WHSmith invests £1m to cut IT support costs

WHSmith News has invested £1m in server and storage technology from Dell in an attempt to improve its e-mail and printing...

WHSmith News has invested £1m in server and storage technology from Dell in an attempt to improve its e-mail and printing capabilities and reduce IT support costs.

The wholesaler, which delivers 44 million newspapers and magazines 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. The remainder will be in place by the end of the year.

WHSmith News, which only has three hours a day to pack and distribute its products, hopes the systems will improve the reliability of its distribution process by bringing together printing and e-mail technology.

WHSmith News upgraded after its existing disparate set of warehouse servers became prone to failure. This meant rising support costs, said Robert Wilson, the firm's infrastructure manager.

"With the Dell cluster, we will be able to remove one server easily if required, or add additional devices to our clusters, without any impact on business," he said.

The systems will also enable remote printing - a key requirement for a firm printing 100 million pages a year, said support services manager Alan Elliston.

"We will be able to print on demand with this system," he said. "Without this infrastructure, we would undoubtedly use more paper and increase our costs."

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