For modern retailers, managing a growing brand is no simple task. While their main goals may be to produce quality products, provide excellent customer service, and work towards growing profits, several other key factors are coming into play as technology advances. Maintaining an online presence through things like social media, virtual shopping, and digital advertising, is now equally as defining to a brand’s success as operating physical retail stores. In addition, more and more brick-and-mortar style stores are popping up around the world as digital brands work towards establishing a physical presence.
Keeping track of these countless moving parts is incredibly challenging… So, why should retail stores also have to deal with the headache of handling complicated, unreliable, on-site data storage?
Here are three factors prompting today’s retailers to modernize in-store IT infrastructures within their organizations.
- The need to reduce downtime with a reliable, highly available system. Today’s retail organizations are managing more digital applications than ever before. As a result, they have a lot at stake when it comes to IT downtime, including loss of revenue, customer loyalty, brand equity, and employee productivity. Ensuring in-store applications (i.e. POS software, video surveillance, stock control, digital signage) are highly available is a number one priority. In the event of hardware failure or maintenance, each store should have a reliable IT system in place, with adequate redundancy at every point. This includes power supplies, networking equipment, and servers themselves. A shared storage environment enables identical copies of data to be held simultaneously on multiple servers, thereby creating a highly available environment. Best practices on creating a highly available configuration can be found in this white paper.
- The need for lightweight, low cost IT solutions. Managing complex, clunky IT hardware onsite at a retail store is less than ideal. It’s also expensive for business owners looking to deploy the same infrastructure across hundreds or even thousands of stores. Space restrictions within physical retail locations are increasing as online shopping giants take over, and every inch of store space not used for selling contributes to loss of revenue. With virtualized storage, the amount of physical hardware required at each location is reduced significantly. Retailers are able to run many applications using only two physical servers, reducing resource consumption and slashing hardware costs. Virtualization technologies are not only considerably less expensive to buy, install, and operate, but also make unused space available for other resources. Furthermore, through centralized management, in-store IT systems at each location can be managed remotely, decreasing labor and infrastructure costs.
- The need for flexibility and scalability to support business growth. As retail brands grow, business owners seek to expand their reach, opening additional store locations across their state, then country, and eventually around the world. In-store IT demands vary greatly between different retail organizations, and sometimes even within a single business (between stores). Accommodating variations in requirements, and having the capability to quickly and cost-effectively scale and replicate, requires a flexible IT solution that doesn’t lock the retailer into specific configurations or hardware specifications. Organizations have the option to deploy the bare minimum storage capacity and computing power needed to support the applications for a specific store, and then scale up over time as needed. Check out our own advice on scaling IT infrastructure up and out for future requirements in this white paper.
Modernizing Retail In-Store IT with StorMagic SvSAN
StorMagic SvSAN is a virtualized storage solution that is ideally suited to meet the needs of retail environments, offering all the benefits mentioned above, and more. For more information about why SvSAN is the perfect fit for retailers, be sure to check out the following StorMagic resources:
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