FAS3220 (primary storage)
FAS3140 (backup storage)
Data ONTAP® 8 7-Mode
Flash Cache™ (1TB)
CIFS, FCP, NFS
Fujitsu BX900 and BX600 blade chassis
Fujitsu LAN blade switches
IIB UPIS.Net (ERP and BI)
Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
Microsoft SQL Server 2012
Microsoft Windows Server®
DISDIS (www.dis.rs) is Serbia’s largest domestic retail chain, with 15 supermarkets of various sizes, a wholesale market, over 420 franchise partners, and a flourishing logistics and distribution unit.
Founded in 1991, DIS evolved from a small family business based in the city of Krnjevo near Beograd to a nationwide food retail giant. Its markets cover a total area of more than 70,000 m2 with locations from Novi Sad in the north to Niš in the south of Serbia.
All facilities follow the latest organizational trends in retail and are equipped with ancillary markets from sportswear to pharmacies. DIS reported revenues of approximately €240 million for financial year 2013.
Keep pace with business
and data growth
Managing the growth and development of a nationwide retail business is a real challenge at DIS. Literally everything at the company doubles in size year over year. The last five years have been tremendous: New and even larger locations opened, the number and amount of supplied articles grew, and more and more data needed to be stored, protected, and analyzed. Currently, DIS registers about 5,000 buyers in its markets per day.
A team of IT engineers and developers operate and evolve the company’s centralized IT environment at its headquarters in Krnjevo. They make sure that all IT services run smoothly, including the web site with the latest promotions, customer and supplier portals, point-of-sales data transfers, ERP and business intelligence (BI) applications, and many more.
Managing the flow of goods and delivering up-to-date forecasts for the business’s directions especially require highly reliable and fast data storage. However, the ever-growing amount of data made it necessary to refresh the storage in place, add more capacity, accelerate data access, and raise the level of data protection with business continuity in mind.
DIS had been using Fujitsu blade servers and NetApp midrange storage for a couple of years. “We were very satisfied with this solution. So when we looked into upgrades and enhancements, it was sort of natural that Fujitsu and NetApp were again on our shortlist,” says Goran Rakic, IT manager at DIS.
NetApp midrange storage
Amongst its competitors, NetApp showed the best performance values and demo of its latest generation of midrange storage. DIS selected a NetApp FAS3220 system with 60 terabytes (TB) as its new primary data platform. It replaced a NetApp FAS3140, which became the secondary storage and now serves data backup purposes managed by NetApp OnCommand® software.
The proven combination of NetApp storage and Fujitsu servers continues: A Fujitsu BX900 blade chassis with the latest Intel®-based technology on board complements the new storage. It enabled DIS to build a private cloud running Microsoft® Hyper-V®. As a longstanding and trusted partner of DIS, Fujitsu took on the implementation at the primary site and also supported the migration from VMware® to Microsoft virtualization.
From a storage perspective, DIS is fully on the safe side: NetApp supports both solutions with tight integration of its data management software and simplifies operations through a single interface. NetApp’s best practice guide to install Hyper-V with NetApp storage helped DIS to accelerate the deployment of the private cloud and to smooth the start-up.
Speed up “hot” data access
The new midrange storage is equipped with SAS and SATA disks so that DIS can balance the cost of storing data against its performance needs. NetApp integrated flash technology accelerates frequently accessed “hot” data. A minimum of 30,000 IOPS on the storage side was the bottom line to serve the four Microsoft SQL Servers® in place. On top runs UPIS.Net, an ERP and BI solution from Serbian software specialist IIB. With a read/write ratio of 65/35, the combination of flashbased caching and hard disk drives delivers the best performance/cost ratio compared to a solution with solid-state and hard disk drives.
“I like the simplicity and elegance of the flash concept,” says Rakic. “Just tick the flash box in the storage dashboard and the additional performance kicks in. There is nothing else to do. The whole system adapts fully automated to the users’ demand for data. Whoever has to manage data performance manually or by rule across physical storage tiers can imagine the convenience of NetApp virtual storage tiers.”
Accelerate insight and forecast
With the newly gained performance levels, the IT team is able to contribute greatly to the company’s business. Processes that took up to 5 minutes in the past are now completed within 15 seconds maximum. “A 20-timesfaster write performance is a powerful accomplishment for our productivity,” says Rakic. “It makes life for our 250 ERP and BI users much easier. Our decision makers can rely on better results and react faster to shifts in product demand.”
DIS also accelerated test and development and greatly improved their quality. The team just makes a Snapshot™ copy of a specific dataset at a given time. This eliminates needing expensive resources for a separate test environment. Once a Snapshot copy is no longer needed, it gets deleted. Snapshot copies also solve the issue of working with incomplete or out-of-date datasets. Today, new software is ready for production in less time and works as it should right away, letting programmers take care for other tasks.
Save with simplicity and efficiency
A comparably small team of 10 runs all IT operations at DIS. It is obvious that they benefit from infrastructure components that are easy to configure and manage and work reliably. Both Fujitsu servers and NetApp storage help the team to deliver a constantly positive user experience. “Relying again on NetApp not only saves time and efforts for the team, but brings us new features that save money,” says Rakic. By coupling hard disk drives with NetApp flash technology instead of solid-state drives, DIS saved about $72,000. Deduplication saves on average 14% of disk capacity and helps to make use of the existing storage for a longer time.
Set for further growth
The private cloud at DIS makes it easy to add new users and applications as the company grows. Goran Rakic is already planning the next steps, including replacing the blade servers at the backup site and preparing for higher levels of data protection and business continuity. With NetApp data management, the appropriate software is already on the system and just needs to be activated.
Retail and logistics
Adapt to the performance, scalability, and protection needs of a growing company in the food retail business.
The Solution Upgrade and enhance the existing infrastructure with NetApp® storage and Fujitsu servers in a private cloud environment.
- Tripled data access performance
- Simplified database testing
- Shortened time to production for new database applications
- Improved business intelligence analytics and business forecasts
- Saved $72,000 for disks through flash-based caching
- Saved an average of 14% disk capacity through deduplication
- Paved the way to business continuity
- Positioned itself to accommodate more data and users easily