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Potpourri deploys FlashServer HA solutions
06
Apr '13
Winchester Systems Inc., a leading data storage solutions provider, announced the deployment of FlashServer HA solutions at Potpourri Group, Inc. PGI is one of the leading multi-brand direct marketers in the United States, offering a broad array of products including home décor, casual apparel, gifts and accessories through catalogs and the Internet. PGI needed to improve its online and phone-sales transaction performance, especially during the busy winter holiday season -- and reduce operational risk and complexity.

"There were monthly processes... that we would defer during 'season,' because they were just so overhead intensive that it would impact our ability to take orders at the speed we needed," explained Randall Davis, PGI's Vice President of Information technology. To make matters worse, the company was struggling with the complexity and fragility of its clustered Oracle RAC database. "It got to the point where we just didn't want to touch it," said Davis.

The solution: replace the company's two clustered-database servers with a single, purpose-built FlashServer HA system and integrated Solid-State Disk (SSD) storage. FlashServer HA takes an entirely different approach to assuring critical workload uptime. Borrowing from the concept of RAID-1 hardware "mirroring" of data between two disks, FlashServer HA uses special hardware to "mirror" processing between two servers.

Every CPU instruction, memory change or I/O access is reflected across both system boards. If one server fails, the other takes over processing immediately. Application workloads continue running without any perceptible change in performance -- and in-flight transactions complete normally.

"We loaded it up, went through a couple Oracle patch installs, and it was like doing them on a standard server. The simplicity of doing things that needed doing was there," said Davis. "Then we started yanking things: power cords, trays, and disk drives... and it would just keep running. We had users on it, we had jobs running on it, and nothing failed."

Equally important, FlashServer HA integrated SSD storage provided sorely needed database acceleration. And just in time for the holiday season. "This year we never had to defer anything!" said Davis. "We just kept running our normal business the way we run it any other time of the year." Internal users can generate as many reports as they need without impacting customer transactions. "FlashServer HA really has taken a lot of worry off of my back," continued Davis. "Before, I had to sit and monitor the system, and shuffle processes or priorities around. This year I didn't have to do any of that."

Winchester Systems Inc


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