Dbvisit Standby Case Study - Wim Bosman


Wim Bosman’s Dbvisit Standby DR solution will save them 83% in software license fees over five years when compared with the Oracle alternative.

For over 45 years Wim Bosman has provided a full range of services, from European warehousing, distribution and logistics services to global air and ocean freight services.  As the distribution, warehousing and logistics industry evolves, so companies like Wim Bosman must evolve to remain competitive.

Part of this evolution entailed the creation in 2011 of a near real-time third-party logistics (3PL) service to support a key client’s supply chain.  Wim Bosman Belgium houses almost 200,000 individual types of small components used in the assembly of the client’s products, and delivers these “just in time” from their warehouse to the client’s assembly factory.  These deliveries are initiated by a continuous stream of requests from the client’s assembly management system and, through an interface to the Wim Bosman Belgium warehouse management system, trigger the picking and delivery of components to the client.  Delivery of the requested components must be made in adherence with a set of extremely stringent service levels, including support for expedited requests.

The Challenge

This service depends entirely on technology, from start to finish.  To meet the required service levels, the business unit responsible for the service selected a new Warehouse Management System (WMS) that met all their business and functional requirements.  However, the chosen system was based on a Linux and Oracle platform, an environment in which the IT department had minimal experience.

The WMS is a significant system, managing almost 200,000 components and supporting over 60 users.  The production database is around 30GB in size and receives many thousands of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) requests daily for components, from the client’s assembly management system.

The WMS is a crucial piece of infrastructure supporting Wim Bosman’s ability to deliver this time-critical service.  Any unavailability of the WMS translates directly into delayed deliveries and subsequent interruption to the client’s assembly line.  This cannot be allowed to happen, so in addition to local failover and redundancy of individual system components, Wim Bosman designed a full disaster recovery (DR) solution that would house a complete replica of the production system at a second, remote, location.

The static components of the solution, including the WMS application and its reference data, could be readily reproduced at the DR site by way of nightly data transfers.  In order to comply with agreed service levels however, inflight and pending inventory requests from the client needed to continue to be processed, even in the event of failure.  To enable this, dynamic data including delivery request transactions, needed to be replicated much more frequently.  This required almost continuous replication of data from the production database to the DR database.  Physical data replication can be used to deliver this functionality, allowing almost real-time replication of data between databases at multiple locations.

Tasked with deploying and supporting such a system on an unfamiliar platform, Wim Bosman’s IT department scanned the market for solutions that would help them meet the non-functional requirements the business had for the WMS, including availability and disaster recovery.

They needed to deploy a solution which ensured that, even in the event of complete failure at the primary site, the DR site could be up and operational within minutes.  All with a loss of less than ten minutes of transactional data.

The Solution

Seeing benefit in having all the database technology sourced from a single supplier, Wim Bosman began by looking at Oracle’s own data replication solution, Oracle Data Guard.  They quickly ruled out this option though, because of the significant cost involved; while the WMS was able to utilize Oracle Standard Edition, Data Guard only operates on Oracle Enterprise, increasing the overall cost of the Oracle licenses by almost 600%!

At this point the IT department began searching for a smarter alternative, and identified DBVISIT STANDBY data replication as a solution.  Although Dbvisit’s web site and documentation made the installation and configuration appear simple, the IT project team was hesitant due to their limited Linux and Oracle experience.

They were very pleased however when able to construct an operational test installation within a few hours of downloading the product.

A Dbvisit Standby configuration consists of a primary (production) database and one or more standby (backup) databases. The primary and standby databases connect using a standards-based secure mechanism over TCP/IP; meaning that databases can exist anywhere provided they can communicate with one another via TCP/IP.  Once the standby database is available, Dbvisit Standby is then scheduled to synchronize the databases by transmitting the archive logs from the primary database and applying them to all of the standby databases.

The full implementation, including configuration, testing, deployment and production support was performed by the Wim Bosman IT team without any specialist training from Dbvisit.  Such is the reliability and simplicity of Dbvisit Standby that the team was able to successfully deliver the solution using only Dbvisit’s online training tools and documentation.

Dbvisit Standby is a proven, reliable and cost effective physical data replication solution for Oracle Standard Edition databases that can be used to deliver a disaster recovery solution. 

