Andrew Johnston: Professional Consulting Services

Case Study - Rental Systems Re-platforming for Livingston Rental / Sema (1995 – 1997)


Migration of legacy rental system to new strategic platform

Key Outcomes

Successful migration. Reduction of projected hardware costs. Data integration for previously separate European business divisions.

Key Challenges

Simultaneous outsourcing and replatforming of IT capabilities. Divergence of systems supporting different business units.

Key Technologies

Data General, Solaris, Oracle (database and forms), Windows, Visual Basic, ISDN-based wide area networking


This project centred around porting the Livingston Group’s equipment rental systems from a legacy Data General architecture to a more flexible Unix/Oracle base.

I defined the overall technical architecture for the new system. Performance benchmarking and prototyping exercises saved the client several hundred thousand pounds by allowing the use of lower-specification hardware. The performance prediction work led to a paper for the EUROStar ’96 testing conference.

A leading role in commissioning the new infrastructure included setting up the Sun servers, defining a disaster recover plan and operational procedures, sorting out LAN communications and establishing new configuration control tools. I also set up a Wide Area Network between several European sites.

Thereafter I specified, designed and implemented the following:

  • A system to replicate stock information between the British, French and German sites, using Oracle database services and a client-server front-end.
  • A scheme for remotely monitoring numerous aspects of system performance on the various Unix and NT servers and Oracle databases, relaying potential alerts back to a single point for system administrator attention via a graphical front-end.
  • A tool to automate translation so that English, French and German versions of the Rental system (written in a Unix-based legacy 4GL) could use common source code.


© Questa Computing Ltd. 2014
Page last updated 03 January, 2014 14:07

Questa Computing Ltd. is registered in England and Wales number:2889117.
Registered office: Ember House, 35-37 Creek Road, East Molesey, KT8 9BE UK
For credits, copyright details and cookie policy, see here.

Search my Sites:

Share this page:

Share |


Favourite/Major Articles
All Articles by Category
All Articles by Title
Review Index

Site Map:

Welcome / Home Page
Contact Me
Search the Site
Thoughts on the World
Consultancy Services
An introduction
Key Skills
Career Summary
Case Studies
IT Knowledge/Education
Customer Profiles
Training Courses
Previous Experience
Download Full CV
National Grid Group Plc
British Energy Power and Energy Trading
Legal Marketing Services Ltd.
Marks and Spencer Plc
Faith Footwear Ltd.
Barclays Sales Financing Ltd.
Oracle Corporation UK Ltd.
Livingston Rental Group Ltd.
National Power Plc.
Agile Development
Coding Projects & Thoughts
General Thoughts
Products and Projects
Reviews: Books, Music & Films
Website Announcements
Full Index
Publications and Papers
A Hacker's Guide to Project Management
Conference Papers
Agile Architecture
Practical Enterprise Integration
Modelling an Enterprise Data Architecture
Strategies for Flexibility
Getting Sizing Right
Muzzling the Alligators
Evolution of a Test Method
Photography Articles & Discussion
Photo Gallery
Projects and Products
RelQuest - Reliability Modelling Tool
ConQuest - Container Yard Management System
Full Index
Biography and Personal Endeavour
Construction & Civil Engineering
Human-Computer Interaction
Mathematics & Statistics
Military & 20th Century History
Modelling & Analysis
Photography & Photographers
Physics & Cosmology
Project & People Management
Psychology & Human Behaviour
Science, General

Contact Me

Email me

Feeds and Tweets

Follow me on Twitter


Thoughts on the World
(main feed)

Feedburner XML
RSS Version XML (direct)

How many subscribers?

Other Feeds

Professional Blog
Photo Blog
Photo Album
Review Pages

About my feeds

Google Blog Search

References to
References to

Sister Sites: