W.B. Mason is the largest privately owned office products dealer in the United States. The company prides itself on delivering outstanding customer service and value. Every customer has an assigned sales person, an assigned customer service rep and even an assigned driver who personally delivers all product orders. W.B Mason runs its IT infrastructure using Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Dynamics AX enterprise resource planning (ERP). All of W.B Mason’s core business functions are managed using SQL Server and Dynamics. This includes inventory, supply chain, shipping, invoicing, financial reporting, so any disruption in services has a critical impact on the business.
Answering the Need for Continued Growth and Availability
In the good-problem-to-have category, W.B Mason was experiencing 10% to 12% growth each year, and its existing blade infrastructure was struggling to keep up. The company was purchasing new servers nearly every year, and each new server required a labor-intensive migration process. Even with these on-going upgrades, W.B. Mason’s servers were consistently running at a 95% CPU utilization rate.
The business needed increased performance and scalability, as well as better high availability. To provide the performance it needed, W.B. Mason chose the HPE Superdome X as the core platform for SQL Server and Dynamics AX. The Superdome X is loaded with four Superdome BL920s Gen9 server blades configured as two nPar hardware partitions. Each nPar is complete electrically isolated, functioning as totally separate servers.
For increased availability, the company configured the two nPars as SQL Server cluster nodes. W.B. Mason also deployed HPE 3PAR StoreServ Storage with all-flash drives to further enhance performance. HPE 3PAR storage provides six-nines of availability.
W.B. Mason also enlisted HPE Proactive Care Advanced Service to help protect its infrastructure investment. HPE Proactive Care Advanced Service provides W.B. Mason with an HPE Account Support Manager (ASM) for personalized technical and operational advice to help prevent problems and ensure that any issues that do crop up are resolved quickly.
HPE Superdome X Solves the Scalability Issue
Mike Hewins, Database Administrator for W.B. Mason, noted that the company is very pleased with the results of the upgrade. “Every weekend there’s a scheduled process that recalculates our inventory,” he said. “Before, that process took 24 to 36 hours. Now, it’s finishing in under eight hours. That’s a three to four times improvement that has a huge impact on order fulfillment.”
When asked about how the upgrade will perform given W.B. Mason’s projected growth, Hewins said, “With the Superdome X configuration we currently have, we could easily double the size of our business. If we start to hit a wall, all we have to do is add a couple more server blades to the chassis, and we can double again. There’s no need to go through a major platform migration every time we grow.”
You can learn more about W.B. Mason’s HPE Superdome X modernization project at W.B. Mason transforms its SQL Server-driven business with HPE Superdome X.
HPE and Microsoft are the underwriters of this article.