CEWE STIFTUNG & Co. Maintains Leadership in European Photograph Printing by Using Online Platform, Reduces Database Latencies 15x
 
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CEWE STIFTUNG & Co. Maintains Leadership in European Photograph Printing by Using Online Platform, Reduces Database Latencies 15x

CEWE STIFTUNG & Co. KGaA, (CEWE), with 13 production facilities in 24 European countries, is a market and technological leader in photography printing services and photofinishing. CEWE is the photo-service partner to first-class retail stores, such as photo retailers, home electronics stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, as well as e-commerce stores, giving the company more than 34,000 retail partners across Europe and North America.

Early on, the organization recognized the significance of digital business, and it has set standards in digital photography printing, offset printing, and photographic gift articles, such as photo books and photo images printed on canvases, calendars, and greeting cards. Customers can also access the company’s online printing services directly, without interacting with a reseller. In 2012, CEWE delivered approximately 2.5 billion prints in addition to 5.6 million CEWE PHOTO BOOKS and photo gift articles. For its new online printing service, advertising printed material is marketed through the company’s sales platforms: CEWE-PRINT.de, saxoprint ,and viaprinto. CEWE celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011.

 
 

 
 

Challenges

A word from CEWE STIFTUNG & Co. KGaA

  • “By upgrading our online printing platform with Oracle’s SPARC T4-4 servers, Sun ZFS Storage Appliances, and Oracle Database, Enterprise Edition 11g, we were able to handle the 2012 Christmas-peak load effortlessly and flawlessly. We ensured 24/7 availability for business-critical online applications and believe that we have the perfect infrastructure for years to come—absolutely reliable, extremely fast, and cost-effective.” – Udo Janßen, Department Head of Operation Online Services, CEWE STIFTUNG & Co. KGaA

  • Manage an almost five-fold increase in printing orders by reducing system response times during the Christmas season, when orders spike for digital photography printed in small lots and on photo gift articles, such as its CEWE PHOTOBOOK,
  • Maintain revenue by ensuring high system availability, reliable operation, and immediate disaster recovery, so that millions of photographic prints and gift articles are shipped from the manufacturing facilities on time each month
  • Simplify the IT architecture around Oracle Database—the data foundation for the company’s online printing services—to reduce system administration, support, and maintenance costs
  • Meet requirements for the anticipated growth normally resulting from established online printing services and future growth areas, such as online photo printing for wall decoration and digital and offset printing for commercial use, with a cost-effective platform that is scalable, on demand

Solutions

  • Replaced four SPARC M-Series servers with two Oracle’s SPARC T4-4 servers, running Solaris 11—deployed in active-standby configuration in geographically dispersed data centers—to deliver top performance and mission-critical reliability for Oracle Database and front-end applications such as CEWE PHOTOBOOK, enabling the company to manage the 2012 Christmas campaign without a single system issue
  • Enabled processing, manufacturing, and shipping millions of online printing orders each month across Europe and North America, on time, as customers engaged services through application service providers, CEWE’s online photo services, or by using one of 10,000 printing terminals distributed in shops
  • Migrated production and test data to Oracle Database, Enterprise Edition 11g—distributed across numerous small, hard disks to favor database performance—ensuring the availability and security of sensitive customer data, such as private photos
  • Consolidated storage systems on network-connected Oracle’s Sun ZFS Storage 7420 Appliances, achieving optimum performance and efficiency with hybrid storage pools, DTrace storage analytics, and advanced storage management that substantially reduced administration overhead and ensured cost-effective storage media scaling
  • Connected SPARC T4-4 servers running Solaris 11 and Sun ZFS Storage Appliances with Oracle Direct NFS and a Sun Datacenter InfiniBand Switch 36 to reduce latencies by a factor of 15—from 30 milliseconds to 2 milliseconds—enabling customers to process online printing orders more expeditiously
  • Used Oracle Active Data Guard—a feature of Oracle Database, Enterprise Edition 11g—to offload resource-intensive activities from the production database to standby databases for optimized disaster recovery, ensuring platform high availability and reliability—even during peak loads
  • Reduced software licensing costs with SPARC T4-4 and Oracle Solaris 11, leveraging virtualization and other functions at zero cost, while enabling performance scalability on demand without increasing the budget due to the need to add random access memory
  • Collaborated with Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services to conduct a rigorous final platform health check prior to production and ensure seamless operation during the 2012 Christmas season

Why Oracle

“We have used Oracle Database for 12 years and are extremely satisfied, which is why we built our platform around it. Oracle's SPARC, Solaris, and Sun ZFS Storage 7420 were pitted against third-party hardware and storage system vendors, but we chose Oracle because of its better price/performance ratio. Second, we chose a single-vendor optimized platform to benefit from common system components across our infrastructure instead of dealing with numerous vendors and needing to commit greater effort to integrating heterogeneous platform components,” said Udo Janßen, department head of operation online services, CEWE STIFTUNG & Co. KGaA.