Aokang Group is one of China’s biggest and most successful shoe designing and manufacturing enterprises. Since the first pair of shoes manufactured in Wenzhou in 1988, the brand has expanded across China. IT responded to this growth as quickly as possible, but the resulting systems silos lead to issues. The company experienced difficulty in information sharing, ineffective use of computing and storage resources, and increasing system management and maintenance costs. To address these issues, Aokang turned to Hitachi for a cloud storage solution to transform its storage silos to an agile storage platform with better performance and infrastructure reliability.
With more than 20,000 employees, Aokang Group has 3 shoe manufacturing bases and 5 shoe brands. The company has more than 30 provincial branches, 3,000 chain stores and 800 stores across the country. In addition, Aokang has 3 shoe pattern R&D centers in Wenzhou (Zhejiang), Dongguan (Guangdong) and Milan (Italy). It develops thousands of new models each year, leading the fashion shoe industry and keeping ahead of competitors.
In 2013, Aokang was reported “19th Most Valuable Chinese Brand” and valued at RMB 14.785 billion. These stats rank Aokang within the top 28 in the shoe brand industry in China.
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At Aokang Group, IT is involved in all company processes, from business operations management through development and production to service. The company relies on IT to accelerate product research and development and reduce development costs. In terms of corporate management, enterprise resource planning (ERP) is used to build the internal business operations management system, optimize the supply chain, provide the e-commerce platform, and improve the management level. The core sales system provides real-time market sales data, thus providing firsthand information for production, warehousing and decision-making.
Over the years, to accommodate the company’s growth, IT has addressed business unit needs, which resulted in information silos and made it difficult to support collaborative planning and implementation. In addition, its data is scattered among different storage devices from different vendors, including IBM, EMC and HP. Over time, the silos lead to difficulty in information sharing, inefficient use of computing and storage resources, and increasing system management and maintenance costs. Meanwhile, the performance of its core sales system degraded and its query and monthly settlements slowed down, lowering its business customer satisfaction. Improving system performance was a top challenge for Aokang.
Hitachi offered a solution that would allow Aokang to perform professional analysis of peak performance data and identify performance bottlenecks in its business system (see Figure). The solution employs the high-end enterprise-level Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) as the back-end data storage platform. The storage platform provides a total internal bandwidth up to 192GB/sec. According to the Storage Performance Council, VSP is a storage platform with the highest performance in the industry. Based on the 5th-generation of the fiber switch fabric with Hitachi Universal Star Network, the platform can support 8 virtual storage controllers and global cache with a single image, up to 1TB.
With the unique virtualization technology on VSP, the existing IBM® DS5020, EMC CX500 and HP EVA storage products are taken over in a unified way. VSP supports cloud storage for production, allowing for unified storage and management of all data. Additionally, expansion and upgrading can be performed smoothly on the unified storage platform in the future. As all the storage is allocated to servers more flexibly, any server can use any storage. Eliminating the storage silos improves disk utilization and reduces subsequent disk purchase.
The Hitachi solution provides a simplified and unified platform for data center storage. All existing services, database systems and file storage platforms of Aokang in the form of Fibre Channel SAN or NAS connect to the new VSP. In addition, thanks to proprietary Hitachi virtualization technologies, existing storage devices can be integrated into the platform. Therefore, legacy storage devices can be managed via the VSP system in a unified manner, without damaging the internal data structure and normal use of legacy storage.
These capabilities help protect the company’s investment. It allows IT to eliminate lock-in in terms of storage expansion in the future, greatly reducing subsequent capex. The powerful 3-dimensional scalability of VSP can meet requirements for business data storage in the coming decade.
Further benefits of the Hitachi cloud storage solution for Aokang Group include:
With the unique virtualization technology on VSP, the existing IBM DS5020, EMC CX500 and HP EVA storage products are taken over in a unified way. VSP supports cloud storage for production, allowing for unified storage and management of all data.
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