DHL Worldwide Express is the world s largest and most experienced international air express network with service to more than 675,000 destinations in the world. DHL maintains its position as the world s leading international network by continually expanding and upgrading its network of offices, hubs, services, and Information technology, and by offering superior service through a well-trained and dedicated workforce with a total number of 228 countries, 3002 stations, 63,552 employees, 18,576 vehicles, 252 aircraft, and 35 hubs. DHL sends more than 140 million shipments to destinations throughout the world per year.
Problem Definition. DHL had become aware that its disparate and ageing legacy systems were not adequate to support its leadership of the international air express delivery industry in providing state-of-the-art technology that gives customers easy access to shipping and tracking information, shipping, billing and data management. Justification for Problem Definition. DHL has always had IBM mainframes, which were having trouble making public information readily available to customers because our mainframe environment was not conducive to providing end-user access.
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The hardware ranged around ageing IBM boxes, with access through dumb terminals. Connections to the mainframe were provided by asynchronous parts. Several problems arose from this IT solution. Primarily DHL was using old technology which, in its day, was the market leader, but which now demands a high level of support. DHL billing system Sequential file organization at the time of implementation was the market leader in billing applications for the mainframe environment. The training and support overheads are very high and skills are difficult to secure. Alternatives
- Organizing data in a traditional file environment.
- Standardize on the Oracle relational database management system (RDBMS) and Unix.
- Standardize on the Informix relational database management system and Unix.
- Evaluating Alternatives
- Organizing data in a traditional file environment.
An effective information system provides users with timely, accurate and relevant information. This information is stored in computer files. When the files are properly arranged and maintained, users can easily access and retrieve the information they need. Well-managed, carefully arranged files make it easy to obtain data for business decisions; whereas poorly managed files lead to chaos in information processing, high costs, poor performance, and little, if any, flexibility. Despite the use of excellent hardware and software, many organizations have inefficient information systems because of poor file management. Limitations of file-based systems:
- Separation and isolation of data
- Duplication of data
- Data dependence
- Incompatibility of files
- Fixed queries/proliferation of application programs
Standardize on the Oracle RDBMS and Unix. DBMS is simply the software that permits an organization to centralize data, manage them efficiently, and provide access to the stored data by application programs. The DBMS acts as an interface between application programs and the physical data files. Oracle DBMS would avoid DHL s billing painful issues. Applying client/server architecture, optimise database performance, ability to time applications based on performance, permits the DBA to ensure that the data is evenly distributed across all the disks to maximize the disk I/O which results in far less administration time and reduce ongoing maintenance costs. Unfortunately, the oracle option was expensive for DHL.
Standardize on the Informix relational database management system and Unix. Informix is a transaction-processing database engine that manages I/O operations directly so that performance is maximized. It is designed to handle the high-performance requirements and integrity concerns of many large applications. Informix provides features that increase performance, extend available data types and improve the administrative aspects of database management. Advantages of Informix:
- Raw I/O and optimised shared memory for greater performance
- High availability and automatic recovery
- Increased locking and process isolation options for greater integrity control
- Variable-length character data (VARCHARS)
- Binary large objects (BLOBS) can be any type or amount of data
- Distributed query capability across multiple databases
- Distributed query capability across multiple Informix systems
Development. International billing system (IBS6) replaced the traditional file environment to take advantage of the Informix DBMS
Advantages of DBMS:
- Control of data redundancy
- Data consistency
- More Information from the same amount of data
- Sharing of data
- Improved data integrity
- Improved security
- Improved data accessibility and responsiveness
- Increased concurrency
- Improved backup and recovery services
IBS6 Prerequisite: IBS V6 is based on the Informix recommended version that is fully Y2K compliant. The foundation set under which this software is developed is as follows.
- HP UX 10.20
- Informix IDS 7.3.0.UC5
- Informix 4GL 7.2.0.UD4
- Informix ES QLC 7.24.UC5
- Sizing: Disk space 450 MB
Database size: To calculate the required space for the IBS database, you need to estimate the average monthly inbound and outbound shipments. The installation process will perform sizing calculations based on these figures.
- Inbound shipments per month 1000 5000 9000 40000 80000
- Required DB space (MB) 100 100 113 498 995
- Outbound shipments per month 1000 5000 9000 40000 80000
- Required DB space (MB) 178 203 227 417 661
Conclusions/Recommendations. DHL s billing problems have been overcome; the system is being rolled out globally. The aim is to integrate the billing system from the traditional file environment to Informix DBMS has been achieved by the implementation of IBS6. Even with the district number of sites, DHL has standardized its as much as possible its billing system. IBS6 has been carefully planned to provide maximum availability and accuracy of billing statements. Work is still in progress on the system, with IBS6 software upgrades being constantly pushed out to sites around the world.