In the case of Wim Bosman Belgium’s WMS, data replication occurs every ten minutes, with each replication transferring between 20 – 50 MB of data from the production to the DR site, and taking a few seconds.  This replication frequency was carefully selected to balance the need for timely data at the DR site with any potential impact on the application, servers and networks.

The Outcome

With Dbvisit Standby, Wim Bosman saved 80% in up-front licensing costs, and over 85% on annual product maintenance – every year!

Such has been the success of the service, in which the WMS and Dbvisit Standby play a pivotal role, that Wim Bosman has now rolled it out to several additional locations across Europe, with more installations planned.

Using Dbvisit Standby, Wim Bosman has deployed a cost-effective DR solution that met the demands of the business, including the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) set for the system.  The solution has an RTO (the elapsed time between failure of the primary site and the standby site being operational in its place) of 15 minutes.  It has an RPO (the maximum acceptable data loss, measured in time, during a disaster) of ten minutes, based on the ten minute synchronization frequency.

Wim Bosman supports and operates the WMS, including the DR system, within their own data centers and using their own in-house IT staff.  While they are thankful that they have not yet had reason to trigger the disaster recovery plan for real, they remain confident that their DR testing program, combined with the reliability of Dbvisit Standby, will see them in good stead should the need arise.

Since the implementation of the initial site in Belgium in mid-2012, Wim Bosman has begun offering the same logistics service to other clients in other countries, including the Netherlands where they have recently deployed the same WMS solution, incorporating the DR solution based on Dbvisit Standby.

Wim Bosman has also deployed a number of updates to the WMS application, all without any impact or disruption to the Dbvisit Standby solution.

Return on Investment

Dbvisit Standby delivers a compelling return on investment to Wim Bosman.

Dbvisit Standby has a significantly lower acquisition cost than Oracle Data Guard.  A key factor in these savings is the fact that the Dbvisit solution does not require costly licenses for Oracle Enterprise Edition.  By deploying a solution utilizing Dbvisit Standby, Wim Bosman saved 80% on its total up-front license fees.

The ease of implementation, testing and deployment reduced the effort and cost of the implementation project, further reducing the up-front costs of the solution.  Since commissioning, Dbvisit Standby has continued to deliver benefits to Wim Bosman in ongoing total cost of ownership (TCO).  For example:

  • The lower up-front licensing costs result in significantly lower annual maintenance costs, with annual license savings of over 85%!
  • Dbvisit’s favorable “multiple instances” licensing model has significantly reduced the incremental cost of deploying Standby in additional locations.
  • Because Dbvisit Standby operates independently of the application, updates or changes to the WMS (even those that impact the database structure) have not required changes to the Standby configuration.  This has significantly reduced the cost of supporting and maintaining the DR environment; Dbvisit Standby can simply be left to run.

The combination of lower up-front license fees and lower annual maintenance will deliver total savings over five years of a staggering 83%.  That’s before the additional benefit of Dbvisit’s multiple instances license model is taken into account.

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About Dbvisit

Dbvisit develops disaster recovery and database replication products that ensure an organization’s critical data is available and up-to-date when and where it is needed; whether on-premise, in the cloud or a combination of both.

Dbvisit was formed in 2006 to develop Dbvisit Standby, an off-the-shelf, low-cost, high performance disaster recovery solution for Oracle Standard Edition (SE) database users.  Today, Dbvisit Standby is the world's leading Data Guard alternative solution for Oracle Standard Edition.

Over 500 business, academic, and public sector organizations in 80 countries trust Dbvisit products to deliver replication for their Oracle databases.  Since 2011 Dbvisit has been ranked in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 for Asia Pacific for the fastest growing technology companies in the region.  Dbvisit is an Oracle Gold Partner.

About Wim Bosman

Wim Bosman is a European 3PL+ logistics service provider offering European transport & distribution, logistics and air & ocean freight solutions.  Wim Bosman was established in 1963 and today is a member of Mainfreight, a global Supply Chain Logistics.

With branch offices in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Romania, Poland and Russia, they have 340,000 m2 warehousing facilities and operate over 1,500 transport units across Europe.  Wim Bosman has over 1600 employees, and turned over Euro 269 M in 2010.


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