Case Study

Huaqiao Toll Station

Huaqiao Toll Station relies on STRATUS® ftServer® systems for high performance and availability of its electronic toll collection system

Huaqiao Toll Station is located in the territory of Kunshan and Suzhou cities at the border of Jiangsu province and Shanghai along a major land access route connecting Shanghai and Jiangsu provinces in northern China. With a two-way traffic flow of nearly 80,000 vehicles passing through its 31 toll lanes every day, this toll station is the busiest entrance/exit point along the Shanghai-Nanjing Expressway. Huaqiao Toll Station also served as the “bridgehead” in the forefront of the “moat” around the Shanghai downtown area during the Expo 2010 Shanghai China, a world’s fair attended by more than 73 million visitors.

The challenge

The Chinese government has made highway expansion a major focus of infrastructure spending over the past two decades. The country now has 156,000 kilometers of highways, including more than 100,000 kilometers of toll roads. Shaanxi Highway Traffic Technology Development, the state-owned company that operates the Shanghai-Nanjing Expressway, collects toll fees from vehicle drivers to offset the cost of highway construction and fund ongoing road maintenance.

When Huaqiao Toll Station first opened in 2009 Shaanxi Highway Traffic Technology Development deployed an electronic toll collection (ETC) system as part of an overall plan to improve traffic flow and air quality, while reducing travel times and enhancing driver safety. The ETC system consisted of two HP DL580G5 charging data storage processing servers, five charging management workstations, and 74 toll lane terminals as well as related peripherals. However, as traffic flow on the Shanghai-Nanjing Expressway continued to increase, the ETC system started to experience performance issues. These performance challenges were cause for concern since ETC system downtime could result in loss of toll revenue, major traffic congestion, and potential driver safety risks.

Rigorous testing and analysis identified a lack of system memory resources as the primary performance bottleneck. These insufficient resources were causing the servers to run for a long time under high load, resulting in slow processing response times and accelerated aging of system equipment. To ensure the highest levels of ETC system performance and availability, Shaanxi Highway Traffic Technology Development turned to Shanghai Hi-tech Control System Co., Ltd. (HITE), a leading manufacturer and system integration service provider, to recommend and deploy a reliable, high-performance server platform with virtualization for operating its Huaqiao Toll Station ETC system.

The solution

To meet Shaanxi Highway Traffic Technology Development’s performance, availability and budgetary requirements, HITE recommended that the company redeploy its ETC system in a virtualized environment on two fault-tolerant Stratus ftServer 4710 systems—each with 256GB memory and a 900G x 14 hard drive—running the Windows operating system. Featuring Intel® Xeon® processors and VMwarevirtualization technology, the ftServer platform is designed to prevent unplanned downtime and data loss without a performance hit to critical a pplications. Fully replicated hardware components process the same instructions in “lockstep”—at the same exact time— to eliminate virtually any single point of failure and safeguard data integrity.

Each ftServer system uses a standard dual-modular-redundancy (DMR) configuration that includes two CPU/memory units. If a CPU/memory unit fails or is offline for maintenance or diagnostic purposes, the system continues to operate normally with the remaining components, providing 99.999% availability or better—on average less than five minutes of downtime annually. The ftServer system’s Automated Uptime™ Layer works in concert with the lockstep technology to anticipate and prevent many system errors. Unlike typical platforms or clusters, ftServer hardware and software handles such errors transparently, shielding the operating system, middleware, application software, and even in-memory data. The Automated Uptime Layer constantly monitors hundreds of system components and sensors, and manages system resources to preemptively protect against downtime and data loss.

“The Stratus ftServer platform is helping our customer, Shaanxi Highway Traffic Technology Development, ensure always-on electronic toll collection at the Huaqiao Toll Station. Highly efficient and easy to deploy and manage, the fault-tolerant ftServer system prevents ETC system downtime, boosts application performance and significantly reduces TCO. With ftServer, the customer is able to optimize toll fee collection and improve the traffic flow along the busy Shanghai-Nanjing Expressway.”
Cao XiaoJuan
Industry Manager, HITE

The results

Since deploying the ftServer platform in 2015, Shaanxi Highway Traffic Technology Development has enjoyed superior availability and reliable performance of its ETC system at the Huaqiao Toll Station. By accelerating processing speeds and preventing unplanned system downtime, the ftServer system has helped ensure always-on electronic toll collection to offset highway expenses and keep traffic flow moving smoothly and efficiently.

In addition to delivering high availability and performance, the ftServer platform has enabled Shaanxi Highway Traffic Technology Development to realize greater cost efficiencies by reducing energy consumption and space requirements within the data center. By supporting a virtualized application environment, the ftServer systems also improve utilization of computing infrastructure resources for additional cost savings.

Thanks to the ftServer platform’s fast, easy installation and configuration, centralized management, and outstanding serviceability, Shaanxi Highway Traffic Technology Development is realizing low total cost of ownership (TCO). The ETC applications run on ftServer without modification and only a single copy of the software is required, saving both effort and costs. At the same time, automatic replacement parts ordering, hot plug and play, and 24/7/365 system monitoring simplify service and eliminate the need for IT-intensive resources. Furthermore, because the ftServer platform is built for longevity, Shaanxi Highway Traffic Technology Development expects to achieve long-term value— without the need for frequent technical refreshes.

About Stratus

Stratus takes the complexity out of keeping business critical applications running 24/7/365. Stratus’ technologies proactively prevent instances of unplanned downtime both in the data center and at the edge, and our services ensure any issues are addressed before customers need to. Global Fortune 500 companies and small medium sized businesses in a wide range of industries across the globe have been relying on Stratus for operationally simple, continuous availability for more than 35 years.

For more information, please visit www.stratus.com or follow on Twitter @StratusAlwaysOn.

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