There’s nothing like real-world examples to illustrate a platform’s true capability to support enterprise-level production workloads. Flashlight maker Mag Instrument, for example, used HPE’s Superdome X and Microsoft SQL Server to modernize its aging infrastructure, demonstrating the scalability and availability that the combo can provide.

Founded more than 35 years ago, Mag Instrument manufactures the MAGLITE adjustable-beam aluminum flashlights that have a reputation for functionality and reliability. Mag Instrument’s manufacturing process is managed with a mission-critical ERP solution that formerly ran on the IBM AS/400 platform. The company’s core ERP solution is Infor-XA (previously MAPICS), designed specifically for discrete manufacturing. Mag Instrument relies on Infor XA for every aspect of its manufacturing operations. Infor XA performs supply chain management and logistics, as well as shipping, payroll and financial reporting.

It’s not overstating things to say that Mag Instrument’s business depends on Infor-XA’s availability. If Infor-XA went down, business would stop and Mag Instrument would be unable to process orders or ship products.  

The IBM AS/400 system Infor-XA had been running on was an aging traditional “green screen” system, but, it, too, was known for its availability and reliability. Mag Instrument needed more, however: It had to modernize its infrastructure to the x86 platform to enable support for new Windows-based functionality.

During the upgrade process, Mag Instrument had to ensure that the new platform would be highly available, with the same kinds of performance experienced on the older platform. Becker Technologies, a long-time technology partner, recommended that Mag Instrument move to the HPE Superdome X platform. Cody Becker, a partner with Becker Technologies, stated, “We recommended Superdome X because there’s no other mission-critical solution on the market like it. With other x86 platforms you still need at least two boxes to get the physical workload isolation and uptime Mag required. Superdome X with nPars provided everything in one box.”

Mag Instrument implemented the HPE Superdome X and HPE 3PAR StoreServ 7200 Storage. HPE 3PAR StoreServ augmented the Superdome X installation by providing all-flash performance and six-nines of availability. The new ERP environment included Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, and several custom-developed SQL Server applications for engineering, job scheduling, tooling, bar coding and other business-critical functions.

Mag Instrument’s IT infrastructure is now 100% virtualized using VMware running in two nPars on Superdome X. This allows Mag-Lite to run each nPar as a separate physical system. By leveraging the extreme scalability of the Superdome X platform, Mag Instrument has been able to consolidate more than 100 VMs on multiple physical servers down to 57 VMs on a single Superdome X server.

The move to the HPE Superdome X and the Microsoft server platform also enabled the company to provide continuous availability for its mission-critical applications. Mag Instrument gained 20 times better reliability/availability/serviceability (RAS), and increased the performance of its applications by 45%.

Eli Ramirez, senior programmer analyst at Mag, noted, “We’ve seen a noticeable improvement in application responsiveness since moving to Superdome X. For example, someone pulling up the open job status in the tool room will get results in a fraction of the time it took before.”

At the same time, Mag Instrument was able to lower its licensing costs by 20% and reduce administration time by 50%. For on-going support, Mag Instrument took advantage of HPE Proactive Care Advanced to assist in keeping the solution running optimally and to prioritize any required incident resolutions.

You can read more about Mag Instrument’s Superdome X modernization project at MAGLITE manufacturer modernizes mission-critical ERP system with HPE

HPE and Microsoft are the underwriters of this article.