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Case Studies - FUJI YAKUHINBusiness Continuity Solutions on Virtual PlatformsEXPRESSCLUSTER and scalable HA server ensures outstanding performance and availability on company-wide database for the expansion of drugstore business.
2014 marks the 60th anniversary of FUJI YAKUHIN. The company supports healthy lifestyles through a pharmaceutical delivery business (home medicine) that has the number one share in the domestic market. FUJI YAKUHIN also fulfills a mission through a nationwide expansion of drugstores and through dispensing pharmacy business. The company with its factory in Toyama Prefecture performs everything from manufacturing to the sale of the pharmaceutical products. Due to recent efforts made in the development of ethical pharmaceuticals, it has now become a complex pharmaceutical business. At FUJI YAKUHIN, a database (DB) containing core business information such as product masters, sales, orders and inventory management operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
"With the merging of group companies by M&A, and the increase in the number of drugstores, the database we have been using is approaching the limit of its capabilities. Therefore we require integrated operations management for the purpose of ensuring the stability of business integration and our store systems," stated Mr. Tamura, General Manager of the Solution Business Division. There are currently around 1200 drugstores, and it is also necessary for the Solution Business Division to respond to new business needs, such as improving the efficiency of orders.
Proposals from a number of companies were considered to support the drugstore business during the headquarter Systems Renewal process. An NEC solution that included a combination of the EXPRESSCLUSTER high availability clustering software, the highly scalable Express5800/Scalable HA Server, VMware's virtualization platform and InterSystems Corporation's rapid DB product (InterSystemsCaché®) was adopted.
A joint evaluation of the proposed solution was performed in advance using a real environment, with Mr. Satoh, Manager of the Solution Business Division, who states that "the DB server processing performance has improved dramatically. By my evaluation, its availability and scalability to support business expansion in the future is greater than or equal to that of the FT server that we have been using." "With more than 10 years of support from NEC, we had a sense of security going in, regarding the operating performance of multiple business servers that support FUJI YAKUHIN's information infrastructure, including FT server, as well as the advanced SI capabilities," added Mr. Tamura.
The Express5800/A1080a-D Scalable HA Server for DB server use, which is used by the drugstore business, splits resources such as the memory and CPU of the machine across two physical servers. As each server can be operated as a single independent system, even if a fault occurs, the system will remain online and will not stop. In addition, one more HA server with the same specifications (A1080a-D) was set up as a standby node, and clustering was performed using EXPRESSCLUSTER. With consideration of HA server package failures, a cluster configuration was built that operates between two separate packages, leading to increased availability across the entire system. Further, using EXPRESSCLUSTER SingleServerSafe, which strengthens single server fault tolerance, it is possible to detect and recover software faults on group company DB servers running separately on the virtualization platform. The availability of the entire system is being increased using robust servers and clustering technology.
Since the cutover of May 2014, system robustness and reliability have increased, with the current operating status at stable. HW server specifications such as memory capacity have also increased significantly. "Batch processing of head office sales management data that used to take 20 hours, is now completed in 2 hours — a significant reduction in processing time. Processing times have also been reduced for company-wide monthly account processing, including for group companies, enabling more rapid managerial judgments," stated Mr. Tamura. Mr. Shinagawa, Manager of the Solution Business Division, expects that "with automation of ordering tasks at each store and other such initiatives, continued systematization of the business will be possible in future."
"Compared with the previously used method of physically proliferating the servers for each group company store on a rack, virtualization technology enables rapid setup of new business system environments. In addition, because a virtual machine is independent, you don't have to worry about the influence on other virtual machines when you restart a server at another store. To M&A, we do not only consider business integration to be important but we also value system integration. Virtualization enables rapid system integration, and synergy effects can be demonstrated," evaluated Mr. Satoh.
FUJI YAKUHIN aims to open drugstores across all prefectures and cities. "If the duties performed at our stores can be done more efficiently using, for example, order automation, our staff will be able to focus more on improving the quality of service to customers. At the Solution Business Division, we want to increase customer visits in the future by using sales analysis to figure out the top-selling products and using CRM connected to point cards," stated Mr. Tamura regarding future prospects.
Having a robust DB infrastructure using a virtualization platform means that, post-integration, we can rapidly build business systems for any other businesses that FUJI YAKUHIN ventures into or for business integration. This would greatly benefit us in terms of M&A strategy. FUJI YAKUHIN would like to continue to receive business assistance from NEC.
FUJI YAKUHIN CO., LTD.
|Type of business||Selling medicine kits containing pharmaceutical products, etc., pharmacy sales, manufacturing|
|Headquarters address||Sakuragi-cho 4-383, Omiya-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama-ken|
|Employees||4,416 (as of March 2014)|
|Pain-in capital||JPY 314.55 million|
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