cross section prepared in the test environment in a short time and improve the quality by repeating the test.

CUVICmc2 is an IaaS service specialized for mission-critical systems, and 97% of customers use it to operate SAP. Note that more than half of the customers who use S/4 HANA have been contracted by various companies of varying sizes in a broad range of industries. There is currently a need for a flexible and reliable cloud not only for new installations but also for existing replacements, and as such we propose combination use in the form of combining Delphix and CUVICmc2, which allows for provision of a more flexible execution platform.

Future Expectations

In the future, in order to further utilize Delphix, we plan to fully automate the preparation of the test environment (data copy, restore, change settings, etc.), build a system that can provide the environment promptly, and expand its use to other systems.

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