Zag solves enterprise data copy challenge for LIC

Published on the 15/09/2015 | Written by Zag

Livestock Improvement Corp



  • Primary industries


  • Provide enterprise data copy solution to facilitate improved testing while eliminating unacceptable downtime window.


  • EPI USE Labs Data Sync Manager implemented by Zag


  • Copy of production data rapidly created for test purposes
  • ‘Real’ data delivers dependable test results
  • Dramatic reduction in system downtime (from 9 days to 1 hour) for testing
  • Dramatic improvement in production system availability and performance
  • 66 percent reduction in copy data volume


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T: +64 9 571 7100
T: +64 4 472 1897
T: +61 2 8520 3797

Faced with a necessity to copy large volumes of data between business systems, Livestock Improvement Corporation looked to Zag for a better solution…

With the delivery of EPI-USE Labs’ Data Sync Manager for SAP, a business process which once took nine days was compressed into just one hour, delivering a dramatic improvement in performance.

Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) is one of the oldest farmer-owned cooperatives in New Zealand, working to increase livestock performance and yield through genetics and proprietary processes. It has grown from humble beginnings over a hundred years ago to become a market-leading, multi-hundred-million-dollar company, with offices around the world and in excess of 2000 staff during peak seasons.

LIC has grown dramatically over the last 5 years, and, together with a larger organisation came a substantial increase in the business and customer data resident in its SAP ERP system. As with all software, updates to the SAP solution were periodically required; before any update can go ‘live’ it has to be tested to ensure there will be no disruption to the company’s operations.

This necessitated the creation of a copy of the SAP system for testing – and that, in turn, required a production outage. For the SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) and CRM systems, this had meant a 13-hour shutdown, during which the system could not be used. This was further compounded by testing procedures which could cause delays of up to nine days.

A further issue that LIC faced was increasing data storage costs, with test environments necessitating the provision of additional resources from its an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider.

With such a situation untenable for the company, it sought a solution which would allow for rapid information copy, reduce the utilisation of database capacity and deliver the copies of production systems without interruption.

LIC engaged with SAP specialist Zag for a better solution. Zag had no hesitation in recommending EPI-USE Labs’ Data Sync Manager. One of the modules, Client Sync, enables data to be time-sliced, proved unbeatable as a space and cost saver.

Using the EPI-USE Labs tools, Zag has helped LIC to dramatically reduce its data footprint and the time taken to copy data. With each of the CRM and ERP systems initially containing around 300GB of transactional data, the application of Data Sync Manager has reduced the size to around 100GB each.

In practice, purely from a capacity perspective, LIC’s team can now build 3 instances using the same capacity as one.

Darryl Edwards, Database Administrator, LIC, sums up the difference that Zag has delivered for the business with one example: “We used Data Sync Manager to take the general ledger data out of production, exported it in real time, transferred it to a flat file and imported it through acceptance. The whole process took only one hour. Before, it would have been a nine-day exercise. Our accountants were really blown away.”

Nowadays, when data is needed at LIC, the team can respond immediately rather than scheduling a copy weeks or months after it is required. Being able to run tests on a copy of real production data enables LIC to solve issues very quickly, test accurately and find solutions, without disrupting the normal flow of business.

“The whole process took only one hour. Before, it would have been a nine-day exercise. Our accountants were really blown away.”
Darryl Edwards, Database Administrator, LIC.

There’s another added bonus: the IT team has a lot more personal time. Previously, working late into the night to monitor activities was normal; now, tasks are scheduled and logs checked in the morning.

HR payroll has also benefitted. In the past, it was necessary to maintain a separate client in ERP for HR payroll. Then the payroll data would have to be scrambled. Now, using DSM it is possible to refresh HR data from production for just payroll saving the need to copy extra transactional data.

As Edwards puts it, “The best IT systems are the ones the business doesn’t have to worry about – Data Sync Manager is one of those systems.”


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