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Our case study provides the most important conceptual lessons learned from the implementation of a Distributed Telecommunication Management System (DTMS), which controls a networked voice communication system. Major requirements for the DTMS are fault-tolerance against site or network failures, transactional safety, and reliable persistence. In order to provide distribution and persistence both transparently and fault-tolerant we introduce a two-layer architecture facilitating an asynchronous replication algorithm. Among the lessons learned are: component based software engineering poses a significant initial overhead but is worth it in the long term; a fault-tolerant naming service is a key requirement for fail-safe distribution; the reasonable granularity for persistence and concurrency control is one whole object; asynchronous replication on the database layer is superior to synchronous replication on the instance level in terms of robustness and consistency; semi-structured persistence with XML has drawbacks regarding consistency, performance and convenience; in contrast to an arbitrarily meshed object model, a accentuated hierarchical structure is more robust and feasible; a query engine has to provide a means for navigation through the object model; finally the propagation of deletion operation becomes more complex in an object-oriented model. By incorporating these lessons learned we are well underway to provide a highly available, distributed platform for persistent object systems.