IT Firm Improves Database Performance and Helps Bottler Deliver Products Faster

(For more information about other Microsoft customer successes, please (Customer: DatafloWebsite: Size: 150 employees Country or Region: South AfricaIndustry: Professional services—IT servicesCustomer ProfileDataflo is a South African IT services company that provides SAP consulting, implementation, and support. One of its key clients and shareholders is Coca-Cola Sabco, a multinational Coca-Cola bottler with operations in seven African and two Asian countries. Dataflo and Dimension Data offer full-service outsourcing to Coca-Cola Sabco, including a private cloud SAP solution hosted by Dimension Data.Solution SpotlightCuts database size from 5 terabytes to 1, improving system performance and contributing to faster product delivery.Lowers backup times from 11 hours to 5, lessening downtime in the event of a disaster.Uses less disk space, saving money on disk storage for the next four years.)

Microsoft SQL Server

Customer Solution Case Study

IT Firm Improves Database Performance and Helps Bottler Deliver Products Faster

“SQL Server 2008 R2 helps us give Coca-Cola Sabco the performance and efficiency needed to ensure that retailers are stocked at the right levels, which results in fewer lost sales.”

Rogan Moore, COO, Dataflo

Dataflo provides IT support for Coca-Cola Sabco, a multi-national Coca-Cola bottler with operations in 9 countries. Dataflo wanted to find a better-performing database solution to keep up with fast growth at Coca-Cola Sabco. By implementing Microsoft data management software, Dataflo has cut its database size from 5 terabytes to 1, improving performance and helping Coca-Cola Sabco get products to customers faster. Dataflo has also reduced backup times from 11 hours to 5 and will save money by reducing disk storage space.

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.

Document published May 2012

Business Needs

Dataflo is an IT services provider formed from a merger between leading global IT company Dimension Data and Coca-Cola Sabco, a multinational Coca-Cola bottler. Based in Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg, South Africa, Dataflo manages all IT operations for Coca-Cola Sabco. In addition, Dataflo offers SAP consulting, implementations, IT services and hosting, as well as network and server management and strategic consulting. The company also has customers in other industries including automotive and pharmaceutical. It has delivered SAP projects to customers in China, the Philippines, Singapore, the United States, and other countries.

Business for Coca-Cola Sabco has grown rapidly, and Dataflo needed to find a better-performing database solution to keep up with that growth. “We’ve seen a steady increase in transaction volumes in the Coca-Cola Sabco SAP system over the past few years,” says Rogan Moore, COO, Dataflo. “Each morning, Coke products are packed and loaded onto trucks for delivery to stores. When those trucks return, often at the same time, the drivers all have to settle the day’s loads in the SAP ERP system.” This puts a large demand on Microsoft SQL Server 2005 data management software, which supports a large SAP ERP and business intelligence (BI) environment at Coca-Cola Sabco. The SAP ERP production environment has six application servers, and the BI environment has three application servers. The ERP system averages about 750,000 transactions per day. “Improved database performance was essential,” Moore remarks.

Additionally, the Coca-Cola Sabco database is growing fast. “The database is up to 5 terabytes and growing every day, resulting in more investment in disk and increased backup and restore timelines,” says Moore.

Dataflo also needed to reduce the backup time at the Coca-Cola Sabco disaster-recovery site. “The database is more and more active all the time,” says Zani Richardson, SAP Solutions Architect, Dataflo. “There is only a small window of time when the system is not very busy.” There was a need to reduce the backup window even more and use disk space in the most efficient way.”

Dataflo decided to investigate new database offerings in September 2011.


Dataflo knew it wanted to stick with Microsoft SQL Server technology. “Every three years, as the SAP systems get bigger, we re-evaluate our database technology,” says Moore. “We always come back to SQL Server, from a price-for-performance point of view, because as our database grows, new SQL Server releases get better at handling larger chunks of data.”

Dataflo and Coca-Cola Sabco made the decision to upgrade to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise so it could benefit from new features designed to improve database performance. For instance, SQL Server 2008 R2 contains built-in data compression and backup compression features that can help enterprises save storage space by storing more data per gigabyte of space. Database compression can also improve performance because less space is used to store the same number of data rows, and more data can fit in the SQL Server memory cache. With database compression, Dataflo also knew it could reduce backup times by restoring compressed backups faster.

In late 2011, Dataflo implemented SQL Server 2008 R2 on HP ProLiant DL980 G7 server computers. “The production server was running at about 90 percent disk utilization, so there was a need to upgrade,” says Moore. The new solution controls 12 SAP modules that are used in 7 countries by 1,300 Coca-Cola Sabco employees who work in sales and distribution, production, warehousing, finance, procurement, and BI.

Dataflo also deployed a new solution for Coca-Cola Canners.. Based on Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V 2.0, it contains virtualized instances of SQL Server 2008 R2 and SAP application layers.

Benefits (Software and ServicesMicrosoft Server Product PortfolioMicrosoft SQL Server 2008 R2 EnterpriseWindows Server 2008 R2Windows Hyper-V 2.0HardwareHP ProLiant DL980 G7 server computers)

With its SQL Server 2008 R2 solution, Dataflo has reduced the Coca-Cola Sabco production database size by 80 percent, and Coca-Cola Sabco can deliver products to customers faster. The company has also reduced its database backup window and will save money on disk storage.

Improves Database Performance and Helps Get Products to Customers Faster

Using SQL Server 2008 R2, Dataflo was able to reduce the size of the Coca-Cola Sabco database from 5 terabytes to 1. “This really improved the performance and overall speed of the system,“ says Richardson. As a result, SAP applications are more efficient, and delivery drivers can get products to customers faster. “For Coca-Cola Sabco, it’s not just about production and sales; it’s about distribution,” says Moore. “The key is getting the right products to the right customer at the right time to avoid lost sales. SQL Server 2008 R2 helps us give Coca-Cola Sabco the performance and efficiency needed to ensure that retailers are stocked at the right levels, which results in fewer lost sales.”

Reduces Backup Time by 55 Percent

Dataflo has also taken advantage of the SQL Server 2008 R2 database compression features to restore its backups faster than before. “With SQL Server 2008 R2, we have been able to reduce our backup times from 11 hours to 5 hours,” says Richardson. “That’s a huge advantage for us, and it also gives us confidence that the critical systems we support will have less downtime in the event of a major disaster. This was one of the main reasons we implemented this solution.”

Saves Money by Reducing Disk Storage

With the Microsoft solution, Dataflo is using less disk space. “The Coca-Cola Sabco production database is growing by a half-terabyte every six months, so the company has been spending a lot of money on disk storage,” says Richardson. “By reducing the terabytes, we won’t need another disk for the next four years. That gives Coca-Cola Sabco a big cost saving in the future, and it gives us the improved system efficiency and cost savings that we needed.” Chantal van Niekerk, CIO, Coca-Cola Sabco, agrees. “Instead of buying disk space, we can now spend those funds on innovations to serve our customers, and at the same time unlock greater efficiencies from our current IT environment.”

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