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Hortonworks Customer
Lixil

UPGRADING DATA ANALYSIS PLATFORM TOGETHER WITH SYSTEM INTEGRATION

LIXIL Corporation (LIXIL) is a leading company in the housing and building industry. It was incorporated in 2011 through a merger of five of Japan’s leading building materials and housing companies. Following the merger, LIXIL pursued an active management strategy of acquiring overseas companies and is developing an IT system integration project that will support its global operations. It has adopted the Hortonworks’ Hadoop platform, Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP®) for its new information analysis platform, and is revamping its operations to achieve a proactive IT environment.

BUILDING A NEW INFORMATION ANALYSIS PLATFORM TOGETHER WITH A MAJOR OVERHAUL OF IT SYSTEMS DUE TO A REVAMPED COMPANY STRUCTURE

LIXIL was born in 2011 through a merger of five companies: TOSTEM Corporation, INAX Corporation, Shin Nikkei Company, Ltd., Sunwave Corporation, and Toyo Exterior Co., Ltd. It has expanded internationally by acquiring overseas companies, and has now grown into a global enterprise with over 80,000 employees worldwide. To support its global operations and management, it aims to build an integrated system and is pushing ahead with a large-scale mission-critical system integration project. For this project, LIXIL is also developing a new information analysis platform that allows the collection and analysis of various internal and external data, particularly Big Data.

Commenting on the importance of information analysis, Masaki Shobu, manager of the Information Excellence Group, Information Systems Department, said, “Our mission is to combine various internal and external channels of big and small data, in order to provide useful information for the business. Detailed information such as manufacturing and sales performances or market, and demand forecasts are critical to management decision-making. In addition, the support for IoT data that uses sensor information of home electronics and housing equipment will also see significant increase in the future. As a result, an information analysis platform will become more important than before.”

With this, LIXIL decided to build a new information analysis platform from scratch as part of the mission-critical system integration project, so as to provide prompt and useful information to the business.

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Our mission is to combine various internal and external channels of big and small data, in order to provide useful information for the business... As a result, an information analysis platform will become more important than before.

Masaki Shobu, manager of the Information Excellence Group, Information Systems Department

DECISION TO DEPLOY HDP WITH REFERENCE TO CASE STUDIES IN JAPAN

For its new information analysis platform, LIXIL selected a combined system of the open source software, Hadoop, and SAP’s in-memory database SAP HANA. Hadoop is used for the processing, basic analysis, statistical analysis, and machine learning of access logs from external SNS and websites and IoT information. On the other hand, SAP HANA is used for processing data from the operations system. By linking both systems, a wider range of analytics can be performed.

According to Ryohei Kubota, project manager of the Information Excellence Group, Information Systems Department, “While there were many factors that influenced our decision to select Hadoop, eventually it all came down to cost. We had instructions from our CIO to select a system that enables as much storage as possible, and we thought an open source Hadoop platform is most appropriate way for building a platform that can process large volumes of data efficiently at a lower cost.”

Other key factors that tilted the balance in Hadoop’s favour were its previous successful deployment in Japan and elsewhere, and Hortonworks’ offering of round the clock support. “When we first started considering the deployment with our consulting partner VUPICO, there were already several HDP deployment cases among leading beverage manufacturers in Japan, and this was a huge advantage. Those case studies were very helpful,” adds Shobu. “We help analyse data in order to increase business value for our customer. This platform requires a cost-effective and flexible technology approach that can support changing analytical needs.

"LIXIL decided to deploy HDP due to its globally proven results. In collaboration with Hortonworks Inc., we developed LIXIL’s information analysis platform,” says Vukojevic from VUPICO.

“Hortonworks is able to provide prompt support even for new technologies developed by the Apache Hadoop community. For example, the ORC file format is optimised for Hive processing. We were impressed by their high technical skills and constant support,” adds Kubota.

A wide array of different components are currently deployed at LIXIL. These include, Hadoop distributed file system (HDFS), YARN resource management capabilities, Hive SQL processing, Spark in-memory processing, and operation management tool, Apache Ambari. In addition, the deployment of an information analysis verification system is also underway.

Koshi Funamizu of Data Analysis G, Information Excellence Group, Information Systems Department echoed the positive sentiments regarding the use of HDP. “We are currently testing a variety of components as we have not decided their specific usage. However, we find Ambari very convenient. For example, it allows us to update configuration files on several servers simultaneously, and we can easily check YARN resources and HDFS disk space on GUI."

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While there were many factors that influenced our decision to select Hadoop, eventually it all came down to cost. We had instructions from our CIO to select a system that enables as much storage as possible, and we thought an open source Hadoop platform is most appropriate way for building a platform that can process large volumes of data efficiently at a lower cost.

Ryohei Kubota, project manager of the Information Excellence Group, Information Systems Department

ACHIEVING A SAFE, SECURE, AND COMFORTABLE LIVING ENVIRONMENT

“One of the results LIXIL hopes to achieve from data integration management is IT governance. Up to now, the source of data and method of calculation for KPIs is unclear, and occasionally, KPIs were calculated according to the convenience of the person-in-charge. By integrating and managing analytical data, one would always arrive at the same number for the KPIs, or so-called one KPI or 'One True Number' in the company. That’s a result we are looking forward to for IT governance,” says Kubota.

In addition, various initiatives are conducted to provide useful information to the business. “The scope of IoT for domestic use, such as smart homes and smart cities, will continue expanding in the future. Japan is a world leader in this area and LIXIL is active in the industry as a leading company in building materials and equipment. We aim to provide a safe, secure, and comfortable living environment by using analytical data extensively,” says Shobu.

FUTURE OUTLOOK

LIXIL plans to conduct several tests on the usage of information analysis data. “We have many test projects that we want to conduct, for example, to validate whether it is more efficient to present sales data for wet areas separately or to combine it as a set for kitchens and bathrooms. Another example is to optimise work process using sensor data from manufacturing lines,” adds Kubota.

LIXIL is also focusing on training manpower to use data acquired from the information analysis platform. “We are committed to training data scientists who can make use of the information analysis platform to provide useful information for our business. By having experts in both platform and data, we can achieve better results,” adds Shobu.

Moving forward, LIXIL plans to leverage the information analysis platform from various perspectives and develop methods to make it more meaningful for the growth of its business.

About LIXIL Corporation

Incorporated in 2011 through a merger of five of Japan’s major building materials and equipment manufacturing companies, LIXIL is today a global leader in the housing and building industry. It provides building materials, equipment, and a wide range of housing related services for residential and non-residential buildings such as offices and commercial buildings.

About Hortonworks

Hortonworks is an industry leading innovator that creates, distributes and supports enterprise-ready open and Connected Data Platforms and Modern Data Applications that deliver actionable intelligence from all data: data-in-motion and data-at-rest. Hortonworks is focused on driving innovation in open source communities such as Apache Hadoop, Apache NiFi and Apache Spark. Along with its 1,800+ partners, Hortonworks provides the expertise, training and services that allow customers to unlock transformational value for their organizations across any line of business.