Landry’s Uses a Multi-Phase Approach to Upgrade to Oracle EBS 12.2 to Benefit from Online Patching and Minimize Downtime
Industry: Restaurants and Entertainment
Oracle Environment: E-Business Suite
- Take advantage of online patching to reduce system downtime and disruptions
- Improved reliability and performance
Ability to take advantage of new features to streamline key operations related to growingcasino business and other operations
- Need to minimize the impact of downtime on critical ERP and Customer Data Hub systems
- Desire to upgrade systems to better accommodate business growth
Landry’s Inc., based in Houston, Texas, is a privately owned, multi-brand dining, hospitality,entertainment and gaming corporation. It operates more than 450 full-service restaurants including Landry’s Seafood, Chart House, Saltgrass Steak House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.,Claim Jumper, Morton’s The Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick’s, Mastro’s Restaurants and Rainforest Café. The company also has five casino locations, along with numerous hotel properties and other entertainment destinations. Landry’s generated $2.7 billion in revenue in 2014.
Landry’s Inc. is a long-time SmartDog Services customer and depends on SmartDog consultantsto provide DBA On Demand services, including monitoring production systems and providingsupport should any issues occur. The company began using Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) in2005. They have a smaller E-Business Suite-based Customer Data Hub to host the company’s customer loyalty card program and a much larger E-Business Suite -based ERP system tomanage financials and other operations. Both systems run on IBM’s AIX operating system.
Over the last few years, the company has had significant growth with the addition of newrestaurants and casino operations. According to Jay Walker, Director of Database Support, whohas been with Landry’s for 16 years, the IT staff began investigating the possibility of upgradingboth Oracle E-Business Suite installations to accommodate the company’s expansion, but it wasnot clear whether it made better business sense to upgrade to E-Business Suite 12.1 or 12.2. Theyreached out to SmartDog experts to help present the pros and cons of each E-Business Suiteversion. While 12.1 was definitely a more stable version, Landry’s would need to do another upgrade cycle in just three years when E-Business Suite 12.1 hit its end of life. In contrast, E- Business Suite 12.2 would not require upgrading for at least five years, and it also offered key new online patching functionality that was very appealing to Landry’s.
“We liked that E-Business Suite 12.2 offered online patching. We’re a global company, and online patching is a big issue for us,” says Walker. “Like everyone, we want to limit the downtime and interruption, so being able to do online patching, bouncing the system and bringing it back up, it’s very important. In the past, we could be down for many hours, and that’s very disruptive.”
SmartDog consultants did a proof of concept to show Walker and his team that it would bepossible to upgrade to Oracle E-Business Suite 12.2—even with the customizations that Landryhad in place for its Customer Data Hub. Because it was key for Landry’s to minimize disruption to operations as much as possible, it was also decided to use a two-phase approach and upgrade the Customer Data Hub first, followed by the larger ERP system. Since, the Customer Data Hubis much smaller and has more limited functionality, upgrading it first would be a good test case to give Walker and his IT team a chance to address any potential challenges upgrading E-Business Suite on the AIX platform.
Over the next few months, Walker and his team worked with SmartDog consultants to upgrade the Customer Data Hub. The process went relatively smoothly despite the fact that there was little documentation available for the AIX platform, and SmartDog experts had to create work arounds for some issues when Oracle could not provide solutions. The Customer Data Hub went live on Oracle E-Business Suite 12.2.3 in summer 2014, with good results so far. Then, the team started the ERP system upgrade process to Oracle E-Business Suite12.2.4 in June 2014, with the system slated to go live in spring 2015.
Walker is pleased they were able to retain customizations in the Customer Data Hub, although alot of the code had to be refactored to work with online patching. There is still some more workto do to install additional patches to the tech stack, which Oracle continues to release almostmonthly. Looking ahead, he expects that they will need to make some alterations to the system toaccommodate the fact that the Customer Data Hub will be integrating information from fivecasinos, which generate far more transactions than restaurants since the casinos operate 24-hours-a-day.
Walker is also anticipating positive results when the ERP systems goes live on Oracle E-Business Suite 12.2.4. Besides the benefit of online patching functionality, business users expect to take advantage of a new payroll dashboards to streamline paying the company’s 53,000
“The reason the upgrade process has been so successful is thanks in large part to the skills and the wide breadth of knowledge SmartDog consultants brought to the table,” Walker says. “They quickly identified problems and helped to engage with IBM and Oracle development to solve problems.”