Case Studies

Examples of work we've done.

Grafton Group

Grafton Group plc is a building materials group with over 600 branches, a turnover of over £2.1 billion and operates in the Merchanting, DIY retailing and Mortar Manufacturing markets in Britain, Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands. In late 2014 Grafton made the decision to replace the existing Hirebase Plant & Tool Hire ePOS system in the UK with a new bespoke solution that would also be suitable for their other hire businesses across the Grafton Group.


Challenge

Fortesium’s challenge was to enable the new bespoke financial & asset management web solution the ability to interoperate with existing legacy systems. Grafton additionally wished to retain the legacy systems and run the new replacement system in parallel which made this project even more challenging. Fortesium had to develop a solution that would allow over 140 branches to submit a constant stream of financial and asset information to multiple legacy subsystems which would run in parallel with the new services. Legacy systems had to perform updates (batch and real-time) which needed to be reflected in the new web system.


Solution

Fortesium engineered a solution built around a distributed event messaging framework. Each branch submits asset and financial updates throughout the day to numerous dedicated messaging services, each service performs a particular role, transforming and validating the data before forwarding it onwards to existing financial and asset software. In turn data updates from the legacy financial and asset systems had to be transformed and sent to the new web system for the branches to see in near real-time.
To enable the throughput and resilience Grafton required, Fortesium chose NServicebus as the core framework with MSMQ as the reliable transport. To interoperate with the many legacy systems, Fortesium used a combination of modern frameworks (OWIN/Katana/WebApi/Json) and due to restrictions, some older methodologies such as files transfers had to be used.
For resilience, services run under a multi node Windows 2012 Failover Cluster with SQL Server 2012 in a High Availability group.

The project consisted of the following key deliverables:

Assets management services – multiple services that synchronise estate asset updates to and from the new web solution to legacy asset management applications.
Financial management services – multiple services that synchronise estate financial updates to and from the new web solution to legacy financial management applications.
High availability test environment – To achieve this goal Fortesium used its infrastructure knowledge to build sample testing ground for the architecture. The environment utilised Windows 2012, clustered SQL instances, clustered MSMQ, iScsi targets remote desktop Gateway services.


Outcome

Fortesium delivered the system and the required components on time and within budget. Grafton have completed the roll-out to their Hirebase business in the UK and will start implementation of the solution in their other hire businesses shortly. Fortesium has built up a great working relationship with Grafton over the course of this project, and we are proud of our flexibility and ability to react to changing requirements.