Tsu City, founded in 2006, is the result of a merger of 10 former municipalities including the previous smaller Tsu City. It operates mission critical systems including local taxation and management of residential information. Initially this was on multiple small Intel servers. In order to secure stability for their essential consolidated database, Tsu Municipal Government introduced a PRIMEQUEST mission critical open server, a first for a local municipality customer. They also have plans to enhance and modernize their IT procurement and speed-up administrative services.
Located on the coast in south central Japan, some 120Km south west of Nagoya, Tsu City with over 290,000 residents, is the largest local government area in Mie prefecture. Since inception their aim has been to make Tsu City an attractive location.
Along with the merger of 10 local municipalities, Tsu City needed to renovate their residential information system. Residential information consists of residential data (residential database system), the local tax system (Cooperative tax database system), and the Welfare system (Comprehensive welfare database system). All of these are key administrative services. Mr. Suzuki, Administration officer of ICT, says “Along with the expansion of the municipality, we can expect benefits of scale for several administrative services. On the other hand, it is important we do not downgrade service levels.”
Although rare to introduce open servers for municipal mission critical systems with around 300,000 citizens, system renovation and rationalization was accomplished by replacing a mainframe with open servers. Mr. Suzuki says “Procurement by Mie prefecture emphasized “Economy”, “Effect” and “Efficiency”. In order to improve administrative service levels including IT, it was necessary for us to adopt different methods from previously.”
Database server availability, the core of the new residential information system, was initially secured by introducing 2 clustered Intel servers (8 x 32bit CPU each). For residential information storage an ETERNUS3000 Model 300 storage system was used. 15 Web Application servers were also introduced for the front-end systems and connected to client PCs in departments of Municipal Government and branch offices. They now provide multiple Web-based administration services. Despite the population administered by Tsu City having doubled, they succeeded in providing the required administrative services without system failures. However, there was one problem in operation. Mr. Kawaharada, Manager, Information System Planning Division, relates “Since the number of client PCs exceeded 450, the load on the database was greatly increased. At peak times, concentrated requests from clients caused response to decrease and customer service to downgrade.”
Tsu City decided that they must take countermeasures for stable operation and discussed several plans with MIE INFORMATION PROCESSING SERVICE CENTER CO., LTD., the company in charge of system configuration and maintenance service. Mr. Suzuki says “We planned to get back to the same service levels as the previous, now incorporated, Tsu City. As a result, we decided to scale-up the DB server which was causing the problem.”
PRIMEQUEST was then selected for this scale-up, because of its exceptional power. “There were limitations in speed and quantity in data loading when we were using 32bit CPUs. By introducing 64bit CPUs, memory space was greatly expanded and fast large scale loading become possible. It was the best choice in solving the bottleneck of our previous system.” Although scale-up in open servers was thought to be difficult, PRIMEQUEST mission critical open server solved this problem.
It took just 3 months to achieve production running. Deciding to introduce the server in April 2006 also made it the first case of PRIMEQUEST adoption by a local municipality. With a success factor of a fast upgrade, transfer of the current environment to a DB server on PRIMEQUEST required almost no alterations to the application. While downtime was kept to a minimum during server replacement.
When introducing the server, Tsu City' s operational environment was reproduced and implemented at Fujitsu's Platform Solution Center (PSC); a system evaluation facility in Hamamatsu-cho, Tokyo. Based on this work, a configuration of PRIMEQUEST440 with 16 Intel® Itanium® processors and 32GB Memory achieved the target performance results.
Mr. Kawaharada says, “Average CPU utilization had reached 40-50% on the DB server, but after server replacement the average CPU utilization went down to under 10%, with processing speed increases. Even if requests from clients flock to the server, the performance improvement means we can match the service levels offered by Tsu City before the municipal merger.”
With availability improvement a highlighted point, cluster level reliability is achieved and management costs reduced, thanks to the high-availability technology unique to PRIMEQUEST. Called “System Mirror” all main hardware components are duplicated and synchronized completely.
Mr. Suzuki comments, “We could make best efforts in improving administrative services, despite the financial constraints on local municipalities. By introducing PRIMEQUEST, we strengthened the mission critical system and kept server resources on the safe side. By using these extra resources we would like to enhance our administrative service levels further and in parallel rationalize IT procurement using the know-how acquired to further replace legacy systems.”
The project to introduce PRIMEQUEST, was the 3rd priority following rebuilding the DB server and reviewing batch applications. However, considering the cost, plus the time and availability issues for Tsu City, we think that this introduction is inevitable.
We also thought we could create a secure system pattern (a combination of PRIMEQUEST high reliability, 64-bit database environment and our own packaged solution product “G-Partner”) to recommend to other Local Government units in the area, where mainframe was the only option.
The test data used in the evaluation tests performed at the Fujitsu Platform Solution Center matched the actual business data of Tsu City. Thanks to this test environment, we could measure the precise performance and make an appropriate server configuration proposal that met Tsu City's target requirements.
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