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Project Description

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Client

Dentaid

Business

Research, development and sale of oral health products

Sector

Health

Objective

SAP ECC 6 (ERP) migration to AWS

Products and services

SAP ECC, AWS

“Thanks to 3Hold’s experience with SAP systems, we have been able to migrate our SAP on premise to AWS in a totally transparent way for users.”

Rafael Sarrión

TIC Director

The client

Since 1980, the Dentaid Group has focused on improving the oral health of people through state-of-the-art solutions developed by dentists, dental hygienists and pharmacists. The group is founded on values like innovation, rigorousness, commitment and responsibility through which they achieve their goals and bring oral health to the entire population.

The main components of the group are: Dentaid, which produces chemical solutions (mouthwashes and toothpaste) and sells physical and chemical products; PHB, which sells physical products and chemical solutions; and Medical Devices, responsible for the production of physical products (manual and electric toothbrushes, as well as irrigators).

The clients of Dentaid are clinics, pharmacies, parapharmacies, supermarkets, distributors and wholesalers. Its sales force is based on medical visit teams that achieve the prescription of doctors and teams that visit pharmacies.

 

The company has a workforce of more than 400 people, and in 2017 it exceeded the threshold of 100 million euros of turnover for the first time in its history.

Dentaid has a factory in Cerdanyola, where its main offices are also located, and another in Llinars del Vallés, where its logistics center is located; both locations are in the province of Barcelona. In addition, in Spain it has subsidaries in Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Oviedo, Seville and Valencia that complete its commercial network.

Thanks to its internationalization plan, it currently has its own subsidiaries in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Holland, Chile, Colombia and Peru and has a large network of sixty-three distributors located in other countries on five continents.

THE CHALLENGE

One of the initiatives of Dentaid´s Strategic Plan was to homogenize the processes of the subsidiaries with the headquarters and in between the subsidiaries themselves. To do so, Dentaid wanted to make available SAP ERP to them, thus ensuring that these could settle all their operations in a homogeneous way by facilitating employee mobility, while optimizing their processes. From the beginning, the commitment to SAP as a world leader in business software was clear.

Right from the start, 3Hold Technologies advised that the platform should reside in AWS as a network central point to facilitate the access of its international subsidiaries.

On the one hand, when dealing with a Cloud environment, expensive investments were avoided and, on the other hand, since the creation of Cloud systems was much faster than the on-premise ones, the migration of subsidiaries was accelerated to the maximum. This strategy fitted perfectly with Dentaid’s plans, since the migration should be done in three months.

Finally, thanks to its deployment in Cloud and our proposal of a high availability SAP platform with our ScaleSAP software, which allows the Auto Scaling of the application server, two more objectives of the IT department were achieved. First, got the platform to grow with the business; and secondly, that in the event of a disaster a DR system with an RTO of less than 1 hour and an RPO of less than 15 minutes could be provided.

Project requirements

The whole SAP ERP migration must be analyzed carefully and with a holistic perspective, since it´s a key application for the business and has multiple dependencies with other management and integration solutions (SGA, CRM, PI, SOA, BI etc.). In many cases, it may be advisable that everything coexists in the same data network due to the latency between systems; however, in other cases it is not a problem. Having all SAP products on the same platform, managed in the same way, can be highly beneficial regarding their management, in other cases it will be better that the system is in the same platform as users.

At 3Hold Technologies we believe that it is of particular importance for clients to select business partners who not only understand the technical implications of these platforms, but can also understand the underlying business challenges and consequently advise on the solutions that should or should not be the subject of the migration, the order of migration, the ideal time to perform migration, etc.

This approach not only avoids technical problems, but also minimizes the inconveniences to the business of a project like the one described below. For all these reasons, a hybrid architecture was designed based on the use of each environment, taking into account parameters of geographical location, time zone, integrations, etc.

THE SOLUTION

It is important to have technicians who have assimilated the advanced SAP concepts included in a correct design of the SAP application map in AWS.

For example, you must decide when to use the security measures included in the AWS platform itself and when to use those of the application itself.
The SAP infrastructure has different types of instances and the solution that guarantees high availability is different for each of them:

Database instances

Regarding the database servers for SAP environments the AWS platform’s fault tolerance does not provide the necessary guarantees by default to ensure that no data is lost. In AWS, it is not possible to use multicast on your network, thus disabling a cluster-based solution. In this sense, it is the cloud architect who is responsible for establishing the high availability and/or Disaster Recovery strategy for the database.

In our case, we opted for the configuration of two database servers, one in each AWS availability area, within the same region, configured with the SAP HADR solution Synchronous Data Replication with the SAP Replication Server option (Hot Standby), which guarantees and automates the balancing of a secondary server of the DB in case of failure of the main server. This technology allows to balance automatically in both directions between the database servers.

SAP Central Services instances

Together with the database, the SAP Central Service Instances (ASCS and SCS) are the critical points of the SAP technology platform. A failure in these servers directly affects the system availability.

The central service instances were deployed in an Auto Scaling group across multiple Availability Zones, with a maximum and minimum of one active instance. In this way, the AWS platform itself will monitor that there is only one active instance in any of the availability zones included in the group.
To control this possible movement of instances across availability zones, the AWS Route 53 (DNS) service is used, resolving by name the active instance at each moment.

Additional Application Servers (Dialog instances)

If the availability of the database and the central services instances is guaranteed with the solutions explained above, the next point to be resolved was the availability of the SAP application servers. To solve this, we relied on SAP logon groups that guarantee that, if there is at least one active application server, the user will be able to access the system.

This last requirement was achieved thanks to the use of ScaleSAP, a 3Hold Technologies’ product that is capable of automatically scaling the dialog instances according to the demand, always having at least one application server at disposal.

ScaleSAP was configured in an Auto Scaling group across multiple Availability Zones with a minimum of 2, and a maximum of 4 instances. In this way, the platform was given the necessary scalability, without the risk of high increasing costs.

ScaleSAP also requires a central application server that can be replicated during the Auto Scaling process. This central server was configured to handle neither user nor system requests, and it was hosted on the same subnet as the central services instances.

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