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Leading Specialty Retailer Supports a Growing Number of Stores Through Cisco UCS and Fusion ioMemory PCIe Solutions from SanDisk

Every night, the database team at a leading outdoor retailer extracts massive amounts of data and creates reports used by executive teams the next day for forecasting, price optimization, and inventory. However, if maintenance requirements result in a shutdown of the systems, reports can be delayed for hours. With high performance Cisco UCS servers and Fusion ioMemory PCIe flash storage from SanDisk, queries that once took 50 minutes can now be completed in two minutes. The database team can now meet SLAs and guarantee that essential business intelligence gets into the hands of executives on time to make quick business decisions.

Solution Focus

  • Retail industry
  • Oracle database and Peoplesoft Application
  • Analytics

Summary of Benefits

  • 3:1 Server Consolidation by reducing 22 servers into 7 Cisco UCS C460 servers
  • Reduced query time from 50 to two minutes
  • Reduced time needed to apply updates from one month to 20 minutes

Product Summary

  • Cisco UCS C460 M2 Rack Mount Servers
  • Fusion ioMemory ioDrive2 3TB PCIe Flash Storage
  • Cisco Nexus Series Switches
  • Cisco Unified Computing System Manager

Summary

Every night, the database team at a leading outdoor retailer extracts massive amounts of data and creates reports used by executive teams the next day for forecasting, price optimization, and inventory. However, if maintenance requirements result in a shutdown of the systems, reports can be delayed for hours. With high performance Cisco UCS servers and Fusion ioMemory PCIe flash storage from SanDisk, queries that once took 50 minutes can now be completed in two minutes. The database team can now meet SLAs and guarantee that essential business intelligence gets into the hands of executives on time to make quick business decisions.

 

The Challenge

With fierce competition, the retail market can change quickly. Retailers use more data than ever to manage and analyze sales, inventory, and customer service. A fast, reliable, and scalable IT infrastructure is essential for businesses trying to expand in this digital age. Launched more than 50 years ago, this Cisco customer is an award-winning retailer in the sporting goods space. This leading specialty retailer has grown from a single small Midwestern store into an international presence with more than 65 retail stores in the United States and Canada, and an e-commerce and catalog business reaching shoppers around the world.

The retailer uses Oracle databases to power its business, but the underlying infrastructure was highly diverse. “We were dealing with so many different Oracle versions and platforms that installing updates could take almost a month,” says the senior director of IT services. In addition, the team had difficulty scaling the infrastructure to meet performance demands during the busy holiday sales season.

IT teams were spending too much time on troubleshooting and daily maintenance. To help support the growing business, the retailer wanted a standard platform that could meet performance needs while simplifying management.

"With new servers, we made it through our busiest season with zero performance issues or downtime."

Senior Oracle Database Lead

The Solution

By standardizing on Cisco UCS Servers with Fusion ioMemory ioDrive®2 3TB PCIe flash storage, IT was able to optimize performance to support additional stores and growing online and brick-and-mortar sales.

This new architecture achieved the following objectives:

  • Simplified management through Cisco UCS, encouraging more time for addedvalue IT support.
  • Accelerated reporting performance enabled by a low latency Fusion ioMemory PCIe flash storage architecture.
  • Improved infrastructure capacity with Cisco UCS for seasonal performance demands.

 

The Result

Faster business intelligence

Every night, the IT team extracts data and creates reports used by executive teams the next day for forecasting, price optimization, and inventory. By deploying high performance Cisco UCS servers and Fusion ioMemory PCIe storage from SanDisk, queries that once took 50 minutes can be completed in two minutes. Now the IT team can meet SLAs and guarantee that essential business intelligence gets into the hands of executives on time to make quick business decisions.

 

Query Response Time

With SanDisk
2 minutes
compchart.withoutsandisk
50 minutes
96%
Faster

 

Providing added-value services

Now that the retailer has standardized on a Cisco UCS environment, updates take 20 minutes instead of a month. Troubleshooting or deploying stacks is much simpler with a consistent configuration. Database administrators spend less time on basic maintenance and more time deploying better security tools and fine-tuning systems.

Savings in the data center

The retailer’s two data centers lacked room to expand. However, with the new infrastructure, the team was able to consolidate the existing 22 servers into seven Cisco UCS servers. The newly virtualized data centers are fully redundant with data recovery support. In addition, the company has realized significant savings in power and cooling costs due to the smaller infrastructure footprint.

 

System Before

System After

 

Making dynamic changes

With the more reliable infrastructure, the retailer can quickly and flexibly adjust to market demands. “We opened up a new call center in time for the holiday season, which we could never have done without Cisco UCS,” says the senior director of IT services. “We’re very pleased with the performance of our systems.”

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