Kronos Workforce Central 6.1 with Microsoft SQL Server: Performance and Scalability for the Enterprise

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1 Kronos Workforce Central 6.1 with Microsoft SQL Server: Performance and Scalability for the Enterprise Providing Enterprise-Class Performance and Scalability and Driving Lower Customer Total Cost of Ownership White Paper Published: April 2010 Applies to: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Introduction This white paper describes how Microsoft SQL Server 2008 provides an optimal, enterprise ready, highly scalable data platform for Kronos Workforce Central version 6.1, as demonstrated in a number of large-scale benchmarking studies performed jointly by Kronos and Microsoft. This paper also describes how SQL Server 2008 enables businesses to deploy reliable, manageable, and secure implementations, while delivering the advanced features and capabilities needed to support the most demanding workloads. Note that it is assumed that the reader has a working knowledge of workforce management and the Workforce Central suite in addition to SQL Server concepts and features. For the latest information, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

2 Copyright The information contained in this document represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation on the issues discussed as of the date of publication. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft, and Microsoft cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication. This white paper is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY, AS TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT. Complying with all applicable copyright laws is the responsibility of the user. Without limiting the rights under copyright, no part of this document may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), or for any purpose, without the express written permission of Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft may have patents, patent applications, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property rights covering subject matter in this document. Except as expressly provided in any written license agreement from Microsoft, the furnishing of this document does not give you any license to these patents, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Microsoft, SharePoint, SQL Server, Windows, and Windows Server are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual businesses and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

3 Table of Contents Executive Summary... 1 Kronos Workforce Central... 1 Microsoft SQL Server The Workforce Central 6.1 Benchmarks... 2 Workforce Central Pay Period End Benchmark... 3 Workforce Central Schedule Maintenance Benchmarks... 4 Workforce Forecast Generation Benchmark... 5 Workforce Central 6.1 and SQL Server Windows Platform Support... 6 Total Cost of Ownership... 7 Conclusion... 7

4 Executive Summary Workforce management requires businesses to tackle a multitude of challenges, including implementing cost reduction measures, improving hiring practices, reducing employee absenteeism and turnover, aligning labor resources with current demand, and forecasting future demand. However, many companies have difficulty providing the IT resources needed to manage their workforce effectively. This can cause the company to become less efficient, can increase overhead, and can result in missed opportunities and lost productivity. Since 1977, Kronos Incorporated, a global leader in workforce management solutions, has enabled organizations to control labor costs, minimize compliance risk, and improve workforce productivity. Tens of thousands of businesses in 60 countries, including more than half of the Fortune 1000, use Kronos time and attendance, scheduling, absence management, human resources (HR), payroll, hiring, and labor analytics applications. As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, Kronos collaborates with Microsoft to deliver solutions that are easy to access, deploy, and use. The Kronos Workforce Central suite, combined with Microsoft technology, simplifies labor management and reduces administrative time and costs. It empowers businesses to optimize workforce performance and productivity, and it improves employee satisfaction and service levels. The joint relationship between Kronos and Microsoft spans more than a decade and provides customers with a wealth of business experience, best practices, and innovation in workforce management. These partners work together to find and test cost effective business solutions for managing critical workforce information proficiently, including joint integration and interoperability testing. In March 2010, Kronos, in conjunction with Microsoft, performed three benchmarking studies to demonstrate the market-leading scalability, performance, and cost efficiency of fully integrating Workforce Central version 6.1 with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 on Windows Server 2008 R2. These studies also prove that customers can achieve a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) by running Workforce Central on the Microsoft platform. The results demonstrate the dramatic savings in time and money that can be obtained by using Microsoft Application Platform technologies. 1 SQL Server 2008 provides an enterprise ready, highly scalable data platform that is reliable, secure, manageable, economical, and well integrated with Workforce Central 6.1. It supports the most demanding workloads by delivering advanced features and capabilities. Kronos Workforce Central Kronos helps organizations across a variety of industries manage their most valuable, and expensive, strategic asset their workforce. How? By giving them the tools they need to help them control labor costs, minimize compliance risk, and improve workforce productivity. Workforce management is a comprehensive planning and accountability framework that is used to effectively manage the workforce, including labor analytics, scheduling, timekeeping, leave and absence management, and payroll processing. Optimizing workforce management processes enables organizations to control labor costs, minimize compliance risk, and improve workforce productivity all at the same time. However, many companies have limited resources to support the IT, administrative, and financial requirements needed to fully implement or maintain effective workforce management. To manage the 1

