Find out how Trustco & HPE Nimble Storage delivered retail therapy for Joules 

When UK-based premium lifestyle brand Joules needed to address potential storage performance problems in its SQL Server Data Warehouse, they contacted Trustco to discuss new innovative products in the storage market.

IT Challenges

  • SQL Server Data Warehouse was struggling with legacy storage capacity and performance
  • End of life storage and costly support contracts needed replacing
  • Future proofing

Following a number of years of strong business growth and an IPO, the twice daily re-build of its Data Warehouse models, used to deliver business decision makers fresh business data in the morning and afternoon, was starting to experience latency issues.

Joules is a large and well established business, with 97 stores in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It has a customer database of two million people spanning the globe, who access its products through an established e-commerce platform. To help make strategic decisions, management uses data analytics to build a picture of customer interest and spending and reacts accordingly. In short, data is becoming increasingly essential to the ongoing development of the business.

“The SQL Server Data Warehouse takes a feed from all systems across the business and then the data is used to predict spending, stock levels and so on,” comments Mike Stevens, IT Service Delivery and Technical Manager at Joules. “So it’s very valuable and performance is of course, key.”

Having partnered on key IT infrastructure projects since 2013, Joules once again selected Trustco to help outline their requirements and to give an unbiased view of the storage market. “Trustco helps us work through our ‘pinch points’. Our IT team trust their recommendations and this gives us the confidence to purchase the correct solutions” says Stevens.

The Selection

After careful consideration of the options available Joules selected HPE Nimble’s predictive all Flash array, delivering 60,000 IOPS and offering 3.5TB capacity. The speed and power of the all Flash storage system would easily meet the performance demands of the SQL Server Data Warehouse with room to spare.

“In fact it surprised us because not only did it fulfil its performance promise it also cut re-build times by 50 per cent,” says Stevens. “That of course means we can start to offer the business double the number of re-builds in a day making the data even more up-to-date for critical decision making.”

Joules deployed a HPE Nimble AF3000 All Flash Array on the recommendation of Trustco.  The immediate performance upturn has rippled across the business and is the latest, successful implementation of HPE Nimble hardware and Trustco support.

“We had limited time on this project but we fully trust Trustco’s recommendations so we went from proposal to sign off in under two weeks” Stevens adds.

Back to the Future

Joules’ first encounter with HPE Nimble was back in 2013, a point at which it wanted to increase virtualisation of the IT environment. Trustco was called in to pitch solutions to replace Joules’ legacy NetApp arrays which, according to Stevens, were old and needed re-licencing. This meant they were going to be costly to maintain.

Two NetApp FAS 2040s with expansion shelves offering a total capacity of 20TB were replaced with two HPE Nimble CS220s (with an expansion tray (EC1-H25)) giving Joules a usable capacity of 21TB and the ability to effectively manage its Hyper V-based infrastructure. It was the start of a mutually beneficial relationship and one that has continued to impress Stevens, from hardware performance and scalability through to predictive analytics and support.

“Honestly it is one of the very best support experiences I’ve ever had, it’s very proactive,” says Stevens.

A large part of this proactivity is managed through HPE Nimble’s InfoSight technology, which enables Joules to be automatically alerted to potential issues but also to plan ahead, enabling Joules to have a holistic view of the storage network at any given moment in time.

Capacity Challenge

“InfoSight is excellent as it can accurately give us a picture of what to expect both in terms of performance but also capacity,” adds Stevens. “This means we can keep a close eye on things but also intelligently plan for the future, which is important given that the company never really throws any data away.”

Joules has its own in-house design and photography capability for its mail order business. As a result, Stevens says the data creation “is vast” so an easily scalable storage solution is essential.

“We received the AF3000 at our Corby distribution centre at 9.30 in the morning and it was up and running, fully installed within two and a half hours. For a SAN, that’s amazing,” says Stevens. “I have never had anything go in at this size and cost so quickly. It’s a career first.”

Final Say

Stevens commented; “Trustco continues to go the extra mile. From Pre-sales technical advice, supportive account management and first class installation services we always get a cost effective, high performing solution to address our business needs.”

Sector

Fashion and Retail

Solutions provided

  • An AF3000 All Flash array designed for highly transactional or latency sensitive applications, offering high performance and scalability
  • Two HPE Nimble CS220s with an expansion tray (EC1-H25)
  • InfoSight VMVision allows for full performance monitoring and trend analysis of virtualised VMware vSphere environments – also capacity planning and demand management with proactive support.

Business benefits

  • Massively reduced latency across the company
  • Hugely improved performance in its SQL Server Data Warehouse where it can now consider doubling its daily data re-builds for more up to date analytics
  • The ability to plan ahead with predictive analysis through InfoSight

Customer quote

“Trustco helps us work through our ‘pinch points’. Our IT team trust their recommendations and this gives us the confidence to purchase the correct solutions”.

 

Mike Stevens, IT Service Delivery and Technical Manager, Joules