Glöckle direct GmbH Relies on Red Hat’s JBoss Enterprise Application Platform to Marry Legacy Database Servers with State-of-the-Art Java Front-end Applications

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December 1, 2010

Customer: Glöckle direct

Industry: Services
Geography: EMEA
Country: Germany


Business Challenge:

To build a scalable and highly flexible middleware infrastructure for a new Java-based customer care and marketing application based on proven database server hardware

Migration Path:

Legacy IBM AS/400 client-server based application to a browser-based system developed in Java, using JBoss Enterprise Application Platform

Software:

JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, JBoss EJB (Versions 1.1 and 3)

Hardware:

IBM AS/400 midrange servers, HP RX6600

Benefits:

Built a modern and scalable infrastructure; Realised considerable cost savings; Secured its investment in a mission-critical, future-proof infrastructure”What’s great about JBoss Enterprise Middleware is that all the components just work together nicely. We can pick just what we need and keep the total cost of ownership much lower than with proprietary software. That also saves us a lot of time and effort when architecting the system.”– Uwe Wagensommer, head of IT at Glöckle direct

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Background:

Glöckle direct GmbH is a marketing and call centre services company, based in Stuttgart, Germany, that provides technical infrastructure and various management functions to clients within the Glöckle Group. Companies in the Glöckle Group, a family-owned group of companies with a history stretching back more than one hundred years, include lottery companies in Germany and Austria, an electricity reseller, and an e-commerce company that sells luxury chocolates. All of these subsidiaries have central business functions provided by Glöckle direct, including technical and IT infrastructure, human resources, and marketing. Glöckle direct’s IT and application development department is also responsible for creating and delivering the software tools required for successful operations within the Glöckle Group. Because state-licensed lotteries account for the lion’s share of Glöckle Group’s business, a large part of its application infrastructure is managed by Glöckle direct’s IT department, supporting marketing and customer care functions. Throughout the past decade, Glöckle Group has gradually expanded its operations beyond managing and marketing certified lotteries in southern Germany and added lottery organisations in Austria as well as northern Germany. The company’s IT philosophy is “build our own,” meaning that the entire infrastructure and application environment is custom developed, managed, and operated by Glöckle direct’s staff to meet the company’s specific needs.

Business Challenge:

“Our old call centre application was extremely robust and reliable, but its user interface with keyboard-centric data entry didn’t meet today’s usability requirements,” said Frank Breckle, Glöckle direct application developer. “Also, the company’s expansion into alternative industries brought about new requirements that the previous software, with its traditional client-server computing principles and RPG development, could no longer meet.”

Finally, the new system was required to provide enough openness and flexibility to quickly and efficiently accommodate additional business requirements as Glöckle Group’s operations expanded to new areas.

Solution:

Initially, the IT team considered IBM WebSphere as the application server and middleware foundation for the new system. “We quickly realised that IBM WebSphere would be too complex and bulky for our requirements,” said Breckle. “Luckily, a Red Hat Business Partner advised us to consider JBoss Enterprise Application Platform.”

Glöckle direct now has a number of new applications running on JBoss Enterprise Application Platform as well as other open source and JBoss Enterprise Middleware platforms and frameworks. T
he main call centre application is still based on the IBM AS/400 database server, but now JBoss Enterprise Application Platform channels user requests and sends the responses to a browser-based application that runs on a Tomcat web server within the architecture.

“What’s great about JBoss Enterprise Middleware is that all the components just work together nicely,” said Wagensommer. “We can pick just what we need and keep the total cost of ownership much lower than with proprietary software. That also saves us a lot of time and effort when architecting the system.”

Benefits:

With the strategic choice of JBoss Enterprise Application Platform as the foundation for its new application development and deployment framework, Glöckle direct developed a highly flexible, cost-effective solution that meets the growing business requirements of the customers within the Glöckle Group.

The EJB layer of the JBoss Enterprise Middleware within the system architecture was instrumental in joining the proven and reliable IBM AS/400 database server with state-of-the-art, browser-based Java applications at the front-end. In addition, it simplified the integration of the new MGA application with more than 100 million sets of customer data.

“Compared to alternative solutions such as IBM WebSphere, we have probably saved a high five-digit Euro figure in license costs per year,” said Wagensommer. “In addition, we were able to develop and maintain our infrastructure predominantly in-house.”

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