Competitive pressures forced Goodlass Nerolac Paints (GNPL)
to adopt enterprise software and centralise its IT infrastructure
The competitive situation brought in by globalisation led
Jason Gonsalves, Vice-president, IT & Costing, GNPL to consolidate the organisations
distributed applications. IT was identified as one of the key vehicles
to bring about the change to deal with global competition. Technology had matured
sufficiently by 2000 to consider a centralised environment and a process-based
approach, says Gonsalves.
Today, GNPL is a leading player operating in two segmentsdecorative and
industrial paints. In the industrial segment it is the market leader with over
45 percent marketshare. Clubbing the industrial and decorative paint segments
together, it is the second largest player in the paint industry with a marketshare
of approximately 20 percent. The organisation operates out of five factories
and 65 depots spread across India.
Order from Chaos
GNPL decided to move from a legacy
decentralised mode of working to a SAP ERP system. At the same time, it
deployed data warehousing from SAS
GNPL decided to get its infrastructure in shape in 2000. At
that time, the organisation ran a legacy application built around Cobol and
Unix. This was a decentralised IT set-up with applications spread across 65
locations and 65 servers. Five of its factories had five different servers,
and the head office had its own servers. All these necessitated a backbone
and thats where the servers came. The key point was not to change servers,
but respond to business needs. However, the platform was the same throughout
the organisation, explains Gonsalves.
GNPL decided to move on from the legacy decentralised mode of working to a SAP
ERP system. At the same time, it deployed data warehousing from SAS. Because
the company had a Unix-Cobol platform throughout the organisation, the idea
of a centralised architecture was easy to sell. The projects were started together
in early 2000, and they went live by November that year.
The Supporting Backbone
The server farm was set up in 2000 on the SAP R/3 platform. Seven Sun servers
were used for this infrastructure. A clustered database with a backup solution
from Sun was deployed. However, due to the high data growth (14 to 16 GB per
month) generated by SAP R/3, GNPL went in a data archiving system using an Intel
server from Wipro.
A supply chain solution using SAP Advanced Planner and Optimiser (APO) was next
in line in 2003. This called for augmentation of the server architecture. For
this, GNPL added four more servers from Sun. When we carried out server
sizing, we had values as high as 40 GB of RAM. Today it is being used in a server
which has 48 GB of RAM, Gonsalves adds.
GNPL switched from SAS data warehousing to SAP Business Intelligence Warehouse
(BIW) in 2003. This required three more Sun servers, which has resulted in the
creation of a farm of more than 15 RISC servers. GNPL has also implemented a
SAN solution. The database of all three applications is now attached to one
single SAN box from EMC.
Serving the Future
GNPL also decided to consolidate the servers in 2006. Says Gonsalves, We
worked jointly with Sun and Wipro for consolidating the servers. We have now
worked out a solution where we have consolidated the three layers (Applications,
QA and Production) of R/3, BIW and APO as also APO LC on to seven servers.
The solution is now under implementation at GNP.
With updates from Priya Jain