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Volume 11, Number 15 -- April 26, 2011

Maxava Worked 'Just Like it Says on the Tin,' Customer Says

Published: April 26, 2011

by Alex Woodie

Walkers Shortbread, a Scottish baker of cookies and other treats, recently executed an emergency failover using Maxava's IBM i high availability, Maxava announced last week. The company was able to keep its ERP system online for three days after a late season snowstorm knocked out power to its primary Power Systems server.

Walkers recently implemented Maxava's high availability solution at its main offices in Aberlour, Scotland, which is located about 20 miles inland from the North Sea. The implementation, which was completed by regional Maxava business partner Onyx Group, includes an older Model 520 server that was relegated to backup duty and a new Model 525 server that became the production server for the company's Infor System 21 Aurora ERP system.

The high availability setup at Walkers was less than ideal, considering that the backup server was only located about 750 yards away from the production server. While that distance would not be enough separation to protect against many types of regional or local disasters, it would give the company enough of a margin to survive some types of foreseeable problems, including building fires, server problems--and even power outages.

As it turned out, Walkers' two IBM i servers were far enough apart to be on different nodes of the local grid. When a late-season snowstorm knocked out power to the production server located in the company's new corporate office, the electricity was still flowing to the secondary machine, which was located in a room in the main Walkers factory.

After implementing an emergency failover to the backup machine, Walkers continued to run on the backup for about a week. This allowed the company to run critical processes that are automated by the System 21 ERP system, including order capture and payroll. Without the capability to swap to the backup, Walkers workers would have been scrambling to accomplish these tasks manually.

"We're very happy with Maxava HA and with the Onyx Group," says Paul Johnson, the company's IT manager. "We wanted a solution that would allow us to flick the switch, go to the other box and users would be able to carry on with their work. Maxava HA does this, just like it says 'on the tin.'"

Since the outage, Walkers has implemented a power generator to supplement its head office, which gives the company greater resiliency to withstand a future power outage. As for Maxava, there is no indication as yet whether it will offer its IBM i software in colorful tins for the upcoming holiday season.


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