5 workforce successfully, many companies are challenged to find a solution that is cost effective, configurable, scalable, and reliable. Workforce Central provides an end-to-end, integrated solution that gives company executives, supervisors, and employees visibility and control in all areas of workforce management. Workforce Central can automate and simplify essential business and administrative processes. It can help eliminate error prone, labor intensive manual processes and result in improved workforce productivity, quality, and decision making saving time and costs. Workforce Central consists of best-in-class software applications that are fully configurable, making them easy to implement, scale, and maintain. For more information, see the Workforce Central datasheet at the following Kronos Web site: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Workforce Central 6.1 is fully integrated with SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server Therefore, organizations can manage and retain workforce information efficiently, streamline management processes, derive maximum value from data assets, and meet business and government guidelines for labor compliance. SQL Server 2008 is an enterprise ready, comprehensive integrated data management and analysis platform that enables organizations to reliably manage large mission-critical workloads and complex business applications. SQL Server 2008 allows companies to gain greater insight from their business information and achieve faster results that can deliver a competitive advantage. SQL Server 2008 provides rapid data integration and data mining and fast intuitive analysis and reporting capabilities. Its built-in features deliver reliability and security on a scalable foundation that includes a powerful database engine. SQL Server 2008 provides a multifunctional solution for large-scale online transaction processing (OLTP), data warehousing, and e-commerce applications. For more information about SQL Server 2008, visit the following Microsoft Web site: The Workforce Central 6.1 Benchmarks Since 2006, Kronos and Microsoft have been investing considerable resources to test the performance of Workforce Central, including conducting benchmarking studies. This information lets customers and prospects match the best software, hardware, and network configuration to their Workforce Central solutions. In March 2010, suite-level benchmarking studies were performed on Workforce Central 6.1 applications with SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition. The results show definitively that Workforce Central 6.1 with SQL Server 2008 can run even the largest enterprise workloads. Previously published benchmarks focused on individual tests that were run in isolation and demonstrated the scalability of the individual components of the Workforce Central suite. The tests conducted for this document focused on the suite level, with overlapping workloads used to demonstrate the scalability of the Kronos suite when the application components were used at the same time. This was done to be more in line with customer use of the system. The Workforce Central 6.1 applications include:

6 Workforce Timekeeper. This core employee time tracking software provides basic scheduling capabilities to support attendance monitoring, tracking, and pay distribution. Products such as Workforce Scheduler and Workforce Forecast Manager can be added to Workforce Timekeeper for different vertical markets. Workforce Scheduler. For industries such as retail and health care, this product optimizes staff deployment, automates numerous tasks, and provides advanced features to align labor resources with demand. It provides better control of labor costs, minimizes compliance risk, and improves workforce productivity. Workforce Forecast Manager. For industries such as retail, this product generates accurate, cost effective schedules. It accounts for fluctuations in workforce demand by using historical data and current business drivers to predict future demand. For more information, see the Workforce Central scheduling comparison at the following Kronos Web site: Each benchmarking study tested a large enterprise workload by using a specific system configuration and a discrete set of use cases. For each study, the throughput was achieved while maintaining the required end user response times and the expected levels of system utilization. 2 The results demonstrate the scalability, performance, and cost efficiency of Workforce Central 6.1 with SQL Server These benchmarking studies were conducted by the Kronos Performance Engineering Group. The group develops performance tests that exercise peak demand use cases to optimize performance, scalability, and the sizing of production systems. The system configuration for these benchmarking studies included the following servers: Database server. The database tier was installed on one HP DL580 G5 with four Intel Xeon six-core processors at 2.4 GHz with 64 GB of memory. This configuration used the 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition and SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition. This system also contained fifteen 73 GB SAS disks to store the database and five 146 GB SAS disks to store the database logs. Application servers. The application tier was installed on four Sun X4150 servers with two 64-bit Intel 5420 Xeon quad-core processors at 2.5 GHz with 16 GB of memory. Four instances of the Workforce Central 6.1 application were installed on each server (16 instances total) on the 32-bit version of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition. Workforce Central Pay Period End Benchmark For most customers, the activities performed by managers at pay period closing places the heaviest load on the system. This load includes correcting exceptions in employees' timecards, approving employees' time, signing off employees for subsequent payroll processing, and running reports. While the managers are completing their work, the system must continue to operate at peak performance levels and to process punches from employees throughout the day. Elements from both of these scenarios were used to create the test workload. Kronos and Microsoft jointly completed the largest combined functionality benchmark using Workforce Timekeeper 6.1 with SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008: Goal. Demonstrate that Workforce Timekeeper 6.1 scales to meet the needs of the largest enterprise 2 The specific response times in each customer s production environment will vary based on workload, specific application requirements, system design, implementation, and other factors.

