Customer overview

In the retail industry, the successful IT management of multiple stores in various locations is a critical component to maintaining business continuity. Retailers need to be cost-effective and productive while ensuring zero data or revenue loss. For one of the United States’ top retail chains, SvSAN was the solution to a series of ongoing challenges – and the results since implementation have been outstanding.

Customer challenge

This big box retail chain is one of the largest that there is in the retail world – more than 2,000 stores in the U.S. and other nations. It has operated with two or more servers per site, one storage area network per site and local VMware® server virtualization. Despite this, it has had no on-site IT staff, so it’s essential that IT functions properly at all times. One of its many goals is to provide efficient and reliable services and support in order to ensure the best possible shopping experience for its customers.

To deliver on this, it runs a wide variety of business applications in its stores, including: point of sale, inventory, labor and time management, radio call boxes, system and environment health monitoring, server services, network shares, databases and backup. To ensure that such a long list of applications with diverse purposes can operate and serve the business properly, several qualities are essential: high availability across the entire infrastructure is a must which demands shared storage, simplicity, ease of management, cost-effective acquisition and management and (of course) great performance.

The organization, however, had some deficiencies in these areas that significantly impacted its business. First, the local SANs at the stores would often fail and lose data, costing the organization valued data, averages of 100 outages per year and six hours of downtime per outage. RAID failures and drive replacements would require them to restore from backups, which was inefficient and costly. It hoped to simplify its hardware footprint, and reduce related capital and operating expenses, but hadn’t made the progress it desired. In addition, when downtime occurred, the stores would incur costly external IT support services to resolve issues.

It hoped to simplify its hardware footprint, and reduce related capital and operating expenses, but hadn’t made the progress it desired. In addition, when downtime occurred, the stores would incur costly external IT support services to resolve issues.

The solution

After a thorough review, SvSAN was selected by the chain’s IT executives and implemented in every store. SvSAN, a software solution delivered through a virtualized shared storage platform, enables enterprises to eliminate downtime and ensure high availability of business critical applications at remote sites where disruptions directly equate to a loss in service and revenue.

In the time since deployment, the chain has realized several benefits:

  • Simplified hardware – Because it’s a software-only solution that leverages internal server storage, SvSAN enables a two-server and no-SAN environment. As a result, deploying SvSAN simplified each store’s infrastructure and reduced the organization’s overall reliance on hardware.
  • True high availability – With SvSAN, virtual machines are synchronously mirrored to other servers in the environment to ensure seamless operations if one server goes down. As a result, SvSAN eliminated the single point of failure the organization frequently encountered with its legacy SAN solutions while improving application performance and reducing infrastructure complexity and downtime – all with no additional storage hardware requirement. These results also meant that the chain needed less outside technical support, saving the company even more money.
  • Centralized IT – As a software solution, SvSAN’s industry-standard management interface allows thousands of SvSANs across distributed sites to be managed, provisioned and maintained remotely from a single-pane-of-glass interface at a central location. This reduces management complexity and removes the requirement for on-site IT expertise.
  • Ease of deployment – SvSAN’s automated, scripted deployment process enabled hands-off deployment from central IT across all store locations in just 40 minutes per site, including configuration and set up. This meant quicker time to value for the business and less reliance on internal and external IT resources.
  • Cost Savings – With less server and SAN hardware in its infrastructure, money reclaimed from no downtime, less use of external IT support and more, significant cost savings have been realized in a short time frame.

33% reduction in hardware costs by centralizing the quorum server.