Pacific Sunwear Case Study: Reducing Storage Administration Time Through Virtualization


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Pacific Sunwear eliminates 100 servers and reduces storage administration time by 20 percent with a virtualized Dell infrastructure.

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Pacific Sunwear Case Study: Reducing Storage Administration Time Through Virtualization

  1. 1. Pacific Sunwear eliminates100 servers and reducesstorage administrationtime by 20 percent with a • • Enterprise case study Backup/recovery/archivingvirtualized Dell infrastructure • • Consolidation Virtualization “We have now removed two full racks in our data center due to the conversion from physical to virtual. We have plenty of room to grow, and we are saving thousands of dollars a year on power and conditioning.” Ira Ham, Director of Network and Information Security, Pacific Sunwear of California, Inc. Customer profile Company: Pacific Sunwear of California, Inc. Industry: Specialty Apparel Country: United States Benefits Employees: 12,000 • Increased business agility by reducing Website: new application deployment time from days to minutes • Reduced system downtime by Business need Pacific Sunwear relies on IT to keep up with business growth and creating a virtualized environment rapidly changing customer demand. The company needed to on reliable Dell hardware, backed by refresh its infrastructure to improve availability, reduce costs, simplify Dell ProSupport management, and enhance business agility. • Decreased operating expenses by eliminating more than 100 servers Solution through virtualization Pacific Sunwear created a virtualized data center by deploying • Simplified storage management, VMware® vSphere™ virtualization software on Dell™ PowerEdge™ blade servers and a Dell EqualLogic™ storage area network (SAN). saving 20 percent in administrative time
  2. 2. Pacific Sunwear of California, Inc. started as a little surf shop in Newport Beach, California, in 1980. Today “PacSun” is one of the top names in teen clothing with nearly 900 stores in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. IT plays a key role in helping PacSun keep up with changes in teen fashion. “A new line can just start flying off the shelves,” says Ira Ham, director of network and information security at PacSun. “With our high-speed reporting system, Another set of applications important“When Dell says we collect data from our stores daily. We can quickly spot trends from our to the company, including the Lawson Business Intelligence System four-hour service, it California headquarters and coordinate applications used to analyze data from with our distribution center in Kansas to the company’s stores each day, operated means just that. Dell air-freight products to stores the next in the Windows environment. But the day if necessary to meet demand.” direct attach storage was difficult to ProSupport helps utilize efficiently as the company grew. us avoid downtime If an IT system goes down, it can affect the continuous reporting from PacSun “Some direct attach drives were full while others had unused space going because they really stores, causing the company to miss to waste,” says Ham. “We couldn’t opportunities. And as PacSun servers easily move data from one to another perform in terms of were reaching the end of their service to balance usage.” At the same time, service response.” life, failures were becoming more frequent. “Without that data, we can’t having separate storage limited the company’s ability to maximize storage make strategic product decisions,” says resources. “Running distinct Apple andIra Ham, Director of Network and Ham. “That can cost us hundreds of Windows storage made it difficult to setInformation Security, Pacific Sunwearof California, Inc. thousands of dollars in lost sales. It was up unified disaster recovery,” says Ham. time to refresh the infrastructure.” Dual storage environments pose a Technology at work challenge to continued growth Services The PacSun team needed to refresh storage as well. The IT group was Dell ProSupport using two storage environments, an Hardware Apple storage area network (SAN) and Microsoft® Windows®–based servers Dell™ PowerEdge™ M610 blade with direct attach storage. Both servers with the Intel® Xeon® environments lacked the flexibility and processor 5500 series scalability to handle rapidly growing Dell PowerEdge M1000e blade storage requirements that were enclosure approaching a total of 100 terabytes. Dell EqualLogic™ PS6000 Series The separate and distinct storage had SANs • PS6000XV • PS6000X • PS6000E been dictated by PacSun’s key applications. Software “The Apple storage area network had been here since the company’s inception, VMware® vSphere™ 4.0 because we do all our clothing design on Microsoft® Windows Server® Macs,” explains Ham. “The Adobe Illustrator 2008 R2 design application was created for Apple Adobe Creative Suite systems. But when we went past several terabytes of design data, the SAN became Lawson Business Intelligence extremely difficult to manage.” System
  3. 3. “We also wanted to create a unified pool so we were able to keep all of our of storage to more efficiently and flexibly support our entire enterprise.” existing networking gear and ensure smooth migration to the new servers.” “The Dell bladeThe IT team decided that virtualizing SAN selection process gives Dell chassis wasits data center with VMware vSpheresoftware could help unify storage while EqualLogic highest marks available with Through the SAN evaluation process, thereducing the cost of updating the aging Dell EqualLogic PS Series became a top integrated Ciscoservers and storage systems. “From athree-year ROI standpoint, we could contender. “We compared several of the top systems in the market,” says Ham. switching, so weeasily double our return with a virtualizedenvironment versus just replacing old “For us, the Dell EqualLogic PS Series were able to keep offers the best features, reliability, andservers with new physical machines,” ease of use, and it provides compatibility all of our existingsays Ham. “Virtualization could also helpus deploy new applications faster and with our Apple Macintosh environment, which was a requirement for us.” networking gearopen up space in the data center for growth.” The IT group made its final choice after and ensure smoothPacific Sunwear chooses Dellservers for virtualization seeing a Dell EqualLogic evaluation unit in action. “We spent three days migration to theThe PacSun IT team was quick to doing everything we could to test new servers.”consider Dell servers for the virtualization the eval unit, even abruptly removingproject. “We had been moving to Dell disks at random times to see what Ira Ham, Director of Network andPowerEdge servers in our distribution it would do. The Dell EqualLogic Information Security, Pacific Sunwearcenter, and we were impressed with system performed exceptionally of California, Inc.their high-availability features and the well and