Tuesday, 11th December 2018

Mazda reduces time to wait for data in system development

Enhancing efficiency of testing process, which accounts for large portion of project time, thus contributing to reducing release cycle.

  • 20 Nov 2018 Posted in
Mazda Motor Corp.has selected Delphix, a data management solution provided by Ashisuto, for the automaker’s development data platform.

Offering the iconic Roadster, a celebrated car that has been loved since its release a quarter century ago, Mazda has developed SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY, innovative new-generation technology for creating the world’s best cars. With this technology, the automaker is working towards the goal to develop cars that provide drivers with the joy of driving in addition to safe and powerful driving performance. Mazda’s car-making philosophy that new technology is generated only through challenges has taken root across the board from technology to design and manufacturing sites.

Mazda’s IT Solutions team has diverse initiatives to contribute to business’ leveraging the next-generation systems powered by new IT technologies. These initiatives include establishing global supply chain that changes customer engagement and supply chain, and support for customer experience using the latest IT. Along with theseoffensiveIT measures,defensivemeasures are also essential to continue business activities.Defensivemeasures include modernising traditional application infrastructures consisting of diverse platforms such as mainframes and PC servers, and updating applications. BothoffensiveanddefensiveIT strategies are indispensable.

However, limited human resources and traditional development approaches can no longer support all these requirements. To attain unconventional speed and efficiency, Mazda has been working to establish a new development scheme, fully reviewing its concepts, approaches, and technologies. For the process from design to fine-tuned manufacturing, the company already had some prospects for attaining better efficiency, establishing development processes and rules and promoting standardisation and commonalisation. At the same time, it had not started working to enhance the efficiency of the test process. Many man-hours were required to prepare data and to make adjustments to avoid conflicts of database (DB) updates for tests done by multiple engineers, which had been a significant bottleneck.

In preparing test data, especially unit test data, the same DB is used in multiple programs. To avoid conflicts, engineers use a local DB individually. They need to create their own DB environment and import data. In some test cases, engineers import test data many times a day, which causes a long wait time. More engineers in a project means more total wait time to be wasted. Test data for a test case are created by employees who are familiar with the current system, with knowledge of the alignment of data in multiple tables. It takes a large amount of time to retrieve and save data because it is done manually. When executing a test, engineers need to reset data, sometimes manually after changes are made in the previous test case. This had to be done for the number of test cases multiplied by the number of tests performed, resulting in many hours in entire testing.

To address this situation, IT Solutions looked to Delphix, which Ashisuto suggested, for improving testing efficiency as it enables copying and distributing DB easily and promptly, obtaining asectionat any time point, and rewinding to the obtainedsection. In preparing test data, engineers no long create a local database. Instead, a required number of copies will be created and distributed by copying from the original DB. When creating test data, asectionat a certain time point of DB can be obtained, which will eliminate the need to manually create and save data. In test execution, engineers can easily reset data to asectionwhen replacing data in repeating tests or switching to another test case. With these benefits, Mazda saw potential in shortening the test period significantly.

IT Solutions verified the potential benefits and confirmed that the expected results can be attained. Based on this, it decided to implement Delphix. Mazda started using Delphix in a 400 man-month project for changing the framework of its logistics center in Japan. It also plans to use it in a project to modernise legacy systems towards 2020.
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