Wheeler Manufacturing, a jewelry manufacturer based in South Dakota, needed to protect their critical production applications running on an AlphaServer. These applications were highly customized, and the system itself had been in use for 15 years. When a disk drive failed and a full day of production was lost—in addition to the drive’s contents—Wheeler knew they needed to find a way to reduce the risk of future downtime. Replacing the broken drive would solve the immediate problem, but Wheeler wanted a more permanent solution.
For businesses like Wheeler Manufacturing, classic systems house time-tested, mission-critical applications that oversee production. These have been running for a very long time, and have been customized and perfected over the years to accommodate the precise specifications of the company’s manufacturing process. When the hardware begins to malfunction or fail, companies must assess their options:
They can search for spare parts and ongoing support, but this can be hard to find as classic systems are reaching End of Life. New parts are no longer readily available, and the workforce of knowledgeable technicians to support and repair these machines is dwindling.
An alternative is to invest in a new system. A new system can of course be customized to the company’s needs, but the process is time-consuming, expensive, runs the risk of losing years or even decades of important data, and requires extensive retraining of employees. For companies that work with tight budgets and can’t afford to shut down production for long periods of time, this isn’t a viable option.
For Wheeler Manufacturing, these options weren’t attractive. Maintaining the original hardware was risky, and an entirely new system would necessitate enormous costs and excessive downtime—not to mention risking loss of data in the conversion process.
Then Pyramid Technology, a Stromasys Partner, mentioned CHARON-AXP from Stromasys. What began as a search for a replacement part ended with the installation of a Stromasys solution at Wheeler Manufacturing. With the help of CHARON-AXP/SMA Plus from Stromasys, Wheeler has succeeded in extending the life of the applications on which their business relies—and have benefitted from a substantial performance improvement.
In the words of Tony Waller, CIO of Wheeler Manufacturing: “All our software works like it always did, only twice as fast.” For Wheeler, Stromasys has proved to be a gateway to business continuity.
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