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Sun Chemical builds two data centers to handle SAP integration

Merging dozens of little IT departments into an SAP infrastructure in two data centers posed challenges for ink supplier Sun Chemical.

Back in 2007, Sun Chemical decided that it would migrate most of its homegrown proprietary software to SAP. The printer ink and pigments company, based in Parsippany, N.J., has locations in 15 countries, each of which had its own IT department, its own proprietary software and, basically, its own way of doing things.

"The only way they could bring all those locations together under one name and one house was to introduce SAP," said Chimdi Ifeakanwa, an IT consultant at Sun Chemical.

But merging them was no small task. The project led to the building of two new data centers -- one for production, and the second for disaster recovery. New hardware came with the project as well, including Intel Itanium-based HP servers and an EMC storage area network.

Sonny Samarakoon, Sun Chemical's technology lead for SAP implementation, said the complex process was managed by separate teams.

The company runs a host of mySAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) products, including modules for financial accounting, quality management and sales. It also implemented other software to assist the integration: workload automation from BMC Software, Java application support with BEA Weblogic, and document and content management with Kofax, OpenText and iFax.

Much of it was done at the recommendation of consultancy Accenture.

When integrating all of these IT departments into two data centers, the question of how to merge all the applications was paramount. In particular, Sun Chemical runs close to 600 batch jobs a day, many of them in-house.

"With the introduction of SAP came the issue of how to run the background processes for SAP that do much of the work," Ifeakanwa said.

Accenture suggested that Sun Chemical look at workload automation software from BMC called Control-M to manage those tasks.

"For an order being placed for some pigment or ink, an order must be sent to a warehouse or lab to get it manufactured," Ifeakanwa said. "Then the client needs to be contacted for shipping, and invoices need to be generated. All these processes with everything in between are being handled by Control-M."

Let us know what you think about the story; email Mark Fontecchio, News Writer. Also, check out our blogs: Data Center Facilities Pro, Mainframe Propeller Head and Server Farming.

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