For Automatic Distributors, D-Day Became V-Day

Customer Success Story
  • Human error caused a systems crash for Automatic Distributors, a power sports parts distributor
  • Oxford Networks tapped its engineering team, offered remote hosting, ran a redundant fiber line off the street, and saved the day
  • Automatic Distributors now uses Oxford Networks’ Data Center for colocation

June 6 is remembered as D-Day, the day the Allied forces led a historic assault on German forces on the beaches of Normandy, helping to secure victory and bringing War World II one step closer to its merciful end.

Jeff Graham, the owner of Automatic Distributors, describes June 6 of 2016 as his D-Day.

“You know those shows where everyone in the community comes together after a disaster to help someone in crisis?,” asks Graham. “It really felt just like that. Everyone came together to help. It was a very stressful three weeks, but it all came together. And the i-series has been a rock ever since.”

jeff-graham-automatic-distributors-officeAutomatic Distributors is a B to B wholesale distributor of parts and accessories for the power sports industry including ATVs, utility vehicles, motocross, snowmobiles, marine craft and motorcycles. The Bangor-based company relies extensively on internet orders and fulfillment to serve customers worldwide. It uses IBMi series servers as the brains of its operation, coordinating orders between its Bangor and Indianapolis facilities.

“We were changing some batteries on our server and a live RAID card was inadvertently taken out and it crashed the system,” he explains. “No one could recover it and get it back up.” So Jeff called Oxford Networks’ CTO Ron Shink, who referred him to Senior Systems Engineer Joe Hodge, an expert on the i-series. Graham had known Hodge and worked with him on IT needs for years when Joe was with Norton Lamb, an IT solutions company, prior to its acquisition by Oxford Networks.

“I called Joe and asked if Oxford Networks had an IBMi machine with a card we could use to replace the damaged one we had,” explains Graham. “Joe dropped everything and arrived that next morning and I then worked with Joe tirelessly for weeks including late into the nights and weekends. Joe was absolutely integral in the recovery and eventual solution,” said Graham.

“Joe said Oxford offered IBMi hosting on its own cloud at Oxford Networks’ Brunswick (Maine) Data Center, and that we would be well served by remote hosting at their facility. Oxford Networks had us up and running in two weeks.”
However, there was still a significant issue to work out. Automatic Distributors’ IP sessions kept dropping, and no one could figure out why. “Virtually the whole staff in Brunswick came together to help. Everybody was involved down there, including five or six engineers. They even ran a fiber line off the street, and had daily briefings in the morning with engineering staff. Eventually, someone suggested we change the IP subnet, and the problem was resolved.”

Graham, a no-nonsense businessman who loves to talk about his 40-year-old company with pride, explains that Google couldn’t provide the support he needed, which is why he approached Oxford Networks. He’s glad he turned to what he called a “solid bricks-and-mortar company” to help with his dilemma. Automatic Distributors now houses a number of servers at the Brunswick Data Center and intends to relocate more of them.

“You know those shows where everyone in the community comes together after a disaster to help someone in crisis?,” asks Graham. “It really felt just like that. Everyone came together to help. It was a very stressful three weeks, but it all came together. And the i-series has been a rock ever since.”

Three cheers for V-Day.

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