PWC invests heavily in 100% uptime for mission critical warehousing system

Public Warehousing Company enhances storage/backup solutions to create system redundancy.

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By  Peter Conmy Published  August 5, 2000

Things go wrong: that’s just a fact of life, machines die, hard disks crash, fires start and power supplies fail.

But through it all, if mission critical data doesn’t survive the business is history. As more business processes are automated, regional organisations are realising the safety net provided by investments in storage and backup solutions.

“It’s like playing a game with only one life,” mused Nael Sarhan, network administrator for Kuwait-based Public Warehousing Company (PWC).

“If you don’t have the backup or storage then you don’t have a second life to continue you’re game — you’re going to lose everything. This is a problem that everybody will face,” Sarhan told ACN.

Large Investment

PWC has recently invested heavily to ensure that its IT infrastructure remains up and running, 24x7x365. At the heart of PWC’s third party logistics, supply chain services, freight forwarding, value add warehouse work, transportation, customs/municipality management and delivery businesses, is its warehouse management system from Exceed Technologies.

Quite simply put, if this system “goes down for one second,” it costs the company money, said Toufic Kortbawi, manager, business integration, PWC, told ACN. “It’s the backbone of our operation, so we have built in this redundancy.”

The company’s redundancy comes in the form of two EMC enterprise disk storage units, two StorageTek robotic tape libraries, four Storage tape drives, and a host of intelligent software packages from EMC.

As well as supplying all the hardware and software to support the clustered, Compaq NT servers powering Exceed, STME also provided technical support to staple the whole solution together.

“The warehouse management system is running on two Compaq servers, that are fault tolerant, from A to Z, with dual everything,” said Sarhan. “We have these connected by fibre to EMC [boxes] and they have very high availability hard disks. If something fails the other one will take over.”

Future Services

Over the last 12 months the company has been putting more of its business processes on the Web, enabling its clients to check their inventories, place purchase or delivery orders, check expiry dates and look up stock movement via the Web.

This is just the initial stage, and from late August, the logistics service provider intends to add further services, such as online customer clearance and online payment to its customer base. “In August we start the testing period. At the end of the year we’ll roll the system out,” said Kortbawi.

PWC is investing in the redundancy for its e-commerce solution. The company has already brought in another set of Compaq servers, with similar clustering support. PWC is in the final testing stages with EMC hardware to support its Web-based solution.

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