Chicago, IL-based Viskase supplies cellulose, fibrous, and plastic casings for the processed meat and poultry industries. The 85-year old company, which earns $300 million per year in revenue, employs over 1,300 people and manages manufacturing and distribution facilities in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.
To meet a growing need for improved business continuity, Viskase was looking for an SAP disaster recovery solution that replicated its production environment. The company was using a traditional tape backup solution and stored tapes at an off-site location. Debbie Ryzner, IT Manager at Viskase, describes the company’s position: “Specifically, we wanted a service with a location separate from our primary datacenter, a lower-cost solution than tape backup, and one that could reduce downtime and ramp-up quickly in the event of a major failure or disaster at the datacenter.”
Why Amazon Web Services
Viskase chose Amazon Web Services (AWS) based on the recommendation of its service provider partner, Protera Technologies, an Advanced Consulting Partner with the AWS Partner Network (APN). Protera Technologies supports SAP services for Viskase as well as other hosting and application management services. “AWS provides unparalleled enterprise networking capabilities, speed to provision, and the ability to copy SAP system environments quickly,” says Patrick Osterhaus, President of Protera Technologies. “All these features provide a state-of-the-art disaster recovery platform.” Ryzner adds, “We saw AWS as the leader in cloud services and wanted to enjoy the benefits of cloud computing and enhanced disaster recovery. AWS is a cost-effective option to keep online data recovery systems synchronized with our production environment. The fact that AWS supports SAP systems accelerated the decision process.”
Protera Technologies designed and implemented the solution and maintains the environment for Viskase. The synchronized disaster recovery system uses one Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC). When running tests to ensure the system produces expected results, Viskase provisions additional Amazon EC2 instances. The figure below provides a diagram of the implementation.
Figure 1. Viskase Architecture on AWS
Since implementing the AWS solution, Viskase improved its time to restore service from two days to less than an hour. The IT department expanded the disaster recovery solution to include all countries using their current SAP instance, which delivers a nearly 100 percent uptime commitment. “We will use AWS to distribute disaster recovery resources across multiple independent AWS regions to improve business continuity,” notes Ryzner. Looking ahead, Viskase plans to evaluate the AWS disaster recovery solution for South America. Viskase is also considering using AWS for its non-SAP systems, such as its Microsoft Windows Server platforms.
“We realized limited SAP downtime and an anticipated 50% cost savings using AWS for disaster recovery of our SAP environment. We also save 20 days of labor that it previously took to build a disaster recovery solution for our annual tests,” says Ryzner. “The system has proven to be a scalable, reliable and cost-effective disaster recovery solution.”