Cutting-edge clothes and IT

Cutting-edge clothes and IT

Designer Paul Smith future-proofs systems, and finds savings doing so.


Susan fell in love with the dress at first sight.


The metallic gold suede was beautiful and one of a kind. It would look positively luminous on her: a perfect blend of casual and dressy. She blinked at the store website – there was only one left!

Before she even clicked to order, she knew what to do with her hair to complement the new outfit. Her joy, however, was short-lived. The message, “We are unable to complete your order at this time due to site maintenance. Please try again later” was displayed. By the time the site started working again, the last dress was gone.

Susan sighed. There was little she could do but start over. Sound familiar? That’s because her predicament has been felt by online shoppers all over the world, with retailers of all sizes and products.

Getting smart with disaster recovery.

The folks at Paul Smith felt Susan’s pain. They knew creating beautiful clothes was meaningless if customers couldn’t buy and enjoy them. And they did not want IT problems to rip the seams of their relationships with customers.

Paul Smith’s team decided IT had to change. They needed their websites to be available and fully operational to customers and wholesale clients in 45 countries at all times, even when traffic is at peak.

And in the fashion industry, those peaks are frequent and furious. With each new season, new lines cause humongous spikes in web traffic. And holidays weren’t “the most wonderful time of the year,” either.

The website is the heart of their business, so Paul Smith couldn’t afford to make mistakes.

They reached out to Microsoft partner risual, and found a solution – one that would centralize all resources, make running a data center simple, and ensure that designers could focus on their art instead of routine tasks.

Using Microsoft Azure, risual rolled out an infrastructure so simple and responsive that Paul Smith’s IT staff of 15 could handle it with ease. The hybrid cloud with a public one located outside the data center.

Female model

“Building private clouds means that IT staff enable a more responsive, on-demand allocation of pooled IT resources”

- Lee Bingham, Head of IT, Paul Smith

Now, thanks to Hyper-V Recovery Manager, any IT guy with an Internet connection can guide the company through an unexpected catastrophe.

Recovery time of mission-critical apps dropped from 48 hours to 5 minutes.

Info graphic risual

But going to the cloud did more than help disaster recovery. By consolidating its data centers and virtualizing 80% of its servers, Paul Smith discovered massive savings.

They saved $1.4M in costs in the first year alone.

“Hybrid cloud computing lets us tailor our infrastructure to provide more services, more quickly, at less cost,” Bingham said. The cloud servers run 10% faster than the dusty old physical ones, and the company has room for 1,000 more.

“We have future-proofed the data center for the next three years,” Bingham said.

Now it’s all shopping, no crashing.

Susan just posted a selfie wearing her new black silk maxi dress, a cute pair of leather heels and swirl-printed leather chain purse to match. Now that she can shop on the Paul Smith website with confidence; nothing stands in the way of her looking fantastic.

Partner Spotlight

Risual


Risual is a dedicated, UK-based, globally recognized IT Services organization delivering business-aligned consultancy, solutions, and services based solely on the Microsoft platform.


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Paul Smith deployed Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, enabling it to reduce costs and improve network performance while also enhancing its unified communications services to support worker productivity.

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