Ashwood Computer successfully converts Envirochem, Inc to Reality 14.1!

Envirochem, Inc. had considered a conversion from their aging, yet reliable “Spirit” platform to a more modern system for several years. Their McDonnell Douglas M6000 (“Spirit”) hardware was showing its 20+ years of age, becoming increasingly more difficult and expensive to locate and acquire replacement parts, as well as locating qualified service personnel to effect repairs.

The “Spirit” system was “incredibly” slow when compared with some of their newer Windows Intel systems. Their legacy, text-based, green-screen applications were also showing their age; employees were frustrated by the overall performance of the legacy system, the inability to network office resources, and the lack of an attractive interface. When an end-user needed to drill into existing data, multiple database sessions were required; this effort slowed their response to customer or supplier inquiries.

Sid Fleisher, vice president and systems manager at Envirochem, said “The old system had become the focus of our disaster plan because recovery was something we had big worries about. Envirochem president Debbie Gildersleeve established the plan to migrate off of the legacy system and it was her continued drive and persistence that finally made that plan a “Reality”.”

When looking for a new system, the focus was placed on:

  1. State of the art hardware with plenty of storage
  2. Must have the ability to network attach copiers and printers to system
  3. Must blend the Reality database, Microsoft applications and offer GUI
  4. Minimal end-user retraining

Ashwood worked closely with the Envirochem team and their consultant, Mark Johnson, as multiple database and conversion options were considered. The finalists for further analysis and review were Reality, Universe, and D3. After thorough consideration of Envirochem legacy applications and the conversion effort required, the upgrade to the latest release of Reality, version14.1, was found to provide the most efficient, cost effective path. Envirochem, Inc. ultimately chose Ashwood Computer, Inc. as their conversion partner!

Ashwood proposed their legacy McDonnell Douglas M6000 system be replaced with an IBM xSeries 3500 with a 3 GHz, Quad-Core processor, 9 GB of memory, mirrored disks and Microsoft Small Business Server 2008.

Mark Johnson experienced several challenges when converting the Envirochem applications from the Reality 2.3 environment to the modern Reality 14.1 environment. Having not progressed through the Reality hardware and database upgrades in-between v2.3 and v14.1, there were changes in PROC functionality, security, spooler structure, system file locations, and other considerations to be accommodated. With Ashwood’s assistance, conversion issues were anticipated; all applications were made ready, PROC’s were adjusted, and the conversion was completed. Some of the challenges to deploying the new hardware were the need to preserve serial printer port connectivity to the warehouse and to migrate data to the new server without an attached tape drive.

Regarding his choice of Ashwood Computer, Sid Fleisher commented “We really went on reputation and trust. Once we decided that we wanted to do business with Ashwood, we let them tell us what we needed. I wouldn’t want to tell my cardiologist how to operate on my heart. Our Ashwood rep was a unique combination of competence and patience. He was thrown many curve balls in setting up the system, but he used his professionalism and surmounted them. Our window to install wasn’t fixed and although the curves took time, it didn’t add to our expense and when we did our conversion, we didn’t have a single ‘burp’. I have done many conversions and this was by far my best one.”

Ashwood Computer Company


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