Danville Metals was one of the early adapters of IFS, originally implementing IFS version 2001. Danville elected back then to have IFS develop several large modifications to meet key business requirements not available at the time in core IFS. This made upgrades to new versions costly and as a result Danville postponed upgrading for several years. Now the problem was the hardware, operating system, database and associated applications were outdated and unsupported. In addition the system was slowing down forcing the user community to work around long processing times by scheduling tasks like invoicing and order processing to off-hours, overnight and over lunch breaks. Some reports were taking several hours to run and had to pushed to the weekends. The users needed a better preforming system and IT needed a more dependable and maintainable system.
As with all systems, databases grow over time and are usually a good place to start when performance begins to slow down. In the case of Danville, a more comprehensive approach would be needed given the interdependencies of operating systems, database versions, hardware, and the version of IFS.
The first step was running eNSYNC’s standard set of database tuning scripts and a set of metrics to compare against the operating system. After investigation, eNSYNC found a few buffer cache areas to increase. The major improvement came with the implementation of Oracle multi-threaded server (MTS). MTS was developed when RAM was expensive and its size was limited on 32 bit operating systems. As the number of IFS users grew over the years, the number of available dedicated database connections lowered until it finally reached a point where no new connections could be made.
eNSYNC configured MTS at the network and database layer. Heavy database users were configured to employ a dedicated connection, while other users were switched to use MTS. Within a short period of time, the user community reported positive performance results to the Danville IT team. The users were happy that they could do their job on time, the IT Team was happy because they had run out of options, the company management was happy because they could now plan for an upgrade, and employee utilization was back where it should be.
The results were significant. The most apparent were the processing of basic transactions, like invoicing, which would take hours. They would often be started just before lunch and run into the afternoon. Now invoicing takes mere seconds. The number of connections (an indicator of load on the system) was increased from 100 to 350+.
In addition to the significant time savings, the end users no longer received the threat of complete system failure hanging over their heads. Danville could now plan for the next generation of their ERP system rather than have to scramble and risk severe disruption to their business.