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Rev-Trac helps Valero upgrade SAP BW and switch to HANA

In a digital world, organizations need to respond quickly to business demands and customer expectations to survive. Rev-Trac enabled Valero to reduce risk and eliminate dual maintenance efforts while meeting strict timeline objectives for the transformation.

Company snapshot

HQ Texas, USA
Industries Oil & Gas
Services include Gasoline, diesel fuel, Ultra-low-sulfur diesel, jet fuel, asphalt, petrochemicals, lubricants
Employees 1,015 [as of January 2018]

Valero Energy Corporation, through its subsidiaries, is an international manufacturer and marketer of transportation fuels, petrochemical products and power. It operates 15 petroleum refineries with a combined throughput capacity of approximately 3.1 million barrels/day and 14 ethanol plants producing 1.73 billion gallons.

In a digital world, enterprises need to respond quickly to business and consumer demands, and access real-time information to drive innovative action. To keep pace, Valero decided to make the switch from an Oracle database to SAP HANA for significant improvements in performance. At the same time, the business had to upgrade SAP BW from 7.3 to 7.4 to take advantage of HANA’s speed.

For Valero the challenge was twofold. Firstly, it had to complete the entire project in a year. And, secondly, the IT team had to keep its BW N and N+1 environments in sync while minimizing risk.

Simple, enforced workflow equals success

To keep its multiple SAP landscapes in sync during the upgrade, Valero utilized Rev-Trac – an automated SAP change management platform. Rev-Trac has been integral to Valero’s SAP change and release management practices since 2006.

The Valero team wanted to perform the retrofit synchronization when changes were migrated to their test system. Valero had four projects going live before BW, and changes were being made to BW as the business was doing their shift and lift. The team had to support the projects and required changes while ensuring the changes would work in both environments. There was no opportunity to make corrections after the cutover to HANA.

Patrick Flinn, Valero’s senior manager of BI and senior manager on the project, said Rev-Trac’s cloning functionality and overtake and overwrite protection system (OOPS) would ensure environment synchronization with a simple workflow.

“Simplicity is the key to success,” Mr. Flinn said. “I estimate we saved 1,000 hours on dual maintenance as a result of Rev-Trac’s retrofit capability.”

Maintain consistency and eliminate business disruption

Valero’s BW project involved upgrading from 7.3 to 7.4 on Oracle and then migrating the whole database to HANA. The team needed to replicate the entire Oracle BW landscape to conduct multiple rounds of HANA upgrade, migration and testing.

Rev-Trac was configured to automatically manage their break-fix and ongoing project development to maintain consistency and improve regression test results. This freed up resources for issues related to the upgrade instead of redundant break-fix retrofit management.

As part of the transformation, Valero needed to capture all BAU changes and reapply them in the project track. The team took advantage of Rev-Trac’s cloning – automatic capture and reapplication – capabilities to reduce errors and prevent business disruptions.

With Rev-Trac, Valero could copy and upgrade DEV and replicate it on HANA, resulting in one DEV system on Oracle and one on the HANA database. The DEV systems were copied, upgraded and migrated to TEST and then PRODUCTION. The goal – all upgraded systems needed to operate successfully on Oracle and HANA in their respective tracks. Then Valero could switch off Oracle and the much faster HANA versions would take over.

Successfully manage a dual landscape

Valero was migrating changes across six parallel systems in dual-landscape retrofit environments. The workflow to support duplicated parallel systems enforced a dual process for testing. Changes had to be documented and signed off for both the HANA and Oracle tracks before being migrated to production on the primary Oracle side.

Mr. Flinn said the transport organization and the dependencies built around Rev-Trac testing gave Valero confidence that the changes would succeed.

“We used Rev-Trac’s cloning process everywhere we could,” he said. “When we could not use cloning, we made BW changes directly in HANA DEV for Rev-Trac to migrate in a non-clone dependent mechanism.”

Custom workflow keeps development in sync

On the Oracle BW side, once a change request was approved Rev-Trac would automatically run an OOPS test. If there were no conflicts the transports were migrated to the HANA server/development test box with everything staying in sync.

Mr. Flinn said Rev-Trac’s OOPS functionality ensured we identified the right things and gave developers an always-current “punch list” of exceptions.

“The OOPS process and its documentation of what was done in previous environments were really helpful,” he said.

The Bottom Line

Rev-Trac’s OOPS and cloning capabilities helped to reduce risk and eliminate manual dual maintenance during the transformation. More than 1000 man-hours were saved and without the need to add staff the cost of the project was minimized.

Mr. Flinn said its 12 months transformation timeline was achievable largely due to the simplifying change management across multiple landscapes using Rev-Trac’s cloning process.

“Rev-Trac performed as expected with no surprises, no downtime, no errors and with the flexibility to meet some very specific requirements.”