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Hudbay Runs SAP on AWS to Boost Performance and Cut Costs

2021

Hudbay Minerals Inc., based in Toronto, Canada, has been mining copper, zinc, and other metals for nearly 100 years. Hudbay currently has mining operations in Manitoba, Canada, and the Andes region of Peru, in addition to projects in Arizona and Nevada in the US.

Hudbay runs a mission-critical SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) Central Component (ECC) environment that hundreds of employees rely on for finance functions, plant maintenance, and materials management. Hudbay’s Microsoft SQL Server–based SAP ECC environment was originally housed in an on-premises data center in Lima, Peru, making it difficult for the company to manage and maintain. In addition, the environment ran on legacy hardware that caused performance and latency problems, which lead to challenges producing quarterly business reports. “At the end of every quarter, when it was time for reporting, the system had a lot of latency because of the higher volume of people using SAP,” says Jason Kozar, director of information technology at Hudbay. “There were computer keystroke pauses, for example, so employees really struggled to get reporting done in time.”

As Hudbay expanded its SAP implementation to its Arizona and Ontario offices, it knew it needed to solve the performance issues. “We needed SAP ECC to be fast for everyone, regardless of location,” Kozar says. “That’s when we realized we needed to move to the cloud.”

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Running our SAP environment on AWS, we no longer have extremely slow performance and regular system outages. As a result, we can deliver our quarterly reports faster, which is critical to our business processes.

Jason Kozar
Director of Information Technology, Hudbay 

Creating a New SAP Environment on AWS

To overcome its performance challenges, Hudbay chose to move its SAP environment to Amazon Web Services (AWS). “We were already using AWS for some smaller internal applications,” says Kozar. “AWS was a great fit for us because of its maturity in the cloud services market.”

After attempting a lift-and-shift migration approach, Hudbay decided to create an entirely new AWS environment for its SQL Server–based environment. “We knew lift-and-shift would be complicated because of the geographical location of our current environment,” Kozar says. “It made the most sense to create the AWS environment and rebuild SAP ECC on AWS.” Hudbay’s cloud-based SAP ECC 6.0 environment runs on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances and uses Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to store SAP application data.

Now, more than 250 employees use SAP ECC 6.0, including remote mining workers in Peru, Ontario, and Arizona. “This gives us a single global SAP instance in the cloud, which is exactly what we needed,” says Kozar. Shortly after the new environment was in production, Hudbay upgraded to the latest version of SAP ECC.

Boosting SAP Performance, Delivering Quarterly Reports Faster

By running SAP ECC 6.0 on AWS, Hudbay has increased application performance and can run the application faster. As a result, remote employees can now complete quarterly reports on time. “Running our SAP environment on AWS, we no longer have extremely slow performance and regular system outages,” says Kozar. “As a result, we can deliver our quarterly reports faster, which is critical to our business processes.” Hudbay also upgraded its network connection to gigabit internet speed. By upgrading the network, the company can leverage more AWS services such as AWS Storage Gateway for stronger connections to Hudbay data storage technologies.

Enabling Growth and Innovation

Additionally, Hudbay now has the scalability it needs to meet its planned business expansion. “On AWS, we are no longer restricted in terms of scalability like we were in an on-premises environment,” says Kozar. For instance, Hudbay can support a planned new mining project in Arizona, which is expected to require double the amount of SAP users. “We consider the Arizona project to be one of our innovation centers,” says Kozar. “Using AWS, we know we have the compute and storage capacity to meet that demand. That will help us drive innovation because we expect to be using more modern mining technology than we had before.”

Also, because it no longer has to maintain a data center and procure and provision hardware, Hudbay has reduced its operating expenses by approximately $100,000 by running its SAP and other application environments on AWS.

Enhancing SAP Security

A publicly-listed company, Hudbay can meet industry regulations and ensure its application environment is protected by taking advantage of the built-in security capabilities of AWS. “Running SAP on AWS simplifies security management. For example, our internal and external auditors no longer need to manually review data center security reports and controls or spend time trying to ensure our ERP is in a locked-down environment. It’s all built into our AWS solution.”

As Hudbay prepares to deploy a new SAP S4/HANA environment and launch new data analytics capabilities, the company is confident it has the right technology in place with AWS. “Innovation in the mining sector can be slow,” Kozar says. “We are going to accelerate our innovation by continuing to use AWS.”   


About Hudbay

Based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Hudbay is a diversified mining company that produces copper concentrate (containing copper, gold, and silver) and zinc metal. Hudbay owns three polymetallic mines, four ore concentrators, and a zinc production facility in Manitoba (Canada) and Cusco (Peru), as well as copper projects in Arizona and Nevada (United States).

Benefits of AWS

  • Delivers quarterly reports faster
  • Enables scalability to accommodate 2x the number of SAP users
  • Increases application performance and reduces downtime
  • Reduces operating costs by approximately $100,000

AWS Services Used

Amazon EC2

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.

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Amazon S3

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance.

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AWS Storage Gateway

AWS Storage Gateway is a hybrid cloud storage service that gives you on-premises access to virtually unlimited cloud storage. 

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