Walkers Shortbread Avert a Three-Day System Outage After a Snowstorm Threatens Their IBM i Environment

Maxava’s Real Time DR Solutions Make Sure Nothing Stands in the Way of Producing the World’s Best Shortbread

IRVINE, Calif. (April 20, 2011) – Maxava, a global leader in IBM i high availability (HA) software, today announced that Walkers Shortbread Limited, bakers of world-renowned shortbread and other treats, has successfully implemented a full system fail-over using the Maxava HA Enterprise solution to provide real-time disaster recovery (DR) for its IBM i environment after a snowstorm affected their production machine.

Walkers Fail-over in Minutes after Snow Storm
Walkers Head Office is located in Aberlour, Scotland and this facility hosts both their production IBM i machine and their backup IBM i machine.  The production box is housed in the new executive office, Aberlour house – the former Gordonstoun Preparatory School recently opened by HRH Prince Charles and which Walkers have restored to its former glory.  The backup box resides across the large campus 750 yards away in a server room in a corner of the main factory.  The two locations run on completely different power supplies. Updates to the database are replicated in real-time between the machines using Maxava HA Enterprise.

A late winter snow storm brought down power lines in the vicinity of Aberlour, causing a prolonged three-day power outage.  This affected the offices housing the production IBM i but not the factory where the back-up IBM i was located.

“Walkers has built a solid reputation for quality and excellence and it’s important to ensure the systems that support the organization are always available,” said Paul Johnson, IT Manager, Walkers Shortbread.  Walkers was relieved to have had the forethought to prepare for just such a situation and it took only a matter of minutes to switch from the main to back-up box.  “Our biggest concerns, when the power outage occurred, were maintaining prompt order processing and meeting payroll commitments,” says Johnson.  “We must process orders and meet time-sensitive delivery deadlines and at Walkers we work as a team.”

The company continued to operate on the back-up box for the best part of a week and this allowed a controlled return to the primary machine and re-setting of data.

If Walkers had not been prepared with Maxava HA, the company would have had to fall back on manual processes for capturing orders and processing its payroll.

“It’s really a case of the consequences of not having Maxava HA,” says Johnson.  “We need to keep taking orders, keep paying people, and keep everything up-to-date no matter what happens.  Maxava HA ensures that we can keep working if one of the boxes fails for any reason, server issues, fire, power; it’s as simple as that.”

Walkers have since implemented a power generator to supply the head office which greatly lessens the impact a future power outage could have on operations.  Walkers uses Infor’s ERP System 21 Aurora software running on the IBM i operating system and IBM Power Systems servers to support its business operations.  The IBM system and associated applications are a key part of managing production, payroll and other accounting functions.

Maxava and Onyx Group Partner for Success
Johnson worked with Maxava partner Onyx Group to select and implement DR software, hardware and procedures for critical IBM software systems.  During the product selection process, Walkers insisted that the DR software be “switch ready.”  After consulting with the Onyx Group, Walkers selected Maxava.

To support the business resiliency initiative, Walkers purchased a new IBM i model 525 server; the existing production IBM 520 became the backup machine and was moved to another Walkers location nearby.  The Onyx Group installed the IBM servers and Maxava HA, migrated live applications to this new IBM Power System and developed role swap and failover procedures to ensure DR readiness had been achieved.


“The distinction between role swap and failover is key. In a failover scenario, the primary system becomes unavailable with little or no notice.  In this case steps are required to quickly swap live processing to the secondary system and when the primary system becomes available again to revert back to the primary system.  With the correct procedures in place, Maxava HA functionality handles returning to the original primary system with a minimum of fuss whilst maintaining data integrity,” explained Michael Clark, Managing Consultant at the Onyx Group.

“We’re very happy with Maxava HA and with the Onyx Group.  We wanted a solution that would allow us to flick the switch, go to the other box and users would be able to carry on with their work. Maxava HA does this, just like it says ‘on the tin,’” added Johnson.

About Walkers Shortbread
Walkers Shortbread
continues the family tradition that started in 1898 making the finest quality shortbread, oatcakes, biscuits, cakes and other Scottish bakery specialties. Increasing demand for its delicious and all-natural products has seen the company expand to distribution in over 80 markets around the world. Walkers’ now produces over 2,000 sku’s and includes distribution to a majority of the UK’s grocery chains, prestigious London stores, world-wide hotel groups and airport terminals.

About Maxava
Maxava is a worldwide provider of innovative high availability and disaster recovery software solutions for IBM i systems.  Customers have been using Maxava HA software for a decade to ensure business continuity, reduce risk and meet regulatory requirements.  Maxava’s software ensures business resilience for a cross section of the world’s most demanding IBM i customers through SaaS, cloud, subscription and traditional licensed software models.  Maxava has staff and customers located worldwide.

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