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A Fine Fit


Once upon a time, when I was several years younger and how-many pounds lighter, I had a 32-inch waist. Oh, the days when I could easily fit into off-the-shelf jeans and find belts that left several notches for my impending--and nearly inevitable--growth. Those same belts are now at their last hole and, alas, I've been looking for new ones.

I'm not alone in this, of course. Many companies are experiencing similar growing pains. Increasing their profits, yes, but also straining the fabric of their IT infrastructures. Like me, they may be considering the purchase of new equipment to compensate for their ballooning growth. Unfortunately, many of them, especially those using PC servers, simply add to their IT environments by throwing additional servers at the problem.

With constant care and feeding--and around-the-clock weeding--it's possible to cultivate a server farm... but at what cost? Constant monitoring, late-night emergency calls, finicky system performance, customer complaints, sluggish response times, difficult backups, complex networking and so on. One has to wonder if it's worth all the effort.

Well, for companies such as Fossil Partners--makers, distributors and retailers of the trendy Fossil- and otherwise-branded watches, belts, handbags and other fashion accessories--it's indeed not worth the effort. As the company continues to expand, it has decided to scrap much of its former IT infrastructure in favor of an entirely new one. As a result, it now has a well-fitted software and hardware solution--in the form of the SAP ERP application running on IBM eServer pSeries* servers.

An Open Umbrella

Many know the Richardson, Texas-based company for its line of Fossil watches, but it has since expanded its product offerings to include belts, purses, eyewear, wallets and clothing such as jeans, T-shirts and caps, all of which are branded under not only its own name, but also those of Armani, Diesel and DKNY. With around 14 subsidiaries located across the globe, it has a presence in more than 95 countries, including China where much of its manufacturing takes place. In addition to partnering with department stores such as Dillard's, Macy's and JC Penney, it also has around 100 retail locations worldwide and active business-to-commerce and business-to-business sites.

Currently supporting Fossil's North American operations, as well as some limited overseas operations, are one pSeries 690 and four p670s, three of which are located at the company's data center in Richardson. Two of the p670s are currently running SAP R/3, Fossil's business information warehousing (BIW) system and an advanced planning and optimization (APO) system. A third p670 is used for development, testing and training, and the fourth, located at the company's distribution center about eight miles from the data center, acts as a backup for the SAP production environment. The p690 is slated to handle Fossil's European operations and its human-resources application. Other Fossil sites are currently running on a variety of systems, including IBM's AS/400 system and Wintel-based machines. Additionally, it's using a 7 TB IBM TotalStorage* Enterprise Storage Server* (ESS) Model 800 for data storage.

"We felt that the rapport between IBM and SAP would ensure that there were few conflicts between the two." -Ed Jurica, CIO, Fossil

Jim Utsler, IBM Systems Magazine senior writer, has been covering the technology field for more than a decade. Jim can be reached at jjutsler@provide.net.


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