PNI Digital Media Increases Photo Orders and Profits with NetApp Storage


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Challenge: Provide ready access to millions of digital photos for consumers and fulfillment labs and meet the company’s growing business requirements.

Solution: Implement a high-performance, highly scalable storage infrastructure that includes NetApp FAS6280, FAS3280, and FAS3170 storage systems.

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PNI Digital Media Increases Photo Orders and Profits with NetApp Storage

  1. 1. Success Story PNI Digital Media Increases Photo Orders and Profits with NetApp Storage Customer Profile for retailers at thousands of locationsKEY HIGHLIGHTS PNI Digital Media operates the PNI worldwide. The company’s big dataIndustry Digital Media Platform, which provides storage requirements continue to growDigital Media transaction processing and order right along with its system performance routing services for major retailers. requirements.The Challenge The PNI Digital Media Platform con-Provide ready access to millions “We store millions of digital photo- nects consumer-ordered digital content,of digital photos for consumers graphs, with millions accessed daily whether from online sources, in-storeand fulfillment labs and meet the by consumers and the fulfillment labs kiosks, desktop software, or mobilecompany’s growing business that process their orders,” says Zack phones, with retailers that have on-requirements. Wickes, vice president of Technology demand manufacturing capabilities at PNI. “Through acquisitions andThe Solution for the production of personalized successful business operations, we’veImplement a high-performance, products such as photos, photo books, increased our number of retail partnershighly scalable storage infra- photo calendars, business cards, and we work with from 2,000 to almoststructure that includes NetApp® stationery. PNI Digital Media success- 20,000 in just a few years. In the pastFAS6280, FAS3280, and fully generates millions of transactions 6 years, we’ve seen a 900% increaseFAS3170 storage systems. each year for retailers and their thou- in transactions. This plus the massive sands of locations worldwide. increase in digital images uploaded byBenefits The Challenge consumers demanded a more robust Providing ready access to millions and highly scalable storage revenue-generating transac- of digital photographs infrastructure.” tions annually The PNI Digital Media Platform provides PNI needed an enterprise-class storage even during holidays when transaction processing and order routing infrastructure with centralized manage- transactions can increase services for its retail clients. The on- ment that provided easy provisioning 6 to 10 times demand ordering capabilities allow and performance monitoring. The com- consumers to easily place personal pany also needed a flexible storage NetApp Flash Cache photo product orders via the Web, solution that met its diverse needs— in-store kiosks, desktop software, and from advanced performance to effec- 900% increase in transactions mobile phones. PNI stores petabytes tive archival processes. The company in the past 6 years of consumer data and generates selected NetApp storage based on its millions of transactions each year
  2. 2. “With consumers uploading multiple versions of each digital image to the PNI Digital Media Platform, we’re up to 950 million images and 3PB of data stored on NetApp, and our big data storage requirements continue to grow. NetApp offers us the high performance we need in our data-intensive environment and the ability to scale our storage infrastructure as our business expands.” Zack Wickes Vice President, Technology, PNI Digital Media ability to deliver rapid I/O processing, Customers can choose to have their NetApp helps PNI optimize its IT infra- especially during the holidays and other personal photo products delivered to structure with multiprotocol support peak ordering periods. the retail store providing the service or that provides the flexibility to leverage to a residential or business address. the connectivity that best meets the Just as important, PNI chose NetApp needs of the workload and the available for the technology partnership it would PNI leverages NetApp Virtual Storage budgets. NetApp supports the easy gain as a result. “We wanted more than Tier implemented with Flash Cache management and failover inherent in a storage vendor,” Wickes emphasized. intelligent caching on the FAS6280 “NetApp understands how dependent storage system to boost the processing for its high-bandwidth workloads, our business is on storage, particularly performance of its 1.5 billion files. as well as CIFS for PNI’s Windows® the continuous uptime of the storage Using SATA drives with Flash Cache file servers. platform. NetApp worked closely with for its critical workloads, the company us to help ensure the storage infrastruc- reduces storage costs and latency for Business Benefits ture met our demanding performance accelerated access to photo imagery Driving high-transaction requirements and allowed us to meet by consumers and fulfillment labs. processing and revenue our big data needs for our clients and Centralized storage management and The company’s business model involves their customers.” performance monitoring help the IT earning revenue per transaction, which staff optimize the NetApp storage comprises 76% of its overall revenue. The Solution environment. Accelerated processing for her digital images stored on the PNI data-intensive workloads “We have massive metadata to cache Digital Media Platform and orders photo PNI relies on NetApp FAS6280, and manage on our NetApp storage products through a retailer, PNI profits. FAS3280, and FAS3170 storage systems,” says Wickes. “With consum- systems and the Data ONTAP ® 8 ers uploading multiple versions of each PNI depends on advanced NetApp operating system to host rich media