maintained all the data withstrong support we had received from no problem.”Dell,” says Ham. Virtualization eliminates over 100 receiving a request to having the serverAfter evaluating servers from other physical servers in operation,” says Ham. “Now it takes asvendors, the team selected Dell By moving to a virtualized environment, little as an hour or two. Virtualizing on DellPowerEdge M610 blade servers with the the company has eliminated over 100 gives us the agility the company needs toIntel® Xeon® processor 5500 series as physical servers. “As we retired those respond quickly in a retail marketplace.”the foundation for the virtualized Mac servers, we created virtual machines,and Windows environments. Equipped Dual compatibility ensures saving thousands of dollars over buyingwith the Intel processors, the servers SAN success new physical boxes,” says Ham. “We nowcan deliver the raw performance and have more than 130 servers virtualized in To accommodate approximately 106memory capacity required to maximize our Dell blade environment.” terabytes of data, the IT group deployedthe number of virtual machines per a total of nine Dell EqualLogic PS Seriesphysical server. “The Dell servers The virtualization is helping to control arrays in a unified, virtualized SAN.have the performance to run multiple costs while conserving room for future The ability to support both Microsoftinstances of our key applications,” says growth. “We have now removed two Windows and Apple MacintoshHam. “They also support plenty of full racks in our data center due to the environments has made the Dellmemory, which is crucial to meeting our conversion from physical to virtual,” says EqualLogic SAN a strong success forhigh-end application needs. Memory Ham. “We have plenty of room to grow, PacSun. “We can attest that using a Dellaccess can be a gating factor for our and we are saving thousands of dollars a EqualLogic environment with a MacLawson Business Intelligence System year on power and conditioning.” environment works great,” says Ham.and the supporting SQL databases.” Faster application deployment Tiered storage capability built intoThe Dell PowerEdge M1000e chassis increases business agility the Dell EqualLogic arrays enabledused for the blades provides the The new virtualized Dell infrastructure the PacSun team to match drivepreferred switching for the PacSun has helped reduce the time required to performance and capacity to specificenvironment. “We are a Cisco networking provision new servers and applications. application demands. “We configuredshop,” says Ham. “The Dell blade chassis was “Previously, it could take several days from a high-speed disk pool for databases, aavailable with integrated Cisco switching,
  4. 4. medium-range pool for applications, “You don’t need a SAN administrator or “When Dell says four-hour service, itand a low-speed file server pool for our a specialist to run the equipment.” means just that. Dell ProSupport helpsWindows and Macintosh file systems,” us avoid downtime because they reallysays Ham. “Our mission-critical reporting, The flexibility of moving data on the fly has perform in terms of service response.”analysis, and design applications get the been a big benefit for PacSun. “We decidedperformance they need, while the file to move our file systems over from a high- The Dell EqualLogic SAN helps to ensuresystems drop down to the less-costly, speed disk environment to a slower one, business continuity in the event of largerhigher-capacity drive tier. We can also and instead of having to stop for data copy problems. The PacSun team was ablereduce our costs by purchasing fewer to occur, the EqualLogic system handled to easily implement remote replicationhigh-speed drives.” it on the fly,” says Ham. “That’s huge for between the company’s California us because those data transfers can take headquarters and the Kansas distribution Managing the Windows-based data days to complete. The level of built-in center. “We have off-site copies of our is no longer a problem because the intelligence and automation in the SAN California file shares in Kansas, so if EqualLogic SAN automatically balances makes it easy to keep the environment up something happens we can bring them storage across the arrays. The IT team 24/7 with little intervention.” up automatically over there,” says Ham. “It’s has seen an immediate improvement in a very cost-effective backup solution in storage utilization. “We have eliminated New infrastructure increases comparison to real-time data retention.” the problem of unused capacity that we system availability experienced with direct attach storage The Dell hardware and VMware software Updating technology helps in our Windows environment,” says Ham. work together to deliver high availability for enhance the customer experience“The Dell EqualLogic system balances key PacSun applications and supporting PacSun strives to become the number- storage so we don’t end up with a lot of SQL databases, including design software, one place for teens to shop, and Ham expensive, underused disks.” point of sale management systems, and sees updating the company’s technology store and corporate communications as an important investment toward thatPacSun reduces storage “Redundant features are built into the Dell goal. “We’re focused on ensuring a greatadministration time by 20 percent servers,” says Ham. “If a problem does customer experience,” says Ham. “ThatHam estimates that the ease of use occur, the VMware software allows us to can mean tracking an increase in theof the Dell EqualLogic SAN has cut quickly transfer virtual servers to a different number of jeans that are being sold toadministrative time for the PacSun IT physical machine that is already running, keep stock on the shelves or deciding toteam by 20 percent, reducing operating so we can maintain availability.” add more designs to a high-selling scarfcosts and freeing staff to work on line so we can catch on for the season.continued virtualization efforts and The IT group can turn to Dell ProSupport Improving our technology with the helpapplication development. “All the claims to resolve any hardware issues rapidly. of Dell is ultimately about providingabout Dell EqualLogic ease of use and “Our previous vendor could not deliver more and better opportunities for ouradministration are true,” says Ham. replacement parts on time,” says Ham. customers and our stores.”View all Dell case studies at: 2010. © 2010 Dell Inc. Dell is a trademark of Dell Inc. Intel, the Intel logo, and Intel Xeon are registeredtrademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Microsoft, the Microsoftlogo, and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.Other trademarks and trade names may be used in this document to refer to either the entities claiming the marksand names or their products. This case study is for informational purposes only. DELL MAKES NO WARRANTIES,EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS CASE STUDY. 10008243
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