7 customer (300,000 employee database) on SQL Server Results. Workforce Timekeeper 6.1 with SQL Server 2008 has the capability to run a large-scale enterprise workload of 300,000 employees as noted below. Workforce Central Pay Period End benchmark results summary: 1,290 managers closed their pay period in a one-hour period. These activities included: Processing timecard edits for 45,150 employees Signing-off 207,690 employees Running 1,290 Hours by Labor Reports (161 employees per report) Running 1,290 Time Detail Reports (161 employees per report) Concurrently, the system processed 30,000 employees punching through the quick timestamp interface. For each use case, the Workforce Central test users ramped up until the total number of concurrent users was reached. The test ran at a steady state for approximately one hour while response times and system utilizations were measured and recorded on all servers. Then, the test users were ramped down, and the process was started again for the next test. The database being tested was restored to an initial known state between each test run. In all cases, the end user transactions had 90 th percentile response times of less than three seconds and most were less than one second. Workforce Central Schedule Maintenance Benchmarks Another key use case from the Workforce Central suite is based on managers' editing and correcting the schedules of employees. These activities include filling open shifts, swapping and deleting shifts, and executing reports. While the managers are completing their work, the system must continue to operate at peak performance levels and to process punches from employees throughout the day. Elements from both of these scenarios were used to create the test workload. In addition, another key use case is the automatic generation of employee schedules based on anticipated labor demand. This is a function that is usually scheduled and run in off-peak hours (usually overnight). Kronos and Microsoft jointly completed the largest combined functionality benchmark using Workforce Timekeeper 6.1 with SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008: Goal. Demonstrate that Workforce Scheduler 6.1 scales to a 300,000 employee database on SQL Server Results. Workforce Scheduler 6.1 with SQL Server 2008 has the capability to run a large-scale enterprise workload of 300,000 employees as noted below.

8 Workforce Scheduler benchmark results summary: 440 managers completed their schedule maintenance activities in a two-hour period. These activities included: Reviewing schedules for 70,840 employees Editing 98,170 shifts Executing 440 Location Schedule Weekly Reports Executing 440 Coverage Detail Weekly Reports Concurrently, the system processed 30,000 employees punching through the quick timestamp interface. In a separate test, the auto-scheduler was used to create schedules for 157,248 employees in under six hours. The multiuser use cases were modeled after the customers' expected use of the system. This test database contained supervisors managing 161 employees. Of the 161 employees, 91 had their schedules generated by the auto-scheduler, and 70 were on a fixed shift schedule. For each use case, the Workforce Central test users were ramped up until the total number of concurrent users was reached. The test ran at a steady state for approximately one hour while response times and system utilizations were measured and recorded on all servers. Then, the test users were ramped down, and the process was started again for the next test. The database being tested was restored to an initial known state between each test run. In all cases, the end user transactions had 90 th percentile response times of less than five seconds and most less than one second. Workforce Forecast Generation Benchmark As part of the auto-scheduling process, historical point-of-sale (POS) data is processed into a volume forecast for the next schedule period. The volume forecast is used together with labor standards to produce a labor demand forecast. The timely processing of this data is a critical performance attribute of Workforce Forecast Manager. Workforce Forecast Manager is primarily used by retail enterprises, but there may be uses outside that vertical market. After the forecasts have been generated, often the store managers will edit the labor forecast to make any last minute changes to the forecast based on the latest information they have about labor requirements for the upcoming schedule period. This benchmark demonstrates that the forecast data can be generated in a timely fashion and can fit into a small batch-processing window. A benchmark result is also shown for managerial editing to the labor forecast data. Kronos and Microsoft jointly completed a large-scale industry benchmark using Workforce Forecast Manager 6.1 with SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008: Goal. Demonstrate that Workforce Forecast Manager 6.1 scales to a 300,000 employee database on SQL Server Results. Workforce Forecast Manager 6.1 with SQL Server 2008 has the capability to run a large-scale enterprise workload of 300,000 employees as noted below.

9 Workforce Forecast Manager benchmark results summary: Volume forecasting for 1,728 stores was processed in 5 minutes, including: 107,136 total forecast categories 69,100 forecast category/driver combinations Labor forecasting for 1,728 stores was processed in 12 minutes, including: Workload forecasted for 41,472 jobs 414,720 labor standards processed For each use case, the Workforce Central test users were ramped up until the total number of concurrent users was reached. The test ran at a steady state for approximately one hour while response times and system utilizations were measured and recorded on all servers. Then, the test users were ramped down, and the process was started again for the next test. The database being tested was restored to an initial known state between each test run. In all cases, the end user transactions had 90 th percentile response times of less than four seconds and most were less than one second. Workforce Central 6.1 and SQL Server 2008 SQL Server 2008 has additional features that provide more advantages to Workforce Central 6.1 implementations, including data compression, backup compression, and transparent data encryption (TDE). SQL Server 2008 provides the highest performance, scalability, reliability, and security 3 as compared to competitor platforms. It scales to some of the world s largest workloads, as evidenced by strong industry standard benchmark results. 4 SQL Server 2008 builds on the advancements in SQL Server It contains many new features and enhanced functionality that fully optimize the power of the underlying database for large-scale workloads while keeping the code independent. In addition, SQL Server 2008 security features meet stringent Workforce Central requirements for protecting data and network resources. Its customizable security architecture enables full event handling, secure storage, TDE, consolidated enterprise encryption, and security key management. 5 Windows Platform Support One major advantage of implementing Workforce Central solutions on SQL Server is its optimal, native integration with the Windows Server platform. This includes native integration with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, Microsoft Office applications, and other Microsoft products. This native integration significantly reduces administrative effort and provides more consistent data that can be shared from a common platform. In contrast, competitors tie up many resources to maintain and port functionality to different operating system platforms

