Guitar Center strikes a chord with OCI and improves performance by over 30%

America’s largest and most diversified music retailer exits a data center by migrating critical ecommerce and order management workloads to OCI.


Not all clouds are built equal, and for our most data-intensive and mission-critical workloads OCI has proven to be optimal. Whereas many cloud providers started by supporting small grassroots development efforts and individual developers, delivering high-performing solutions at scale is in Oracle’s DNA.

Ravi BalwadaChief Technology Officer, Guitar Center

Business challenges

“How many guitars does a guitar player need?” The standard punch line to that old joke is, “Just one more.” But ask a Guitar Center associate, and they will respond, “Yes, buy one more guitar, but also trade in an old guitar, check out this portable amp, and maybe sign up for some lessons.”

Don’t let its name fool you. Guitar Center offers a stunning range of music-related products and services including drums, recording equipment, used instruments, repairs, lessons, and instrument rentals. It is America’s largest music retailer, offering an omnichannel customer experience across brick-and-mortar storefronts and multiple online channels.

Early in 2020, as pandemic-related store closures were underway, supply chain challenges constrained the company’s ability to fulfill demand via store sales. Then, the subsequent surge in consumer spending in 2021 challenged Guitar Center to scale to demand as revenue grew. Technical staff was challenged in provisioning infrastructure and capacity to align with fluctuating demand, when increasing on-premises computing capacity was not an option due to the global chip shortage. Additionally, the company’s omnichannel strategy created myriad additional attack surfaces across potentially thousands of services that come into play on every transaction. And just as the need to improve data quality emerged, the talent pool for database administrators became shallower.

Although infrequent, service interruptions during critical periods were disruptive. These disruptions motivated company leaders to evaluate moving ecommerce workloads to the cloud. A must-have requirement was using data to put inventory closer to the customer in order to expedite order fulfillment and attain a deeper level of personalized engagement. The cloud platform needed high levels of elasticity and self-healing, autonomous capabilities that wouldn’t require an increase in technical staff. And security capabilities needed to be best-in-class to help ensure resiliency against any foreseeable system threats that could disrupt sales.

We improved the efficiency of our systems and will be able to realize a reduction in overall technical support costs, while delivering new services and experiences to our customers.

Ravi BalwadaChief Technology Officer, Guitar Center

Why Guitar Center chose Oracle

Guitar Center advocates a multicloud infrastructure strategy that ensures each workload is optimized for the right cloud. Guitar Center selected Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and Oracle Exadata Database Service on Dedicated Infrastructure to migrate Oracle ATG , Vertex, and IBM Order Management System Sterling 9.5 application workloads and data to cloud.

From a technical perspective, Guitar Center selected OCI because it would allow the company to resiliently operate and scale its most critical core applications.  OCI checked all the boxes associated with resiliency, including elasticity, security, scalability, and risk reduction, in a cost-effective pricing model.

With Oracle Exadata Database Service on Dedicated Infrastructure, Guitar Center would be able to take advantage of state-of-the-art investments Oracle made in database technologies, including advanced capabilities for automated updates and performance monitoring. Together, OCI and Exadata Database Service would enable Guitar Center to experience rapid provisioning, along with data analysis and automated intelligence capabilities, that would drive predictive analytics and personalization.

From a business perspective, partnering with Oracle was deemed to be the best choice to accelerate Guitar Center’s innovation initiatives. Oracle offered an impressive migration infrastructure and related services, along with enterprise-grade support and relationship management. Additionally, Oracle’s deep talent pool allayed concerns about its ability to support current operations, hybrid technology models, and multicloud strategies.

With Oracle Exadata Database Service, Guitar Center would be able to take advantage of the extensive investments Oracle made in database technologies.


After migrating to OCI and Exadata Database Service, Guitar Center did not let its heritage technology get in the way of innovation. The technical team worked with Oracle Cloud Lift Services to migrate ecommerce workloads for Oracle ATG, BI, and IBM OMS to OCI. Consequently, the company experienced 100% system uptime and improved performance by 30%, which provided customers with the optimal shopping experience. Technical staff easily managed elasticity and quickly scaled to anticipated demand.

Overall security improved with Oracle Security, Identity, and Compliance and Oracle Web Application Firewall. With OCI’s security, technical staffers easily managed appropriate access to employees, customers, and third-party providers involved in the myriad services needed to complete each transaction.

Oracle FastConnect ensured fast connectivity between OCI and Guitar Center’s data center. System users saw sub-second response times within the company’s highly distributed network of data centers. The service provided dedicated, private, and high-bandwidth connections that worked together seamlessly in one virtual environment without regard to data center location. This was particularly important because the company’s technology network and architecture constantly change as workloads shift among on-premises and other cloud environments.

OCI made it easy for Guitar Center to migrate activities to the cloud without rewriting applications, and interconnection of systems and services is facilitated by OCI API Gateway. The automated and self-managed capabilities of Oracle Cloud also reduced the burden for technical staff even as they develop more services and experiences to accelerate innovation. Additionally, the company avoided the intangible costs associated with customer support in the aftermath of system downtime.

Published:January 26, 2023

About the customer

Guitar Center’s more than 13,000 associates are dedicated to helping musicians and aspiring musicians succeed in their musical journeys.