Eyes-Road, the leading e-commerce platform for the optical industry in France, offers an electronic data interchange (EDI) platform to its subscribers. It wanted to improve platform reliability and avoid downtime by using Microsoft cloud services
to create a secure, private data center. The solution uses the Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter and Hyper-V technology to deliver 99.977 percent availability, ensuring no loss of turnover or subscriptions.
The Eyes-Road European Economic Interest Group offers its 60 subscribers in the optical and eye care industry an EDI platform. The platform can recover, translate, and send a variety of electronic messages, such as orders, delivery slips, and invoices, as
well as product catalogues. Members include glass manufacturers, spectacles makers, software publishers, contact lens laboratories, and distributors of optical products.
Eyes-Road is a leading firm in this market. Around 95 percent of subscribers to the Eyes-Road EDI platform account for 80 percent of the optical glass manufacturing business and allied operations. Philippe Cellier, Managing Director, Eyes-Road, says: “Three
quarters of the known software editors in the optical industry in France subscribe to the Eyes-Road platform, which allows it to cover 6,000 points of sale across the 11,000 optician shops in France.”
The Eyes-Road business model relies on variable subscriptions, depending on turnover, from €4,000 to €16,000. The price of the service depends on the volume of transactions made by the subscriber. Any interruption in service could cause members to cancel
their service level agreements and result in a direct loss of turnover for Eyes-Road.
Eyes-Road wanted to improve the agility and reliability of its platform without having to invest upfront in physical servers. It needed to enhance customer service by guaranteeing service availability 24-hours a day, seven days a week, so there could be
no downtime to interfere with subscriber order processing systems. Cellier says: “We wanted to use cloud computing to scale up easily to meet peak demand for order processing at certain times of day—between 12:00 and 18:00 on Wednesdays and Saturdays and around
21:00 in the evenings.”
Microsoft Partner Net-Streams built a data center solution for the EDI aggregation platform, incorporating Microsoft cloud services within a clustered architecture. The solution uses seven Dell servers with Intel Core processors together with the Windows
Server 2008 R2 Datacenter operating system, the Microsoft System Center suite for easier manageability, and Hyper-V virtualization software. Impreva provides the database and access security software.
Each server hosts around 10 virtual machines, three of which are dedicated to production applications supporting the EDI platform. The other servers handle test environments and monitoring functions. The platform has around 300 gigabytes of random access
The platform’s management and monitoring functions include:
Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 for managing all the virtual machines, including the virtualized appliances.
Microsoft System Center Opalis to drive down the cost of data center operations by defining and executing processing operations. Eyes-Road plans to upgrade this technology to Microsoft System Center Orchestrator 2012.
Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2 to permanently monitor the efficiency status of servers and service provisioning to customers.
Eyes-Road has improved customer service and reduced operational risk by ensuring its EDI aggregation platform offers 99.977 percent availability around the clock. It is now future-proofed against any major interruption in service, even during periods of
peak demand. By operating in the cloud the platform can quickly respond to a subscriber wanting new processing protocols instead of keeping the subscriber waiting for several weeks while a physical server is set up.
Risk of unplanned downtime is reduced. Eyes-Road is no longer vulnerable to loss of service to its customers. Cellier says: “Previously, a major interruption in service at critical order processing periods could cause a loss of up to 30
percent of subscribers and reduce turnover by the same level.”
Cloud solution cuts integration time for new customers. With the previous physical servers, it could take several weeks to satisfy a customer who wanted a new flow processing protocol to guarantee its operational
exchanges and product collections. “Using Hyper-V and Microsoft cloud services, setting up new workflow processes for customers now takes no longer than five working days instead of up to a month,” says Cellier.
Dynamic data center in the cloud enhances security. With cloud services from Microsoft, the Eyes-Road EDI platform has a level of availability and security that is appropriate to its business, with greater
protection against viruses and malware threats.
Pay-as-you-go financial model avoids need for upfront investment. Eyes-Road has tackled its major operational risk—ensuring no unplanned downtime—without needing to use capital resources to provision new physical servers. Each of its seven
servers hosts 10 virtual machines, giving the business greater agility and high availability.
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