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Carphone Warehouse cuts storage costs with pay-as-you-go servers

Arif Mohamed

Carphone Warehouse said today it has implemented two online storage units and halved its storage costs.

Carphone Warehouse, a retailer of mobile phones and services with 700 stores in the UK and 1,300 in continental Europe, has deployed two 3PAR InServ S400 Storage Servers, as part of a utility computing (pay-as-you-go) IT system.

Over the last three years, Carphone Warehouse has seen its online storage requirements rise from a single terabyte to several hundreds of terabytes, and found that the cost and complexity of traditional storage architectures yielded unacceptably low utilisation rates.

As a result, the firm has moved to a “virtual data centre” system. This is a utility computing environment, based on storage virtualisation using 3PAR Utility Storage and server virtualisation running on VMWare’s ESX application, running on cost-effective Linux servers and IBM System p5 servers that run Advanced Power Virtualisation and Virtual I/O software.

“With 3PAR Utility Storage, we have demonstrated a 50% reduction in storage total cost of ownership (TCO), while significantly increasing overall service levels,” said Steven Gall, enterprise architect at the Carphone Warehouse.

“It is becoming increasingly important for IT departments to deploy just the right amount of capacity over time and provision capacity according to the exact needs of the business,” said Claus Egge, IDC's European program director for storage research.

“Solutions such as the 3PAR array family show an engineering commitment to giving such functions high priority,” he added.
 
Computacenter Services manages the system forCarphone Warehouse. Terry Walby, datacentre solutions director at Computacenter Services, said, “Managing unpredictable growth in demand with adequate and cost-effective levels of server and storage provisioning is a great challenge for many of our customers, for whom Computacenter Services is able to offer a range of innovative and flexible utility infrastructure solutions.”

Carphone Warehouse said the virtual data centre has helped it to eliminate the downtime associated with running its own datawarehouse; run extract, transform and load procedures in its Informatica/Oracle environment without having to add extra storage capacity; and increased its utilisation rates by consolidating its storage for both disaster recovery, and test and development onto one scalable system.

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