OpenEdge Database health check & tune-up

Application & report runtime delays eliminated

Opportunity - Pharmaceuticals

Converse Pharma Group relies on Brentech Data Systems’ Advanced Wholesale And Realtime Distribution System (AWARDS) supply chain management and ERP solution. This is based on a Progress Software 9.1E legacy database set supporting a legacy accounts system with no formalised maintenance or support in place. The databases are located on a 10-year old Sun SPARC station running on the Solaris 10 operating system, and relying on physical hard discs.

The client was experiencing regular ‘business performance affecting’ screen freezes, particularly at the peak daily order-taking periods of noon and evening, delays were also experienced when running business-critical reports in the OpenAccounts or Corvu reporting system. The situation caused frustration for client’s placing orders by phone, the telesales agents taking the orders, and the group services staff accessing financial systems and running reports.


“With no more delays, our order processing activity is now highly efficient, our clients and telesales agents are happier, and our server and database files are back to how they were originally installed. I’d also say that communication and collaboration with Pace IT was a refreshingly effective and hassle-free experience”.

Group IT Manager,
CONVERSE PHARMA GROUP

Solution Headlines

Pace IT was asked to inspect and report on the condition of multiple Progress database files, and checks were performed over a one-day period using our in-house Database Health Check tool. Findings suggested that all databases required re-tuning, and two were inefficiently configured for their server disk architecture and needed rebuilding urgently. One database was found to be close to the maximum allowable size for its configuration, (Progress v9 - 64GB), and both presented concerns affecting ongoing business operations. Following checks continued operation was estimated at only 6 months before issues would come to light and cause Converse Pharma’s business-critical AWARDS application to completely fail.

How we prioritise findings & recommendations:

  • High: business performance related issues likely to benefit from short-term corrective action
  • Medium: alignment with best practice for improving performance
  • Low: non-business performance related issues & guidance for longer-term consideration

Through a recommendation from another Progress user, Converse Pharma asked Pace IT to perform the necessary tasks to re-tune and rebuild the databases, restoring them to their original robustness and efficiency. The database rebuilds were accomplished using ProDBMirror, Pace IT’s in-house developed OpenEdge database replication solution, and our innovative feature add-on ‘Online Dump & Load’, which takes the work offline enabling business-as-usual operations to continue while addressing the rebuilds.

“In rebuilding Converse Pharma’s Progress OpenEdge databases we’ve significantly extended their operational lifespan. And this, along with the added benefit of reduced server loading, should deliver many more years of continuous operation.”

Senior Progress OpenEdge Database Analyst, PACE IT SYSTEMS

Results Headlines

  • Significantly improved speed of response resulting in reduced business disruption:
    - Live phone order taking delay time down from 30 second pauses to real-time.
    - OpenAccounts & Corvu delays reduced significantly.
  • Screen freeze issues virtually eliminated - telesales agent user and customer experience & satisfaction levels greatly increased.
  • Business-critical report run times reduced by up to 50% - one by 75% to just 5 minutes.
  • Server storage discs loading reduced – now more robust with improved performance and lifespan.
  • Database file lifespan significantly increased – along with reduced server loading.
  • Following the success of the OpenEdge Database Health Check, re-tune and rebuild project, Pace IT was asked to provide ongoing support and maintenance for Converse Pharma’s Progress database estate.

About Converse Pharma Group

The Converse Pharma Group is a privately UK owned group of companies. The primary focus of the group is the wholesale distribution of pharmaceutical products throughout the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The group operates from 11 sites, serving over 4000 customers, employing over 600 people and with a turnover of £188m in 2016.