Gameday Merchandising is a consumer products wholesaling company based in Denver, Colorado, USA. Gameday has 400 members of staff supplying sporting goods and memorabilia at 15 stadium locations throughout the United States and Canada. Clients include teams within major sporting leagues, such as: the MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS, and it had previously worked with the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Gameday has over 200 Point Of Sale (PoS) terminals, across 15 different locations. These terminals were connected to a central retail server where inventory and sales data was stored. The server ran a core retail application as well as supporting back end functions, such as order fulfilment and accounting. As such, this central server was essential to all business operations.
Given its central role in the organisation, the stability of the server was a primary concern. Gameday needed a server that could be used by many users simultaneously and remain constantly available at all times. However, Gameday was using an aging physical server for its core business applications: it was only a matter of time before it failed, which would cause serious repercussions across the business. As such, Gameday started to look at alternative solutions to replace the server; Bryan Ramsey, IT Director for Gameday Merchandising, explains:
“The central server was the lifeblood of our organisation, therefore making sure it was continually available and performing to the right levels was imperative. However, it was getting old and unreliable. In addition, as we were growing and adding more PoS terminals our need for server capacity was continuing to increase. We therefore decided against a new physical server replacement and opted for the cloud, as it would give us greater flexibility as we grew.”
When selecting a cloud provider, one of Gameday’s key requirements was to ensure its retail application experienced the same levels of performance as it had previously. Key to this was to find a provider that could offer SSD as part of their cloud infrastructure, to ensure that the retail applications could read data from its large databases very quickly. Yet after reviewing the options in the market, Gameday realised that only a few providers offered SSD, and those that did had very high thresholds for the size of servers that you had to buy to be able to select SSD. Ramsay comments:
“We looked at several cloud providers, but none offered the performance benefits of hosting on SSD, as well as the flexible pricing that we wanted. As a growing business, we didn’t want to be limited by a box that we have on site, but equally we didn’t want to be paying for capacity that we weren’t using. After we spoke to Elastichosts we realised that we could achieve the best of both worlds: we are now able to provision multiple cloud servers to take the load off our PoS terminals, without worrying about being locked into rigid contracts. Elastichosts’ flexible pricing model is very attractive to us, as we only pay for the server capacity that we use and can scale up and down as needed. For us they are the perfect fit.”
Gameday started migrating applications and data from its retail server over to Elastichosts in February 2013. Once it had migrated everything to the cloud server it then reconfigured the different permissions for users it had in place previously. Today, the company operates five cloud servers on Elastichosts’ cloud, instead of relying on one physical in-house server, as it had previously. This provides Gameday with extra redundancy, meaning if IT needs to work on one of those servers for any reason, this doesn’t affect business operations.
By using SSD cloud servers from Elastichosts, Gameday has also been able to combine all the performance benefits of using SSD with the added redundancy of multiple servers; ensuring there is additional capacity during increased periods of demand. Elastichosts has allowed Gameday to simplify the running of its IT and remain flexible so that it can process more transactions in future. Elastichosts’ transparent pricing model means that Gameday has a clear view of its IT costs, and the improvements in stability means the company can avoid the financial impact of downtime. Ramsey concludes:
“Elastichosts has given us peace of mind that, as the company expands; the infrastructure will be ready to cope with whatever we throw at it. We are looking to update our software in future and have also been looking at building a possible hybrid cloud model, and working with Elastichosts means that this is now possible.