With an extensive IT infrastructure based on SAP software, CLP Power Hong Kong found itself faced with multiple challenges when it tried to update its software and hardware and improve its speed in delivering customer-focused marketing campaigns. The answer came in a migration to an x86-based, 64-bit server platform.
"We began having problems with our SAP system where we had programs terminating because they were out of memory due to the limitations of traditional 32-bit server platforms," says Andre Blumberg, technology and architecture manager for CLP, a provider of electricity power generation, distribution, and retail services to 2.2 million customers in Hong Kong.
Simultaneously, CLP was looking to complete upgrades to several of its SAP implementations and was preparing for a normal five-year replacement cycle for its associated servers.
When CLP began looking at this issue three years ago, Blumberg understood that problems associated with its SAP implementations were tied primarily to memory limitations inherent in the 32-bit processors used in its servers. The 32-bit processors had memory addressability limited to 3 gigabytes, insufficient for many of the SAP applications. Blumberg also knew that 64-bit processors offered virtually unlimited memory addressability. The problem was a lack of alternatives if CLP was going to remain a Windows-based enterprise.
The only readily available alternative was Intel's newest architecture, the 64-bit Itanium. Working with Hewlett-Packard, CLP deployed some test platforms using an Itanium-based server, and experienced good results. "We were actually quite bullish about moving forward with Itanium," Blumberg says.