Having an even faster business document workflow based on the cutting edge Next software helped Folksam (Aktia) become among the leading insurance companies in Finland.
12.000 invoices a month does not qualify as “Extreme” document management. But filing each invoice 10.000 times does!
Palpa is a Finish company proving recycling services of bottles and cans for all grocery and liquor stores in Finland. In order to fulfill their documentation obligations Palpa need a document folder for each customer with a logical filing for each transaction. A single invoice may therefore be filed more than 10.000 times. An intimidating number that would challenge any content management system.
12,000 invoices a month doesn’t exactly qualify to the category “Extreme”. Filing each invoice 10,000 times does! Palpa in Finland has a lot of transactions to invoice. Sometimes thousands go into a single XML invoice.
In order to fulfill their documentation obligations Palpa need a document folder for each customer with a logical filing for each transaction. As a result a single invoice may be filed more than 10,000 times! An intimidating number of filings that could be a challenge for any content management system. From a storage perspective this is not an issue in Next, as the physical XML document (sometime in excess of 100 Mb) is only stored once, and then logically filed into virtual Next folders. Even from a filing performance perspective Next handles the 10,000 filings admirable. Next is designed for high-volume capture, and the Haystack based storage engine runs very efficiently in the virtualized Windows Server 2012 environment.
In the end even Next was challenged. The local consultants implementing Next noticed that the time to start up Next following a backup or an upgrade was increasing unexpectedly.
Not that you perform restarts often, but something is definitely wrong when the time to do so increases from 15 minutes to two hours!
Next Software Lab was asked to look into the issue, and support engineers quickly eliminated the traditional reasons of sub par performance in a VMware environment. Apparently we have an unforeseen limitation in the Next product. Even if 10,000 filings of each document is a huge number, the software engineers were surprised to see such a limitation.
The design of the storage engine was reviewed, and the actual code scrutinized. It soon turned out that in order to optimize the overall capture performance of the Haystack based storage engine in a cpu-restricted environment, we had sacrificed the performance in one-off situations as rebuilds and start ups. Especially in the “unlikely” event that a single document had excessive filings. Exactly the “unlikely” event that was now a reality. With the bottleneck identified it didn’t take Next Software Lab long to come up with a phased plan, to eliminate the limitation in Next, and at the same time insure the customer and others a fast, easy and safe upgrade path.
At the time of writing Next 220.127.116.11 is released for download, and already installed at the customer, taking the startup time from 2 hours to ten minutes. Next 18.104.22.168 is in Quality Assurance and expected to take the startup time down to a staggering 60 seconds, within the next couple of weeks. The findings at this customer have improved Next to the benefit of both them, and all existing and future users of Next.
These events show us that even with 27 years in the document and process business we are sometime taken by surprise by “real life realities”. We enjoy the challenges of – “extreme processing”, and remain confident that with Multi-Support Next on Windows, Linux, AIX and IBM i, we are capable of meeting any challenge “real life” has in store for us.
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Jørn M. Christensenjmc@nextway.software
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