digital image to the PNI Digital Media system performance and uptime to data at production data centers in Platform, we’re up to 950 million support its business model and deliver Vancouver, British Columbia, and images and 3PB of data stored on superior customer service. With Toronto, Ontario. NetApp helps the NetApp, and our big data storage 24 cores and 192GB of memory, the company support almost 20,000 retail requirements continue to grow. NetApp high-performance FAS6280 system locations in the United States, Canada, offers us the high performance we need takes full advantage of the 64-bit and the United Kingdom and to provide in our data-intensive environment and Data ONTAP 8 operating system. on-demand access to nearly 1 billion the ability to scale our storage infra- digital images through online fulfillment structure as our business expands.” partners and in-store retail kiosks.
  3. 3. NetApp FAS3280 NetApp FAS3280 NetApp FAS3280 Microsoft Windows Servers CIFS 10GbE NetApp Flash Cache SATA Drives NetApp FAS6280 Running on NetApp Data ONTAP 8 Virtual Storage Tier NetApp FAS3170Figure 1) PNI Digital Media production environment.PNI Digital Media relies on NetApp FAS6280, 3280, and 3170 storage systems and NetApp Virtual Storage Tier to support its big data growth path,scaling to over 4PB.A substantial percentage of PNI’s rev- Beyond the busy holiday season, “We’re a high-I/O business, unlike otherenue is generated during the holidays, NetApp helps drive more than 18 million companies that need storage strictlywhen transaction processing increases fast, revenue-generating transactions for archival purposes,” notes Wickes.significantly. Although about 4 million annually. “If our system is slow, con- “We’ve experienced a 900% increaseusers access the PNI Digital Media sumers will either order less or they’ll in transactions in the past 6 years andPlatform in September, approximately simply use another retailer supported continuous growth in the amount of12 million access it in December. One by another company’s digital media digital images uploaded by consumersout of every four holiday photo cards platform,” emphasizes Wickes. “It’s to our data center. Yet we also haveordered in the United States is ordered that simple. Downtime costs us dearly enormous capacity requirements givenvia the PNI Digital Media Platform. in lost revenue, and it also impacts our petabytes of digital imagery data.PNI capitalizes on holiday volume and the bottom line of our retail partners, NetApp meets our intensive performancethe reliability of NetApp storage perfor- so we just can’t have it.” requirements and also offers the scal-mance during peak transaction times. ability and simplified provisioning we Growing data and a growing partnership need as well as an easy upgrade path“On a peak day during our last holiday to accommodate growth.”season, we transferred approximately With a steep growth trajectory, PNI100 million digital images for consum- went on the offensive to ensure that Growth will include expanded servicesers ordering 16 million greeting cards, it had the infrastructure in place to in the near future. The company is cur-25,000 photo books, and 40,000 photo support its growth path. Although all rently investing resources to developcalendars,” says Wickes. “NetApp companies must accommodate data two new platforms: an on-demandFAS6280 storage system performance growth, PNI especially depends on printing solution for small businessesand uptime are key to our ability to storage scalability and flexibility given and a social-stationery solution.handle big bandwidth requirements the sheer magnitude of data growthduring peak times. NetApp has helped in recent years and projections for the Wickes explains how NetApp’s partner-us maintain 100% uptime while manag- coming years. The FAS6280 storage ship with PNI is fundamental to meetinging a 6 to 10 times increase in photo system supports PNI’s big data growth its dynamic business requirements.order transactions through recent path, scaling to over 4PB. “NetApp understands our business andholiday seasons.”
  4. 4. “NetApp FAS6280 storage system performance and uptime are key to our ability to handle big bandwidth requirements during peak times. NetApp has helped us maintain 100% uptime while managing up to a 6 to 10 times increase in photo order transactions through recent holiday seasons.”Zack WickesVice President, Technology, PNI Digital Mediaunderstands our pain points, which SOLUTION COMPONENTShelps ensure we have the right storagesolution for our complex transactional NetApp Products Protocolsenvironment,” he says. “In addition, FAS6280 storage system CIFSwe don’t have to explain our business FAS3280 storage systemsevery time we call NetApp ProfessionalServices. We’ve received the same FAS3170 storage system Third-Party Productspersonalized support from the same Data ONTAP 8 operating system Microsoft® SharePoint® Serverindividuals for years now, which is a Flash Cachehuge asset to our storage environmentand the ROI of our storage investment.We expect our business to continueto grow, and we expect NetApp togrow with us.” NetApp creates innovative storage and © 2012 NetApp, Inc. All rights reserved. No portions of this document may be reproduced without prior written consent of NetApp, Inc. data management solutions that deliver Specifications are subject to change without notice. NetApp, the NetApp logo, Go further, faster, and Data ONTAP are trademarks or outstanding cost efficiency and accelerate registered trademarks of NetApp, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Microsoft, Windows, and SharePoint are business breakthroughs. Discover our trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. All other brands or products are passion for helping companies around the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders and should be treated as such. CSS-6546-0312 world go further, faster at Go further, faster ®