10 By using the Windows Server operating system together with SQL Server, Workforce Central customers can scale up as their application requirements increase and can receive the benefits of tightly integrated security. In addition, hardening and patch management security measures are fully addressed, thereby enhancing the security within the Windows Server-based Workforce Central environment. Since Windows Server is widely supported by hardware businesses, customers have the flexibility to choose hardware from a wide range of vendors that support Windows. Total Cost of Ownership Workforce Central 6.1 with SQL Server 2008 achieves a lower TCO. It dramatically reduces administration efforts, and it reduces the costs associated with database administration and services. SQL Server 2008 automates, streamlines, or eliminates many routine database management tasks and provides time-saving administration tools and wizard-driven features. In addition, SQL Server 2008 is provided at a lower cost than competitor platforms. Many of the features that are included within SQL Server 2008 must be purchased as separate products or add-ins in competitor platforms. SQL Server 2008 licensing fees are lower. For more information about licensing, visit the following Microsoft Web site: SQL Server 2008 also offers better pricing. For more information about pricing, visit the following Microsoft Web site: SQL Server 2008 delivers the best price-to-performance ratio in the initial phase of the investment. It contains a comprehensive suite of tools that reduce acquisition costs and immediately improve the productivity of technical resources. SQL Server 2008 has the lowest investment costs and the lowest costs associated with maintaining the configuration. Conclusion Many companies are challenged to provide the IT resources needed to manage their workforce effectively. For this reason, Kronos, a global leader in workforce management solutions, and Microsoft assist companies in finding and testing a cost effective, proficient means for controlling labor costs, minimizing compliance risk, and improving workforce productivity. As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, Kronos collaborates with Microsoft to deliver solutions that are easy to access, deploy, and use. Workforce Central, combined with Microsoft technology, enables businesses to manage and retain workforce information efficiently, streamline management processes, derive maximum value from data assets, and meet labor compliance guidelines. Since 2006, Kronos and Microsoft have been investing considerable resources on the performance testing of Workforce Central, including conducting benchmarking studies. In March 2010, Kronos, in conjunction with Microsoft, performed separate benchmarking studies for three Workforce Central 6.1 applications, including Workforce Timekeeper, Workforce Scheduler, and Workforce Forecast Manager.

11 The results prove that the integration of Workforce Central 6.1 with SQL Server 2008 on Windows Server 2008 provides market leading scalability, performance, and cost efficiency. In particular, SQL Server 2008 is a highly scalable, enterprise ready data platform that provides an optimal solution for deploying reliable, highly available, high performance, and secure Workforce Central solutions. In addition, these benchmark results provide evidence that businesses can achieve a lower TCO by using Workforce Central with SQL Server Based on this evidence, customers can feel confident migrating to Workforce Central on the Microsoft platform. The benchmarks show that Workforce Central is an easy to own total package that scales from the smallest enterprises to the largest enterprises. By using Workforce Central 6.1 with SQL Server 2008, customers receive optimal, native integration with the Windows Server platform. This includes integration with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, Microsoft Office applications, and other Microsoft products. In addition, Workforce Central is fully integrated with SQL Server Kronos and Microsoft continually strive to deliver value and ease while ensuring reliability, scalability, and security for all enterprise and midmarket customers. This close relationship provides businesses with the assurance and confidence that they have partnered with a strong team. Together, Kronos and Microsoft help millions of people every day address their workforce management needs. For more information, visit the Microsoft and Kronos Alliance Web site: You can also contact Kronos Sales and Support directly: For more information, visit the following Microsoft Web sites: SQL Server Web site SQL Server TechCenter SQL Server Developer Center Did this paper help you? Please give us your feedback. Tell us on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent), how you would rate this paper and why? For example: Are you rating it high due to having good examples, excellent screenshots, clear writing, or another reason? Are you rating it low due to poor examples, fuzzy screenshots, unclear writing? This feedback will help us improve the quality of the white papers we release. Send feedback.

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