The data archiving packaged service is among 35 fixed-price, off-the-shelf add-ons for SAP available online or from a catalogue through an initiative called SAP Direct. Arco is one of the first UK users to buy a SAP packaged service.
When Arco began rolling out SAP three years ago, Paul Nicholson, divisional manager for IT at Arco, anticipated that he would one day need to offload older data in order to maintain system performance. "Archiving is just maintenance but it can quickly turn into a major exercise, which is expensive and ties up your staff," he said.
ERP systems generate data continuously as business transactions are added. Nicholson said transaction throughput on SAP would be affected as the database grew, which would lead to a slow response time for end-users.
Nicholson said, "In order to keep the system running smoothly, we wanted to archive just the standard SAP tables such as sales invoices and old products."
Previously, he said, implementing archiving would have involved at least 10 days' consulting and tied up SAP administrator staff for about a month. Instead Arco purchased SAP's data archiving packaged service.
For a fixed price of £45,000, SAP consultants worked on-site for three days to configure four components within the SAP database for data archiving. The cost included implementation training for Arco's four SAP administrators, providing them with the necessary skills to implement data archiving for the other SAP components that Arco required.
Due to finish this year, Arco's roll-out of SAP involves 22 sites across the UK administered centrally from an HP Proliant server cluster comprising nine application servers and a two-node database server. All the servers are based on Windows 2000 and SQL Server 2000. As a disaster recovery measure, the ERP system is mirrored at another Arco site.