Staples adopts SSDs in tiered storage revamp

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Staples adopts SSDs in tiered storage revamp

In broader attempt to reinvent as a digital enterprise.

Office supply chain Staples Australia has moved almost half of its storage capacity to solid state infrastructure.

The move is part of a $3 million storage overhaul that will also see it refresh existing EMC arrays and engage a cloud supplier. This three-tiered approach to storage is expected to slash costs and help the business respond to change more quickly.

Staples had previously stored all of its business information on EMC hardware arrays that were ageing and rapidly reaching capacity. It has now moved day to day business applications such as messaging and collaboration tools, which account for about 40 per cent of its workload, to solid state drives supplied by Nimble Storage.

“Our biggest problem in the past has been that average floor costs were quite high, no matter how we sliced it and diced it,” Staples infrastructure and operations manager Fedele Galluzzo said.

“We wanted a more granular approach. Where our cost base was about $20 per gigabyte we can now service tier two storage workloads for a little over $1 per GB without reducing performance.”

Work is now underway to replace its EMC VMAX arrays with more modern VNX unified storage. This will be used for tier one or “mission critical” applications including enterprise resource planning, supply chain and financial systems. This is due to be completed by midyear. 

At the same time, Galluzzo is assessing cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, Rackspace and Telstra for a third storage tier to be used as required for transient workloads like development. He also expects to make a decision on the automation layer within the next month. 

“The current architecture didn’t lend itself to being innovative and taking advantage of the way technology has progressed over the years,” Galluzzo said.

“We’re trying to take advantage of where the technology is today and future-proof the business for the next three years because these are fairly significant investments. I’m hoping this gives us the ability to move in any direction.”

The storage overhaul is part of broader attempts to reinvent Staples as a digital enterprise in response to the ongoing decline of its traditional office supplies business. Other technology projects designed to help it make this shift include a major focus on business intelligence, a global review of collaboration platforms and modernisation of its e-commerce operations. 

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