Case Study

Shenzhen China Star Optoelectronics Technology Co., Ltd

Leading LCD panel manufacturer ensures continuous operation of its Gen 8.5 production lines with Stratus® everRun® Enterprise

A leading TV panel supplier and a subsidiary of TCL Group, Shenzhen China Star Electronics Technology, Co., Ltd. (CSOT) first began production in 2009 as one of China’s independently-built, highest generation thin-film-transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) manufacturing facilities. The single largest plant in Asia, the company’s 600,000-square meter factory runs two Gen 8.5 lines capable of producing panels as large as 55 inches. These lines boast the highest single-unit productivity and efficiency in the world—outperforming global peers for 14 consecutive quarters. CSOT recently started planning and construction of the world’s largest Gen 11 LCD panel fabrication plant, which will produce extra-large high-resolution flat panel displays targeting 65″ and larger LCD TV markets. Since its establishment, the company has earned a strong reputation as a highly innovative global leader in display technology.

The challenge

Sustained success in the LCD panel industry hinges on two key factors: continuous technological innovation and high market share. To achieve these goals and stay competitive, CSOT is always looking for ways to reduce costs and enhance performance. This starts with making sure its Gen 8.5 TFT-LCD production lines are always running—24/7/365—at peak efficiency. Using an advanced data collection system, CSOT technicians are able to continually monitor manufacturing process and make immediate adjustments to maintain high-performance operations. Should the production data collection system go down, however, CSOT could suffer significant losses due to lower yields, quality issues, lost revenue, or reputation damage—a risk this market-leading manufacturer was simply unwilling to take.

To realize continuous operation of its production lines, CSOT first tried adding dual-unit redundancy to its existing computing environment through high availability clusters that joined multiple servers in a single network. This approach required CSOT to license software for each server and to create and test failover scripts to make its applications cluster aware— a complex and time-consuming task that placed additional burden on IT staff. Furthermore, because even the briefest cluster downtime results in a failover delay and loss of in-flight data, this solution did not meet the company’s stringent requirements for always-on manufacturing. Recognizing these shortcomings, CSOT set out to find a highly reliable continuous availability solution to support efficient, ongoing operation of its production line system.

The solution

After evaluating alternative availability solutions, CSOT selected the Stratus everRun Enterprise, a comprehensive high availability and fault-tolerant software solution designed for business-critical virtualized applications. A highly versatile, yet affordable solution, everRun links together two of the company’s existing x86 servers in a virtualization platform that pairs protected virtual machines to create a single operating environment. everRun replicates the entire application environment, including data in memory, to ensure that CSOT’s data collection system continues to run without interruption or data loss. I/O is automatically mirrored to the redundant server for optimal protection.

With everRun, CSOT’s data collection applications are being processed in parallel to deliver software-based fault-tolerance. In the event that one of the physical servers should fail, the applications continue to run on the other server without missing a beat. If something goes wrong with a hardware component, everRun simply substitutes the healthy component from the second system until the failed component is repaired or replaced. Checkpointing protects both replicated and in-flight data against loss or corruption.

everRun also meets CSOT’s requirements for easy, convenient system management. A comprehensive availability console enables IT staff to set up, configure, and manage the entire environment, including external devices, from a single web-based interface.

“Stratus everRun Enterprise simplifies the process of meeting our stringent availability requirements for continuous operation of our state-of-the art Gen 8.5 TFT-LCD production lines. This highly reliable, software-based solution ensures that critical production data can be collected in a continuously stable manner, helping us maximize manufacturing productivity and avoid the financial losses that can result from system downtime.”

The results

Since deploying everRun in 2016, CSOT’s manufacturing data collection applications have been continuously available—with zero downtime and zero data loss—resulting in highly efficient, uninterrupted operation of its Gen 8.5 production lines. Thanks to everRun, the company was able to quickly implement an always-on platform with built-in virtualization and no application modifications. In addition, the entire system can operate— reliably and stably—for more than a year without requiring reboot.

everRun is enabling CSOT to realize the value of continuously available applications without the cost and complexity of its previous clustering solution. everRun not only eliminates the need to write custom scripts, manage server connectivity, and configure shared storage, but it also simplifies ongoing management and maintenance. A single, customizable console makes it easy for CSOT staff to monitor the performance and health of the system, and version upgrades can take place during scheduled maintenance periods with no shutdown required. everRun’s support for an industry-standard x86-based infrastructure and flexible storage options further reduce total cost of ownership.

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