More performance, as well as increasing market and customer requirements, force warehouse and distribution center operators to have an eye not only on modern warehouse management systems and up-to-date materials handling technology but also on the performance of the hardware and software used. When servers and mass storage systems get old, maintenance costs, in particular, rise sharply, as does the risk of failure. GLS-Dental from Kassel, therefore, had its aging high-availability cluster replaced by the software manufactory TUP and had it completely replaced in just one weekend.

The demands on the new system were high. On the one hand, there should be enough storage space available to archive the data records from the warehouse management system, and on the other hand, sufficient reserves had to be provided for the migration of the 32-bit runtime environment to a 64-bit Java environment. In addition, the old Solaris 10 cluster had to be changed to the new Solaris 11.3 operating system version and the Oracle database had to be upgraded to release 12c. This is a system that can organize extensive and complex data volumes (see also our hardware services).

GLS-Dental: A smooth migration with fail-safes in place

“The challenge was undoubtedly the smooth migration to the new hardware. This includes the customer-specific DNS and DHCP server, the database, the TUP application and the connection of the heterogeneous thin client infrastructure,” says Oliver Chimbo, project manager at TUP. In order to guarantee a smooth system migration, we have been using comprehensive test scenarios for years, which requires a trial run of the new hardware on the TUP campus. Our hardware and software specialists were able to test the migration of the data and TUP applications from the old to the new system sufficiently to ensure that the installation and migration at the customer’s site ran smoothly – for example, we needed just two hours to migrate the WMS and MFR data and the associated archive data.

1.7 million parts on an area of 3,800 square meters

The good cooperation with the GLS Dental managers also contributed significantly to the success. “We have trusted TUP for years and already use the warehouse management system (TUP.WMS) and the material flow control system (TUP.MFCS) from TUP; why not also the hardware and software migration,” says Klaus Holtmann, Head of IT and Logistics Planning. “If you only juggle the pick-ins and pick-outs, we have to manage up to 32,000 articles every day, all in all distributed over 33 different warehouse types and different picking processes – not only do the hardware and software have to be state-of-the-art, the interaction between materials handling technology and logistics software must also be fully coordinated. After all, our customers have the right to be supplied without interruption”. According to its own statements, the GLS project is a logistical miracle in itself: Over 1.7 million parts are stored in the logistics center – on just 3,800 square meters of space.

Project period: After a five-day stabilization phase, the productive system was recently accepted by GLS-Dental. Only three months and 19 days passed from order placement to acceptance.