While there are a lot of jokes that can be made about a company that focuses on selling mattresses and bedding, Slumberland -- with 118 stores in 10 states -- clearly isn't doing any snoozing. Based in Little Canada, Minn., the company bills itself as a specialty retail furniture seller and one of the top 10 bedding retailers in the U.S. With its stores spread across the upper Midwest, Slumberland has to deal with a lot of data, and it has to handle it quickly.
"What we've done is migrate the vast amount of our storage from proprietary dedicated SANs and DAS to two Compellent SANs," says Seth Mitchell, the Infrastructure Team manager for Slumberland. "One is a larger primary with a lot of redundancy. A smaller secondary SAN is for replication and the secondary corporate office."
The company needed to move to a new virtualized storage model for a variety of reasons, Mitchell says. Those reasons included performance as well as simplicity of management and storage efficiency. "The number one reason was that we were not able to manage the proliferation of storage before," he says. "We run a very lean operation. We have about 75 servers and about 50 TB of storage."
The company's existing storage systems and the lean operation were causing problems. "We had a legacy EMC Clarion and some HP SAN components," he says. "We had a lot of DAS, some external and some internal. We had a lot of little silos and were running from one to the next dealing with the problems of dedicated systems. We were having problems allocating storage, and making adjustments. We would find out we were wrong and have to expand the storage and that wasn't always possible."
Of course, there was more to the move than just realizing that it was needed. First, Mitchell had to show that his plan would work, and that it would be cost effective. This meant dealing with the storage issues in the content of other business IT needs. "We needed to do a core retail business upgrade and we needed to do an expansion of our Exchange deployment. We actually ended up using the Exchange as a proof of concept," he says. "We actually coordinated with the server migration. We brought the new servers up on the Compellent SAN and migrated data from the EMC and HP SANs. We proved it would work with Exchange and showed the extra features to get the go ahead."