Coca Cola fizzes on DB2 savings

Coca-Cola Bottling Consolidated switched from Oracle to IBM DB2 data base in bid to cut cost, and realized other benefits including improved lead time and reduced storage requirements, say company execs.

Coca-Cola Bottling Consolidated (CCBC) was not only able to realize cost savings when it moved from Oracle to IBM DB2 database, it also saw further savings in storage and improvements in lead time, according to company executives.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Thomas DeJuneas, manager of enterprise systems, information systems and services at the U.S.-based bottling company, said cost saving was the primary reason the company switched to DB2. It predicted savings of US$750,000 over five years based on estimates from not having to purchase Oracle's new licenses and maintenance, he added.

CCBC produces, distributes and markets bottled and canned beverage products sold under The Coca-Cola Company.

The company also saw savings from lower storage requirements. Andrew Juarez, CCBC's lead systems specialist of information systems and services, said its DB2 deployment yielded an immediate 40 percent reduction in storage space. "The initial compression brought our database from about 1TB to about 650GB," he said, adding that with DB2 compression, the company's data volume growth decelerated.

"With this compression, we were able to slow down how fast our database was growing. Before, with Oracle, we were growing at 35GB per month. After the move, our growth was 15Gb per month," Juarez added.

After going live with the new system, he said administrators who were on night shift noticed a speedy change to batch jobs related to the company's supply chain processes. This, DeJuneas added, helped improve lead times as DB2 shortened the batch job process from 90 minutes to 30 minutes.

The Charlotte-based executives were in Singapore last week on IBM's invitation as a customer reference to local companies.

DB2 move prompted by SAP upgrade
CCBC's journey to DB2 began in 2008 when the company needed to upgrade its SAP R/3 Enterprise system to SAP ERP 6.0 which, DeJuneas revealed, would have required the company to upgrade its existing Oracle database and purchase new Oracle licenses.

Juarez noted that SAP applications run only on selected database, namely, Oracle, Microsoft SQL server and DB2. He added that The Coca-Cola Company inks licensing deals on behalf of its subsidiaries but was unable to renegotiate a new agreement with Oracle based on the previous contract terms.

DeJuneas said The Coca-Cola Company had signed a deal with SAP and IBM to acquire DB2 licenses which was more attractive in terms of cost, compared to Oracle licensing fees. "Even though we didn't have DB2 experience in-house, the dollar savings [from the IBM deal] was something to look at," he said.

With few customer references to check with, Juarez said the company did its own research and used Oracle as a benchmark to assess the feasibility of moving to DB2. "We already know what Oracle can do for us. So we wanted to know if IBM-DB2 could match up," he said.

After a two-month test period, he found that DB2 was able to offer the same functionality as an Oracle system. With the cost savings in mind, the company made the switch, he added.

Prior to the migration, Juarez revealed that his knowledge of Oracle databases spanned 12 years and he had no skills in DB2. However, IBM offered two-class training that was designed specifically for administrators schooled in Oracle database, he said. This, alongside a five-day training class with SAP and the two-month testing period, were "enough" for CCBC to get through the deployment, he said.

The migration to DB2 took eight months, said DeJuneas.

Juarez noted that all SAP applications are optimized to run on DB2. In comparison, DeJuneas said it would take about two year for new SAP applications to be optimized for Oracle database.

Juarez added that Oracle's move into the ERP space through various acquisitions has put the software vendor in direct competition with SAP. While the latter cannot afford to ignore support for Oracle databases, it has been beefing up its partnership with other database companies, specifically by optimizing its products on IBM systems, he said.