DB Schenker keeps global logistics running smoothly

Enabling always-on EDI with Axway

DB Schenker is one of the world’s leading global logistics providers, supporting industry and trade in the global exchange of goods through land transport, worldwide air and ocean freight, contract logistics and supply chain management. Headquartered in Essen, Germany, DB Schenker employs around 72,700 people across more than 1,850 locations in over 130 countries.

Joachim Weise, Senior Vice President of Global Technology and Data at DB Schenker, says: “Our IT platforms are the backbone of our logistics operations. To help us provide high-quality solutions to customers around the world, we leverage over 10,000 EDI integrations to transport over a billion messages a year.”

For more than two decades, DB Schenker has relied on Axway B2B Integration to help deliver EDI services. As the company expanded, the company found it increasingly complex to support the needs of its global business with a single, central instance of the solution.

Björn Wachholz, Head of Operations and Framework Competence Center at DB Schenker, continues: “Because DB Schenker operates in so many global regions, it was a tough challenge to find downtime windows for planned maintenance on our B2B Integration environment that worked for all our stakeholders.”

Moving to the cloud

DB Schenker saw an opportunity to streamline the management and maintenance of its B2B Integration environment, and further enhance EDI availability by moving to a load-balanced architecture. The aim was to distribute B2B Integration servers across multiple availability zones of a cloud data center, increasing redundancy and minimizing the business risk of service interruptions.

Wachholz confirms: “Working closely with Axway, we set out to move our existing B2B Integration instance from our existing on-premises infrastructure to a multicluster cloud environment deployed across multiple AWS availability zones.”

DB Schenker adopted a phased approach to the project, beginning with migrating B2B Integration from the on-premises Oracle Solaris platform to Linux on AWS. By running both on-premises and cloud environments in parallel, the company was able to gradually move its EDI integrations to the new multi-cluster cloud setup.

Michael Scherner, Head of Integration & Platform Competence Center at DB Schenker, elaborates: “From the customer perspective, the migration project was almost seamless. After we had verified that integrations were running as expected on the cloud platform, we worked with each customer to arrange a time for the switchover — it went very smoothly.”

Accelerating maintenance

By using business-to-business integration in a multi-cluster environment, DB Schenker has significantly improved the speed and efficiency of its maintenance processes.

Begzudin Omerovic, Head of Integration System Architecture and Innovation at DB Schenker, explains: “We’ve moved from manually patching our B2B Integration servers once a month to patching them automatically every week, helping us to harden our EDI environment against cyberthreats. Crucially, our high-availability architecture means that we can redistribute EDI workloads to other servers in the cluster while we’re patching, which practically eliminates the need for downtime during the process.”

Scherner adds: “Thanks to our work with Axway, we estimate that we have reduced the time and cost associated with routine maintenance by around 20%. With B2B Integration solution running in a multi-cluster environment in the cloud, we’re also avoiding around 40 hours of maintenance downtime per year, which helps us deliver round-the-clock services to global customers.”

Creating room to grow

By moving to a multi-cluster solution, DB Schenker is also creating valuable headroom for business growth. Wachholz comments: “During peak periods, our on-premises environment was under a great deal of strain. Today, we evenly distribute EDI workloads across all our B2B Integration servers, helping us to deliver high performance for EDI processing at all times and meet our service-level agreements.”

Looking ahead, DB Schenker plans to work with Axway to enable elastic scalability by moving to a containerized environment.

Scherner concludes: “Axway has provided us with a stable, performant EDI solution for more than 20 years, and regularly engages with us to make sure that B2B Integration is meeting our needs. We see Axway as a true partner to DB Schenker.”

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