Maplin partitions servers to improve operational view

Maplin has replaced, virtualised and partitioned its servers in a £250,000 IT optimisation programme with datacentre consulting firm Centiq.

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Maplin has replaced, virtualised and partitioned its servers in a £250,000 IT optimisation programme with datacentre consulting firm Centiq.

The seven month programme of replacing hardware and migrating applications was completed in May and is now providing managers with real-time insight into operations and financial reporting.

Maplin said the programme has prevented it from having to make large scale capital investments on infrastructure and software in recent times and over the next few years, even while adding applications.

The electronics store chain replaced its two Unix-based IBM 630 servers and an IBM Fast-t storage array with a cluster of two IBM p550 servers running IBM AIX with a fibre-based storage network. The new setup supports multiple environments, boosting system capability, with operations supported by a failover storage area network, Maplin said.

It has improved its operational reporting and data processing from its stores nationwide, particularly sales data, as it attempts to increase its store count by a hundred shops to 250. It has cut batch processing times for sales and operational reports from 10 to two hours.

It has also sped up data processing so it can obtain faster results from its existing Lawson Financials accounting software.

Mark Smith, head of IT at Maplin Electronics, said: “We needed greater processing capability to provide financial performance reports more rapidly to our management teams. The accounting software’s basic capabilities were fine, but the batch runs were taking up to ten hours. They were overlapping with other IT tasks. Worse, the set-up was also holding back our finance department’s ability to consolidate different group reports.”

He added: “Now we’ve migrated to a new platform, we’re getting more done with essentially the same infrastructure, without having to ‘rip and replace’ a perfectly good system.”

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