Part 2: Crashed Server—Put Down the Duct Tape


Who Doesn't Love the Mastermind Behind Duct Tape?

But not for your software server. You can try to fix equipment only so many times, don't wait until replacement parts become obsolete and support becomes expensive. I recently interviewed Dave Thornton about the obstacles South Jersey Welding went through to get their business up and running again.

Highlight the gray line to see a spoiler alert: They chose to go with cloud hosting.

C/U:  Dave, how old was your server?  

Dave:  I believe it was about 9 years old.

C/U:  Why were you waiting to replace it?  And if it was cost, what was the approximate cost of having your business shut down? 

Dave:  It was cost. Trying to get as much out of it as we can. Upgrading is not cheap. Being a small business, we try to get the most out of our equipment. I am not sure you can put a number on the cost of being shut down.  It was awful though.   

C/U:  Did you end up replacing it with another hardware system or is your company cloud hosted now? 

Dave:  We are now cloud hosted with CU. So, we should “never” have this happen again. 

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C/U:  What were the effects on your business processes? What else happened after your email to Tracie and how long did it take to get back to business? 

Dave:  Our server crashed 8/6/17. We attempted to get the server repaired first, which would have been the quick fix, but it was not repairable. I had been talking to CU all week, but by the 9th we started talking about upgrading.  At the time we were on TIMS 3.  We had to upgrade to TIMS 4 so that we could be hosted. We were not able to log into the new hosted TIMS 4 server until 8/16/17.  And even then, we were still working out the kinks. I don’t think we had our first daily closing until the 17th or 18th. Image and scanning was not complete until the 26th or 27th.  We had to get all the images off of the old server and ship them out to CU.

Every business process was effected. We couldn’t apply incoming money to customer’s accounts; we couldn’t pay our vendors. What purchasing had ordered before we crashed was coming in and we couldn’t receive it. Therefore, Inventory was off and could only be tracked by physically going to see if you have the product. And Purchasing was in the same situation. We only knew we needed product if we were already out of it. And the worst part was going back to handwritten customer receipts and delivery tickets. Luckily, we always keep some pre-printed tickets with the DOT information for the cylinders on them; that saved us from some writer’s cramp. We also keep a Customer list and an inventory status report for pricing on hand at all times, which is what we used to hand write all the tickets. Keep in mind, we have 4 stores, so everything above times 4.

After playing catch up, we were probably back to normal in the beginning of October.  

C/U:  What would you tell other gas & welding companies about the importance of  keeping your server up to date? 

Dave:  I think the cost of being hosted on the cloud is totally worth the expense in comparison to the headache/cost of being down for 10 days. I hope that we never have to deal with that again. 

We are very happy with how CU handled the situation. They really do have great Support.

C/U:  What version of TIMS are you on now Dave? 

Dave:  We are currently on TIMS 4 but the plan is to be moved to TIMS 7 within the next year.  We couldn’t go to 7 from 3.  So, we had to move to TIMS 4 just to get up and running.

sjwelding logp.jpgNote: I have to give a big shout-out here to Dave Thornton and South Jersey Welding. Thanks for sharing Dave. Not many of us like to talk about things that went wrong. I truly appreciate your candid responses. 

 Moving to the Cloud

  • Control IT costs with an affordable and predictable monthly fee. Your data is secure and reliable.
  • TIMS Online is the same functional software you already know. We manage the system so you can focus on running your business.
  • Enjoy automatic software updates. We ensure that your system is up-to-date and optimized for rapid performance.
  • Your data is backed up in triplicate.
  • We are your watchdog. We carefully monitor the facility, network, and virtual environments around the clock. 


Read Part 1     |      Read Part 3