- Lee Bingham, Head of IT
In business for more than 40 years, Nottingham-based Paul Smith is a preeminent British designer. The company has 14 different collections—produced in England and Italy—under the global Paul Smith brand. In addition to 17 shops in England, Paul Smith retail stores are found in fashion capitals around the world.
Paul Smith opens three new stores a year on average and the demand for IT services from the business is growing. Employees expect IT to work all the time and to have ubiquitous access to information. Demand also changes according to seasonal activities such as spring and fall collections and holiday sales. The company wanted an easier, more affordable way to keep up with fluctuating demand for IT services. So it sought to centralize and simplify administration, as well as improve scalability. The company wanted a better disaster recovery strategy too, and hoped to meet its goals without merely adding more servers.
SolutionWorking with risual, a Microsoft partner with multiple gold-level competencies, Paul Smith began taking advantage of the latest virtualization, cloud computing, and data center management solutions. Today, the company maintains an agile, responsive global IT infrastructure managed by just 15 people.
Paul Smith runs a hybrid-cloud environment based on the Microsoft Azure platform, Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft Hyper-V, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 software, and StorSimple. It also uses Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 management tools. It has virtualized more than 80 percent of its servers, improved data center density by 200 percent, and saved more than £840,000 (US$1.4 million) in IT costs in one year. It also reduced recovery time from 48 hours to 5 minutes for its mission-critical applications. In addition, the company plans to use Microsoft Azure to speed in-house development through self-service capabilities for web developers. Instead of provisioning on-premises environments, IT staff will use Azure and System Center 2012 to provide a self-service portal for cloud-based test and development.
With Windows Server and Hyper-V virtualization technologies, Paul Smith architected an IT infrastructure that aligns better with its business. It’s now embracing the Microsoft hybrid-cloud computing vision to take business to the next level. “[Our] business rests on Microsoft technologies because they deliver great value,” says Lee Bingham, Head of IT at Paul Smith. “There’s no other vendor that could work with us in the same way and deliver the same benefits.”
- Optimizes the infrastructure
- Improves business agility, service predictability
- Reduces costs
- Enhances disaster recovery capabilities
- Automates processes and enables self-serve IT