APPLICATIONS THAT ARE ALWAYS ON, ALWAYS READY, ALWAYS SERVING; DRIVING A NON-STOP GLOBAL BUSINESS
If our retail databases are not available our business stops! Over 5000 Benetton brand stores in over 120 countries would grind to a halt. Cut off from the transactional data supply required to complete business we would suffer massive revenue losses. Just sixty seconds of downtime alone equates to thousands of euros in potentially lost revenue. After a detailed review of our high availability Service Level Agreement (SLA) safeguarding our retail databases, we were convinced of the need to raise our game and fortify the SLA even further to guarantee a non-stop retail service. But, as our databases are always in production it would be like changing the wheels on a F1 car while its doing 300km/h. By deploying the services of engineers with the highest standards of expertise in rolling System Upgrades, Solaris Operating Systems and Oracle Database Administration we successfully increased the resilience of our Oracle Retail Architecture serving multiple different time zones, without incurring one second of downtime. We managed to change the wheels at 300km/h without doing a very costly pit stop; in fact we didn’t even need to tap on the brakes!
Benetton is one of the best-known fashion companies in the world and present in the most important markets around the globe. We have a consolidated identity comprised of color, authentic fashion, quality at democratic prices and passion for work. We connect these values with customers in our brand stores; the places we get to personally meet and share. We disconnect from our customers if our own digital systems hinder them from an excellent shopping experience. Like our constant attention to quality knitwear emphasizes our dedication to expertize and craftsmanship, in today’s digital world we must take the same view of our IT service delivery if we want a similar outcome of excellence.
High-cost and easy vs. low-cost and clever
Although our Solaris Clusters were already configured at enterprise levels of resilience, an upgrade to state-of-the-art protection would leave our business vulnerable during the operation itself. Pure economics drove the decision not to leave our business systems unguarded, not even for one hour. The easiest route was to simply throw lots more expensive hardware, software and manpower at the problem but we were experiencing mid-year budgetary challenges and waiting until the next fiscal year was also not an option. We needed to find an innovative partner who would understand our exact needs and who was willing to propose a smarter and less costly route.
A rolling upgrade with a safety net
TAI SOLUTIONS brought all the required standards of expertize, credentials and 20+ years of engineering experience with Oracle and Solaris systems to the table but they stood out for their willingness to lead with unexpected ideas and create an innovative approach to help us reach our goals. They proposed a third identical Oracle T5-2 Server node with dual socket 32 core, 256 thread, 512 GB to be added to our existing Solaris Cluster at a minimal rental fee for the duration of the project. It was fully integrated with our existing back-end infrastructure: Cisco MDS 9513 switching gear and NetApp FAS 6280 storage. This enabled a “rolling upgrade” approach to complete the job quickly, providing the node in charge of production with a permanent safety net as the upgrade rolled through the cluster. They completed the project following ITIL V3 best practices and received our signature of acceptance in only eight weeks. We met all our project goals and TAI SOLUTIONS simply decommissioned the third node from the cluster upon completion without any further cost to us. Most importantly, the whole operation happened without any interruption to our retail services globally.
“We are making clothes for humans and to fulfil our human-centric promise we must be able to fully rely on our business value chains at all times. We are delighted to have partnered with TAI SOLUTIONS to guarantee our non-stop retail transaction services, at every point of sale with our customers.“
Expertize and craftsmanship in our digital business transformation
We are excited to have reached a state-of-the-art level of retail service availability in our stores and that we can concentrate on our business without worrying about potential IT infrastructure failure. For a company that believes in the combination of exciting stores, a strong brand and a faultless customer shopping experience we can safely say that our attention to quality in our retail services now emphasizes our dedication to expertize and craftsmanship in our digital business transformation.
“We were squeezed at one end by an IT budget that was already accounted for and at the other end by not wanting to wait for the next fiscal year to reach the highest standards of availability for our retail database services. This dilemma led us to TAI SOLUTIONS, their unexpected way of thinking and a smart solution that was only a fraction of the cost if we had chosen the so called easy route”
Finance & Controlling Benetton
“Sophisticated Enterprise Applications are often described as simple by their inventors but this is normally a reference to a few features or functions. Under the hood can be found decades of complexity. Partners like TAI SOLUTIONS have lived through these years and possess the experience and confidence to propose unexpected ideas.”
Technology & Innovation Benetton
“Beyond digital order fulfilment our retail services to our stores provide us monitoring capabilities to know how our stores are performing. Any break in service leaves us totally in the dark. A reliable retail service is business critical”
IT Operations Benetton