Photo Firm Enhances Customer Service and Clips Costs Through Server Virtualization: Bergen County Camera

Business Needs

Bergen County Camera is the area’s largest service-oriented Photo Specialty store, which carries an assortment of photographic equipment, provides a range of digital imaging services, and also features a Fine Art Photographic Gallery. The business’s success has been driven by its ability to educate customers about the latest imaging technologies, and to provide them with the best possible experience before, during, and after the sale. Bergen’s ultimate goal is to be a one-stop imaging solution.

With nearly 30,000 customers and only 23 employees, it was critical for this growing company to have the most reliable and efficient system in place to allow employees to focus their time on advancing the business and addressing customer needs. Its previous network environment consisted of four core servers, including a domain controller running Windows Server® 2003 to support POS operations, run Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), Domain Name System (DNS), Volume Shadow Services file shares, and more. It also included various hardware, with internal computer users all running Windows® XP Professional SP2, and laptop users for remote access running Windows® XP Professional SP2 and Windows Vista® SP1. Finally, there was a legacy ADDS Terminal for POS data entry in a Raining Data D3 database.

Unfortunately, Bergen County Camera’s aging infrastructure left the organization at risk for system failures and data loss. Although the impact on overall sales and revenue was still minimal, required system maintenance was taking a toll on employee productivity and the prospect of impending downtime drew staff attention away from their service-oriented focus. The company was also employing servers that were not fully utilized, but required the same management as integral systems. For Bergen County Camera, considering which solution to choose was the easy part: a Windows-based business since migrating from its UNIX-based system ten years ago, it was ready to explore the latest Microsoft® server products and turned to eMazzanti Technologies for the design and deployment of the solution.

Solution

Microsoft Gold Certified Partner eMazzanti Technologies helped them to evaluate the cost of upgrading from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008 with the help of the Microsoft Software Assurance program. After researching its existing network and system issues, Bergen County Camera decided to upgrade to the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2008 for the additional RAM capabilities, and to take advantage of server virtualization. A number of factors were considered, such as interoperability capability, which was vital for integrating with Bergen’s existing POS system. Other factors were considered, including server and employee performance, cost of software, cost of hardware, and the availability of IT skills to enable a successful deployment. Fortunately, lower hardware costs have enabled building a high-performance computer for under $5,000. Together, eMazzanti Technologies and Bergen County Camera rapidly implemented a single deployment with a manually built server, using an Intel-based processor and Hewlett-Packard (HP) hardware.

Besides providing a more reliable server environment, Windows Server 2008 would also support the Raining Data D3 database POS system, to function as the primary domain controller and support services such as DNS, file and printing, Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS), and network core technologies.

Benefits

For Bergen County Camera, the successful test implementation of Windows Server 2008 was only the beginning of the benefits. Overall improved developer productivity, along with the faster return on investment (in this case, 6–9 months), are both valuable outcomes of the business solution. “We expect to achieve productivity gains of approximately 5–10%, such as in time savings from using server virtualization,” says John Tworsky, General Manager and CTO of Bergen County Camera.

The upgrade vastly improved application deployment time and server maintenance needs. Specific benefits include:

* Reduced application deployment time 50%
* Decreased amount of time spent managing servers 2–3 hours per week
* Reduced application deployment time by 1–2 months
* Improved manageability of servers has saved at least 2 hours per week
* Increased server performance by a projected 30%
* Lowered total cost of ownership
* Enhanced security and control of remote users
* Improved end user productivity: less time spent managing computers means more time earning money and assisting customers

Bergen plans to use the new server power to help process sales data and more efficiently develop customer analytic models to their competitive advantage. The employees can return to devoting time to customer satisfaction and generating revenue. Bergen also looks forward to more potential resource savings through the server virtualization capabilities.

Windows Server 2008

Windows Server 2008, with built-in Web and virtualization technologies, enables you to increase the reliability and flexibility of your server infrastructure. New virtualization tools, Web resources, and security enhancements help you save time, reduce costs, and provide a platform for a dynamic and optimized datacenter. Powerful new tools like IIS 7.0, Server Manager, and Windows® PowerShell, allow you to have more control over your servers and streamline Web, configuration, and management tasks. Advanced security and reliability enhancements like Network Access Protection and the Read-Only Domain Controller option for Active Directory Domain Services harden the operating system and help protect your server environment to ensure you have a solid foundation on which to build your business.

For more information, go to:
www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008

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