POWER > Case Studies > Retail

Rugged and Flexible

Michael Karasienski
Michael Karasienski, Carhartt’s IBM i supervisor-Photo by Brian Kelly

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Customer: Carhartt
Headquarters: Dearborn, Michigan
Business: Designer, manufacturer, retailer and distributor of workwear apparel
Challenge: Preparing for the future using a maxed-out server and inefficient storage
Solution: Partnering with Mainline Information Systems to consolidate its backup, development and testing servers, and upgrade its production system— without breaking the bank
Hardware: Two IBM POWER8 servers, an IBM Storwize V7000 and Storwize V9000
Software: Several SAP applications, Manhattan Associates WMi, IBM WebSphere Application Server and IBM WebSphere Commerce

Your systems are maxed out, storage is reaching capacity and the future looms, with all of the new, helpful, gee-whiz technologies that come with it. The obvious fix? Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade. But when reviewing the raw numbers involved, it can cause gasps and groans, as in, “How are we going to pay for this?” or “This is going to crater our budget.”

In truth, however, upgrading can actually be cost beneficial. You’re getting not only improved server processor performance and increased storage capacity, but also plenty of room for growth. This is particularly true if you can consolidate workloads on multiple systems to fewer physical boxes, thereby reducing server overhead, including administration and maintenance, data-center floor space and energy consumption.

That’s what Carhartt did when it took a measured two-pronged approach to addressing both its development and production environments. In the former case, it consolidated five IBM POWER5* and POWER7* servers onto a single POWER8* system and decreased the number of internal disks to a single external array. The savings are estimated to be around $400,000 over the course of three years.

The cost benefits regarding Carhartt’s production have been even more substantial. By moving from an out-of-capacity POWER7 server to a POWER8 server and switching to an external all-flash storage device, the company projects it will save even more money.

As Michael Karasienski, Carhartt’s IBM i supervisor, explains, “We were able to get more compute, storage, performance, etc., for less than we were previously paying, as well as accommodate for growth and additional project capacity. We internally calculated our financial savings for this project over the next 48 months will save us roughly $1.1 million.”

Future Growth

Some 130 years ago, Hamilton Carhartt decided it was time to give railroad workers, ranch hands, soldiers and others clothing that could keep up with their dirty and demanding jobs. With five employees, two sewing machines and the belief that his customers should get “honest value for an honest dollar,” he delivered just that, with a rugged and affordable line of coveralls, denims and uniforms.

Fast-forward to 2017, and it’s clear that Hamilton Carhartt’s vision was a long-term one. Today, his namesake company counts on those hardworking folks, including men, women and children, as part of its growing consumer base, in addition to the fashion trendy. As Carhartt continues to manufacture durable, purpose-built workwear products, its footprint has also grown to include hardworking consumers from around the globe.

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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