WHSmith News has invested £1m in server and storage technology from Dell in an attempt to improve its e-mail and printing communications and reduce IT support costs.
The newspapers and magazines wholesaler, which delivers 44 million products to 22,000 retailers each week, has rolled out high-availability clusters of Dell PowerEdge 2650 servers and PowerVault storage devices in 13 of its 26 warehouses, with the remainder to be completed by the end of the year.
WHSmith News, which only has three hours a day - between 3am and 6am - to pack and distribute its products, hopes the systems will improve the reliability of its distribution process by bringing together the technology for both printing and e-mail.
It moved to Dell systems because the existing warehouse servers were increasingly prone to failure, meaning support costs were rising, said Robert Wilson, infrastructure manager at WHSmith News.
“We will be able to remove one server easily if required, or add additional devices to our clusters, without any impact to the business,” he said.
The Dell systems will also enable remote printing - a key requirement for a company which prints 100 million pages of paper a year, said Alan Elliston, support services manager at WHSmith News.
“We will be able to print on demand with this system, which is vital in our business,” he said. “Without this infrastructure, we would, undoubtedly, use more paper and increase our costs.”