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RamSan Success Stories:
SQL Server-based Microsoft Dynamics AX

“For applications with smaller databases but a heavy load, it’s a life saver!”


PILGRIM A|S is a Danish brand producing fashion jewelry and accessories – including a range of eyewear and watches - for men and women. All products are designed exclusively in Denmark. PILGRIM’s designs continually evolve in step with the latest fashion trends, yet, remains distinct from similar products available on today’s market. PILGRIM differentiates itself with its courage to explore new paths – for example, by combining unique materials and colors in new and unexpected ways. Behind the scenes, PILGRIM’s competitive advantage also lies in its courage to explore new paths – for example, its use of the RamSan solid state disk to eliminate performance bottlenecks for its central IT application.

The Challenge: Finding the source of terrible performance during peak periods
In the Spring of 2006, PILGRIM was facing problems with the IT application at the core of its business – Microsoft Dynamics AX (formerly Microsoft Axapta) in a 3-tiered environment with Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Enterprise. PILGRIM used Dynamics AX for everything from manufacturing and inventory control to accounting and business intelligence. Users began to complain of terrible response times during peak usage periods. The source turned out to be the high number of data intensive updates made to keep the system up to date. The result was widespread performance degradation across the company. “Our existing SAN provided a continuous flow of IOs,” said Anders Schack Petersen of PILGRIM, “but since we perform a lot of data intensive updates, it couldn’t cope, resulting in long response times.”

PILGRIM started investigating the source of the application performance issues. Their configuration was a two-tiered SQL server run by Axapta. Furthermore, they were able to eliminate the network from the investigation after discovering the Fibre Channel SAN had bandwidth to spare. Finally, the culprit was discovered – the storage subsystem, currently an IBM DS4300. While the system was designed to be fast, it was unable to keep up with the intense, random IO of burst periods.

According to Petersen, he first considered expanding the lagging storage subsystem. Fortunately, Petersen was also “closely following the development of online massive multiplayer game EVE-Online.” Its developers, CCP Games, had used a RamSan solid state disk to eliminate performance bottleneck associated with up to 30,000 concurrent users on a SQL Server database. “Their excitement with the RamSan led us to contact them about their experiences, which in turn lead us to try a demo version of the RamSan.”

The Solution: A Texas Memory Systems RamSan Solid State Disk
PILGRIM’s first observation upon receiving their evaluation unit was “The RamSan is amazingly easy to install, much easier than other Fibre Channel storage devices we have tested,” said Petersen. The demonstration unit was quickly integrated into the test environment and immediately the team began to see the potential of the RamSan.

The Result: “The World’s Fastest Storage” delivers unparalleled, cost-effective performance
After some testing of the product in the production environment, PILGRIM was able to conclude that the RamSan could easily handle the bursts of activity caused by their growing business. PILGRIM is able to handle 20 times as many I/O-per second - from 1,200 I/O-per second with its old system to 24,000 I/O-per second with the RamSan-400 at its peak.

More importantly, PILGRIM decided on the RamSan because of the systems performance scalability. “Even considering that we can never use the full potential of the RamSan, the cost per IO was still better than other SAN solutions that we looked at”, said Petersen, “We are excited that as we grow we can expand the system’s capacity and still have plenty of performance headroom.”

PILGRIM decided to start with a 64GB RamSan-400 system with plans to upgrade to a 128GB unit within one or two years. The RamSan system is field upgradeable to higher capacities allowing companies to grow their solution as their database grows. The system was purchased directly from Texas Memory Systems and includes 24x7 telephone support to handle inquiries any time of the year.

When asked what advice they would offer to potential buyers of solid state disk, Petersen said “Don’t be scared. The technology has proven itself superior in many circumstances. You just have to know when to apply it. For applications with smaller databases but heavy load, it’s a life saver”.

About PILGRIM A|S
Following fashion. Challenging fashion.
In the course of only a few years PILGRIM has become one of the world’s fastest growing international fashion jewellery and accessory brands. We believe our success is attributed to our unique style that attracts individuals throughout the world, regardless of country or culture.

PILGRIM designer jewellery continually evolves in step with the latest fashion trends yet has a twist - a small but significant creative detail – that distinguishes itself from other jewellery available on today’s market and incites positive attention.

Contact sales@superssd.com or request a price quote online.

Facts at a Glance



Industry:
Fashion

Applications:
Microsoft Dynamics AX with Microsoft SQL Server 2005

Operating System
Windows 2003

Environment:
HP DL585 Servers,
IBM DS4300 Storage on a Fibre Channel SAN

Challenge:
A lack of burst performance.

Solution:
RamSan-400
400,000 I/O’s per second

Result:
Performance improvement from 1,200 I/O’s per second to 24,000 I/O’s per second

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