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Skullcandy Amps Up Data Center Performance with Pure Storage

Pure Storage, the all-flash enterprise storage array company, today announced that Skullcandy, Inc. (Nasdaq:SKUL), the original performance lifestyle audio brand, has deployed the Pure Storage FlashArray to replace legacy mechanical disk in its production systems and drastically increase performance. Following an extensive evaluation of popular all-flash storage solutions—which included a performance “duel” based on Skullcandy’s own production data—the company selected FlashArray to deliver business-critical data analysis and support production systems that fuel its global operations.

A leading global audio brand that delivers fashionable, high performance action sport and consumer audio accessories to customers in more than 70 countries, Skullcandy has been data-driven since its inception. Launched in 2003, the company relies on real-time analysis from its massive data warehouse, customer databases and data-intensive forecasting and business analytics systems to make complex business decisions. Storing and analyzing data on a legacy disk-based system, however, came at a steep price.

“Spinning disk carries a high management overhead for planned data growth. Unplanned, large and dynamic data additions to production systems means setting up bunk beds in the racks parallel to your spinning disk – it makes handling large, growing volume of datasets a difficult task. Our production systems were grinding to a halt,” said Brent Allen, director of infrastructure, Skullcandy, Inc.

To support its virtualized data center running on VMware ESX, Skullcandy knew it needed to replace its legacy mechanical disk arrays with a flash-based storage system to achieve performance and scalability requirements, and began researching all-flash storage solutions. At a conference, Allen and his team challenged Pure Storage and several all-flash storage vendors to compete in a performance duel using their production data sets. Leveraging several of their larger databases, the Skullcandy team guided each of the vendors through a variety of tests designed to measure their solution’s performance and scalability.

“The goal of the evaluation was to find storage that could meet the performance needs of our expanding productions systems for the next 3 years,” said Allen. “Pure Storage went well beyond the 3-year model, and on into our more radical 5+ year models.”

Skullcandy ultimately selected and deployed the Pure Storage FlashArray, and is now experiencing astonishing performance gains. Average and batch processing latency – which formerly peaked at 5000ms on its spinning disk arrays – is now running at sub-1ms, and FlashArray is achieving data throughput rates well beyond 20 Gbits/sec, which has dramatically improved its business applications and made production bottlenecks a thing of the past.

“FlashArray’s performance is impressive,” said Allen. “We were blown away by its data throughput levels.”

His team is now saving money on power and cooling costs, and has gained back much of the data center rack space previously occupied by its legacy SAN disk arrays. And by consolidating databases that were previously spread across multiple servers and storage volumes onto a single server and FlashArray, Skullcandy has significantly reduced pending database licensing costs with Oracle and Microsoft.

“Maintenance agreements are extremely expensive with other vendors, but Pure Storage keeps adding value,” said Allen. “It’s more than just an insurance policy—Pure gives us what we need, and it’s enjoyable to make that investment.”

Pure Storage delivers the scalability, non-disruptive upgrades and support that make it possible for FlashArray to grow with Skullcandy’s IT operations and data storage needs well into the future. Moreover, FlashArray’s simplicity and native integration with VMware make it possible for anyone in the company’s IT department to manage, eliminating both the need for a dedicated storage administrator and nearly all administrative overhead, and freeing up Allen and his team to focus on higher priorities, like Skullcandy’s corporate initiative to “edit and amplify.” With the improved speed and reliability of FlashArray powering its analytics systems at scale, Skullcandy can now quickly identify and make the products its customers want most available with speed and precision – something it couldn’t achieve when it was running on mechanical disk arrays.

“A few months into Pure’s takeover of our production systems, I realized that the team had stopped talking about storage – our long-standing bottlenecks had shifted to other areas entirely. That’s when I knew beyond a doubt that Pure Storage was the right choice.”

“Like many data-driven enterprises today, Skullcandy had made a smart decision to modernize its data infrastructure with virtualization, but its legacy storage systems were holding it back,” said Matt Kixmoeller, vice president of products at Pure Storage. “With FlashArray powering its databases and virtualized environments, Skullcandy now has instant access to business-critical insights, and is realizing massive performance increases, coupled with greater power and space utilization, scalability and storage management simplicity. With a more than 10x improvement in every dimension, why buy disk?”

To learn more about how Skullcandy’s Pure Storage FlashArray deployment eliminated performance bottlenecks in its virtualized data center for less than the cost of mechanical disk, download the case study for free: http://www.purestorage.com/resources/case-studies/skullcandy.html, or watch Brent Allen discuss why Skullcandy adopted all-flash storage at the 2014 Flash Visionary Summit: http://embed.vidyard.com/share/D_QpsnLL9_tt3qjMjLJzEQ.

About Pure Storage
Pure Storage, the all-flash enterprise storage company, enables the broad deployment of flash in the data center. When compared to traditional disk-centric arrays, Pure Storage all-flash enterprise arrays are 10x faster and 10x more space and power efficient at a price point that is less than performance disk per gigabyte stored. The Pure Storage FlashArray is ideal for high performance workloads, including server virtualization, desktop virtualization (VDI), database (OLTP, real-time analytics), and cloud computing. For more information, visit www.purestorage.com.

Connect with Pure Storage:
Read the blog: http://www.purestorage.com/blog
Converse on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PureStorage
Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/pure-storage

The Pure Storage and "P" logo marks, Purity Operating Environment and RAID-3D are trademarks of Pure Storage, Inc. All other trademarks or names referenced in this document are the property of their respective owners.

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