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Washlink Systems Case Study

Washlink Systems provides a full suite of automation, control and point-of-sale applications designed to efficiently manage car wash installations. The company’s goal is to keep their customers’ businesses running and enable them to use Washlink Systems’ applications to improve business operations. Based in Morgan Hill, California, the company offers a total turnkey technology solution for car wash operations and brands themselves as “The Control Freaks.”

 

"RDX bends over backward for us, and always does so with a smile. They always take the work, late nights and Washlink screwups in stride, saving our bacon in the process. I can’t tell you how much we value that; RDX is an integral part of our process, and are a huge part of why we continue to succeed as a company.

 

- Jason Van Curen, Washlink Systems CTO

Challenges

Like many rapidly growing businesses that market software-driven applications, Washlink Systems’ goal is to increase their customer base by providing excellent service, a robust back-end processing architecture and innovative solutions that exceed client expectations.

Because Washlink Systems understood the critical role their database systems play in their processing architecture, they knew the environments required a higher level of support than their in-house staff could provide. Washlink Systems CTO, Jason Van Curen, described their IT philosophy: “We want our focus to be on solving our customers’ business challenges, not back-end database monitoring and administration. Our strategy is to listen to our customers’ needs and quickly design new solutions. We do a lot of just-in-time development to quickly solve our customers’ challenges.“

Jason continued, “Before RDX, we were using a contractor who was only available on a limited basis. The consultant was providing a base level of administration to keep our SQL Server environments running. We knew that in order to have confidence in our back-end systems, we needed higher quality support.”

The Washlink Systems application architecture includes their central DB servers acting as publishers that send data to SQL Server Express databases at the customer locations. Because some of their customers have sites in rural areas that don’t have reliable, high-speed internet connections, Washlink Systems uses the SQL Server merge replication feature that is more complex to support than other options. Jason stated, “Some of our customers are required to use satellite or DSL internet connections which sometimes suffer from performance and availability issues. Our applications are purposely designed to not be reliant upon internet connectivity. Keeping our customers’ systems running and their doors open is our number one priority. If their connection to the internet gets cut, they’re still in business.”

 

Developing a Cloud Strategy

“Our business is growing rapidly, and we wanted to have confidence that our key database platforms were high quality. In addition, we needed to partner with an organization that would help us better leverage the inherent features the database software provides as well as have the expertise to help us build our next gen applications,” stated Jason.

During their evaluation, Jason received a personal recommendation from an acquaintance, which led to Washlink Systems to contact RDX for more information. RDX’s sales team listened to Washlink Systems’ needs and offered a 24x7 monitoring and administration solution that met both their price point and unique support requirements. Jason described their interaction with RDX, “We were looking for a vendor that provided a flexible solution that we could tailor to our needs. After speaking with RDX, we felt that their offering provided what we needed at a fair price.”

 

RDX Solution

RDX designed a monitoring and administrative services package specifically for Washlink Systems. RDX’s Database Operations Center customized a 24x7 monitoring solution to ensure the availability and performance of Washlink Systems’ database platforms. RDX assigned one of its Senior SQL Server DBAs, Jim Donahoe, to create and implement a plan to improve the availability, reliability and performance of Washlink Systems’ current environment and help them build their future database-driven applications.

“I met with Jason to talk about some of the issues they were having. After our discussions, I evaluated their environment to come up with a set of solutions. After my analysis, Jason and I agreed upon a set of action items to improve their environment”, stated Jim. Jason added, “It didn’t take long for us to realize the value that RDX offered. [Jim] got in there, figured out what was needed to improve our environment and implemented the changes. We now have more confidence in our systems. It also enables our sales team to sell the reliability and performance of our back-end architecture to potential customers. That’s been huge for us.”

Jim described Washlink Systems’ additional support needs: “During my review, it became apparent that Washlink Systems needed a better way to schedule maintenance and backup jobs at the customer sites. They deploy SQL Server Express at the customer locations. Although it’s the right product, it does have limitations that need to be overcome. One of the challenges is that the environment does not have a standard mechanism to run maintenance and backup utilities. I created a PowerShell-driven utility that runs the maintenance jobs necessary to improve database performance and backs their customers’ databases up to a central location to guarantee recoverability.”

