Data Center Transformation Helps Future Group Reduce TCO by 50%

by May 7, 2015 0 comments

Future Group’s tech refresh of its data center provides increased business critical applications availability, almost 4x performance improvement on enterprise databases delivery and maximized RoI.

Future Group is an Indian private conglomerate, headquartered in Mumbai. The company is known for having a significant prominence in Indian retail and fashion sectors, with popular supermarket chains like Big Bazaar and Food Bazaar, lifestyle stores like Brand Factory, Central etc. and also for having notable presence in integrated foods and FMCG manufacturing sectors.

As India’s largest retailer, it rethinks strategies and realigns businesses with increasing agility to provide diverse customer groups with refreshingly different retail experiences.Every day, Future Group brings multiple products, opportunities and services to millions of customers in India.

Challenges

The data center was five years old and required a technology refresh as it was drawing more power and space. MTTR was high, there was single point of failure and applications were scattered on a single system. This led to high AMC, cost of ownership like rack space, power, maintenance and downtime.

Even the storage was more than six years old for which the support is about to end in 2016. AMC costs in this case also were very high.

The prime objective behind Data Center Transformation was Space reduction – storage, high throughput and response-flash drives for critical applications.

The Implementation

Storage: The company used solid state storage along with thin provisioning, thanks to their compact size and high IOs, both of which brought the much required high performance. Plus, all storage, servers, and network were unified for converged management, and sub LUN partitioning was used to use SSDs more effectively. The company populated 300 servers on this setup to make it more cost effective, which included a mix of physical servers and email solutions. The mid-range storage tier was also upgraded with an additional 45 TB capacity.

Network Attached Storage: Instead of having multiple metro local storages at zonal offices across PAN India, the company migrated everything to a central data center location and used NAS devices from NetApp. Among other things, this would also help data security considerably.

Enterprise Storage: Here, enterprise grade flash storage was implemented for critical applicationslike BI, HRM, warehouse management system and SAP. The existing enterprise storage would be considered for DR site and storage retained at DC.

Server: On the server side, the company used a compact blade server solution with the latest Intel & RISC based CPUs. Virtualization technology was used and nearly 100% of the workload was put on this system for both x86 and Unix based applications. In fact, here, the company used the KVM open source virtualization hypervisor to save cost. The company also moved their space and power hungry Oracle server to IBM’s P—Series systems, thereby reducing rack space from 8 to a mere 0.5.

The company’s data warehousing solution was also migrated to Vectorwise open source platform to eliminate appliance locking.

The Result

The data center optimization has helped the Future group in many ways. For one, with nearly 100% of the workload being virtualized, resource usage has been optimized. Plus, it ensures high-availability for business applications.

The optimization also ensures private cloud readiness and has reduced the ticket volumes, thereby enhancing user satisfaction. There’s nearly 4x improvement in performance of the enterprise databases delivery. All this results in excellent RoI due to shared resource pools.

As newer devices consume lesser energy, the data center also helps reduce the carbon footprint.

As it’s a data center level transformation, the project impacts all the users across the organization. So whether it’s retail applications like PoS, payment gateways, loyalty programs, warehouse management, finance, or HR, users across the entire organization are benefiting from this transformation.

Given the current business and its rate of expansion, the implementation is expected to last for the next 3-4 years. It has helped reduce power and data center utilization by almost 45%. Almost 100% of the workload has been virtualized, leading to higher uptime for business.

The deployment has reduced TCO by 50% &the helped the company gain RoI from it in less than 24 months, which in a way has made it into a self-paid project.

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