implementation study: dell it scales supply chain ... the dell scm system must handle an enormous...

Implementation Study: Dell IT Scales Supply Chain ... The Dell SCM system must handle an enormous number
Implementation Study: Dell IT Scales Supply Chain ... The Dell SCM system must handle an enormous number
Implementation Study: Dell IT Scales Supply Chain ... The Dell SCM system must handle an enormous number
Implementation Study: Dell IT Scales Supply Chain ... The Dell SCM system must handle an enormous number
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  • dell enterprise technology center series


    T he Dell supply chain management (SCM) database systems handle key business functions that support worldwide manufacturing operations, including the efficient Dell inventory management model and fast, direct

    delivery of computers, accessories, parts, and supplies. These

    systems must be designed for reliability and cost-effective scal-

    ability: a failure can cost thousands of dollars per minute in

    factory downtime, and the SCM systems must be able to

    handle increasing workloads as the company grows.

    When Dell was a smaller company than it is now, before

    the development of powerful, industry-standard servers of

    the type that Dell manufactures, the Dell IT group ran its SCM

    database applications on large, expensive, proprietary serv-

    ers based on the UNIX® OS. However, as the company grew,

    servers lacking the necessary capacity had to be replaced

    with even larger, more powerful servers. And because the

    servers were not redundant, updating a single server often

    required shutting down entire systems.

    The increased performance of industry-standard Dell

    PowerEdge servers, however, has enabled Dell IT to create

    cost-effective, highly scalable systems using Oracle Real

    Application Clusters (RAC) 10g. By sharing a large database

    across multiple PowerEdge servers, Dell IT can easily deploy

    additional low-cost servers when necessary to handle

    increased workloads rather than buying additional large,

    expensive, proprietary UNIX-based servers. Dell IT has

    implemented this type of system for Dell operations at mul-

    tiple locations around the world. Using the same processes

    for disaster recovery, backup, and monitoring across all

    Dell operations enables Dell IT to take advantage of a cost-

    effective and readily supported deployment model. This

    article describes how Dell IT migrated its critical SCM appli-

    cations from proprietary UNIX-based servers to industry-

    standard Dell hardware.

    Dell supply chain management The Dell SCM system must handle an enormous number of

    transactions and pieces of information, and includes multi-

    ple core components necessary to keep operations running


    • Configuration management: The configuration manage-

    ment component manages over 1 million Dell part num-

    bers per year across approximately 200 product families,

    and over 2 million bills of materials (BOMs) per year.

    BOMs listing component part numbers are created for

    manufacturing facilities to build assemblies and sub-

    assemblies for Dell products.

    • Procurement: The procurement component manages nearly

    1.8 million purchase order lines per year from more than

    5,000 suppliers worldwide. To streamline the procurement

    process, Dell uses an automated application that includes

    Related Categories:


    Dell Enterprise Technology Center

    Implementation study


    Scalable enterprise


    for the complete category index.

    Implementation Study: Dell IT Scales Supply Chain Management with Oracle RAC 10g When the expensive proprietary servers running the Dell supply chain management systems had reached their limits, the Dell IT group migrated to cost-effective, standards-based Dell™ PowerEdge™ servers running Oracle® Real Application Clusters 10g. This architecture helped enhance database performance while providing scalability for future growth.

    By Dave Jaffe, Ph.D.

    ToDD MuirheaD

    Tiong Tey

    raveenDra avuTu

    reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, May 2007. Copyright © 2007 Dell inc. all rights reserved.

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    workflow approvals and vendor communica-

    tion and enables services such as defective

    part replacement.

    • Cost: The cost component runs mostly in

    batch mode to calculate the costs to Dell for

    all BOMs. These batch jobs run weekly,

    monthly, and quarterly, with each job aggre-

    gating total material costs.

    • Inventory: The inventory component man-

    ages more than 3 million inventory move-

    ments daily from stock rooms to factory

    floors across all Dell sites, along with the

    corresponding 3 million messages transmit-

    ted to different systems for reporting, analy-

    sis, and factory scheduling.

    • Accounts payable: The accounts payable

    component handles approximately 15,000

    items per day, including payments to Dell

    suppliers, invoices, and receipts. Vendor

    information includes vendor ID number,

    location, negotiated terms, and contact


    In addition to these order-related transac-

    tions, the SCM system also runs several other

    batch process jobs to aggregate data each week,

    month, or quarter.

    In the North America region, the Oracle

    Database application for SCM consists of

    approximately 3,000 database objects (func-

    tions, packages, procedures, triggers, tables,

    and views). This SCM system is supported by

    six PowerEdge 2650 application servers, five

    internally developed Web-based applications,

    more than 50 system-to-system integrations,

    approximately 125 batch jobs, and approxi-

    mately 500 user interfaces.

    Previous system: Proprietary UNIX-based servers The previous Dell SCM system used Sun E6000-

    class UNIX-based servers running the Sun

    Solaris 8 OS and Sun Cluster 2.2 (see Figure 1).

    The primary and secondary servers, each with

    16 processors at 336 MHz and 11 GB of memory,

    managed the production database on Oracle

    Database 8.0.6. The disaster recovery server

    had 12 processors at 336 MHz and 6 GB of

    memory. Arrays running the EMC® Symmetrix®

    platform provided disk storage.

    To make the system highly available, Dell IT

    used Sun Cluster to cluster the primary and sec-

    ondary servers in an active/passive configura-

    tion connected to shared disk storage, enabling

    the database to fail over to the passive node if

    the active one failed. The failover was initiated

    when the passive node no longer detected a

    heartbeat signal from the active node. The

    failover disconnected all users, who would then

    have to reconnect to the newly active server.

    Current system: Oracle RAC on Dell PowerEdge servers By 2005, the performance of the proprietary

    system was becoming a concern, with many of

    the batch processes taking a long time to

    complete—the end-of-quarter batch process

    job, for example, could take up to 31 hours. In

    addition, the Oracle Database version was out-

    dated and unsupported, and because it did not

    support Oracle RAC, Dell IT could not add capac-

    ity by horizontal scaling. To continue using this

    system would have required a large investment

    in upgrading these large, expensive servers.

    Instead, Dell decided to migrate to a cost-

    effective, industry standards–based platform,

    Figure 1. Previous Dell supply chain management system based on proprietary UNIX-based servers

    reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, May 2007. Copyright © 2007 Dell inc. all rights reserved.

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  • dell enterprise technology center series


    replacing the Sun servers with Oracle RAC 10g

    clusters of Dell PowerEdge 6650 servers, each

    with four Intel® Xeon® processors (see Figure 2).

    The environment includes a primary cluster and

    two disaster recovery clusters. While the previ-

    ous system could not scale beyond one physical

    server, the current system allows Dell IT to easily

    add servers to the clusters to handle increased

    workloads. The multi-node Oracle RAC architec-

    ture can also provide higher I/O throughput

    than the previous system because of the

    increased number of available interfaces.

    The Oracle RAC 10g architecture includes

    built-in high-availability features. All Oracle RAC

    nodes and instances share the same physical

    database; if any of these experience problems,

    the users and connections can fail over to the

    other nodes or instances. Because this failover

    is seamless and transparent to users, users do

    not have to reconnect, as they did in

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