 

Results

Jason describes the benefits of RDX’s services, "RDX has improved the quality of our DB environments by leaps and bounds. Our customers rely upon our systems to run their businesses. Our applications have to be available all the time, so system performance, availability and recoverability are critical. We don’t push the panic button often, but when we do, it’s nice to have a professional team on it.”

 

"RDX has improved the quality of our DB environments by leaps and bounds. Our customers rely upon our systems to run their businesses. Our applications have to be available all the time, so system performance, availability and recoverability are critical. We don’t push the panic button often, but when we do, it’s nice to have a professional team on it.

 

- Jason Van Curen, WashLink CTO

Jim added, “Our Operations Center and DBAs are available 24x7 for them. The availability of their store systems is the primary factor in everything we do for Washlink Systems. We don’t utilize a shared pool of resources to provide support. Like all RDX DBAs, I have a sense of personal ownership of their DB platforms. I try to provide a level of service that goes above and beyond what the customer is expecting. I do that for every project.”

 

The Future

In addition to a robust back-end architecture, Washlink Systems understands the need to enhance their applications by adding new features that help their customers solve business problems and improve operations.

Jason described Washlink System’s future relationship with RDX:

"I see our relationship growing with RDX. Like all technology solutions providers, we understand that our applications have a shelf life. We realize that, in addition to application software enhancements, we need to leverage new database technologies to deliver leading-edge features to our customers. We’re evaluating what our application should look like in 2020 and beyond. When we have those discussions, working with a partner like RDX that keeps abreast of new DB technologies is important. Jim is constantly keeping us updated on the latest and greatest DB technologies, and that’s super valuable to us.

 

- Jason Van Curen, Washlink Systems CTO

Jim added, “I have conversations with Jason on new DB features and technologies on a regular basis. We are both excited about leveraging advancements in DB related technologies to improve their applications. An important part of my responsibility as a DBA is evaluating current and future DB technologies that our customers can leverage to improve their environments. I’m able to rely upon the collective knowledge of my fellow RDX DBAs and dedicated Subject Matter Expert Teams during my analysis. The new technology discussions we have at RDX allow me to more easily keep track of what’s going in in our industry.”

 

Conclusion

RDX and Washlink Systems are mutually committed to providing a robust DB processing architecture to Washlink Systems’ customers. In addition, the partnership includes leveraging advancements in DB technologies to further improve system stability and performance.

RDX’s services allow Washlink Systems to focus on what they do best, growing their business by providing a high quality customer experience. Jason stated, “A lot of our new business comes from current customer recommendations. Customer A talking to Customer B. Our systems run our customers’ businesses and our platforms have to be highly available and high performance. We’re not DBAs; we’re experts in carwash POS, automation and control software. We want to focus on building new innovative solutions that solve our customers’ business challenges. Our partnership with RDX helps us do that.

 

About Washlink Systems

Washlink Systems was born from a simple idea; keep the car wash running. Over 75 years in the car wash industry has taught them that when all else fails, keeping the doors open and cars washing is priority number one. It’s that simple goal that has driven the design behind every product they sell; from their bulletproof wash equipment controllers to their robust Saleslink point of sale options or any one of theirs dozens of problem solving solutions. Everything is designed to keep the customer in control and washing cars. They truly are “The Control Freaks”™.

 

About RDX

Put technology to work for your business with RDX - the #1 onshore provider of managed Database, Cloud, OS and BI services. From initial system design and implementation to ongoing support and 24/7 monitoring, RDX is your trusted digital partner, uniting people, processes and technology to boost agility, optimize operations and deliver competitive advantage. RDX provides 24x7, 100% US-based managed services to hundreds of clients, both on-premise and in the cloud, across a wide range of database environments, including SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, DB2, and MongoDB. RDX also provides cloud migration and management services for Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, and Oracle DB Cloud environments, helping customers maximize their cloud investments.

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