Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise, the San Diego Padres, has selected FlashStack, a joint solution from Cisco and Pure Storage, to run all their mission-critical operations and improve overall baseball fan engagement.

With FlashStack, the Padres 70-plus person sales team – one of the largest in the MLB – has uninterrupted access to critical customer data, which would provide the sales team with a complete, 360-view of each fan in and out of the ballpark and enable a more unique, personalized fan experience.

“FlashStack has transformed the way we engage with our fans by transforming the industry standard for storage,” said Ray Chan, Vice President of Information Technology for The San Diego Padres. “Fan usage of technology increases annually, and the demand for engagement and connectivity has skyrocketed in parallel. Our fans crave constant connectivity, not just at Petco Park, but online, via social media, and through interactive experiences like video and virtual reality. Pure enables previously unachievable levels of productivity across the organization’s most critical operations, which directly benefits fans and staff alike.”

Cisco Systems UCS servers

pure storage san diego padresThe Padres organization has used Cisco Systems UCS servers, which are 99 percent virtualized using VMware vSphere, since 2012. With the decision to use a Pure Storage flash array, it was logical to implement a FlashStack converged-infrastructure (CI) configuration, which is built upon Cisco servers, Cisco data center switches and Pure Storage arrays.

“When I first got here, we had a lot of different servers, and it was very difficult to manage,” added Mr. Chan. “To be able to innovate in IT requires time. Managing systems and doing break-fix, we were never going to have that time. But with UCS, we have a proven, stable platform. And the tight integration among UCS, Pure Storage arrays, VMware and other software through Cisco Validated Designs for FlashStack is a real benefit because they simplify planning, deployment and day-to-day management, which ultimately allows us to deploy IT resources to innovate.”

The Padres will also leverage the Evergreen Storage program from Pure Storage, which enables storage that is deployed once and upgraded as needed, for a decade or more. Components can be “routinely upgraded – while the system remains online, and without performance disruption – to keep storage dense, efficient and modern.”

“The density of Cisco UCS and Pure Storage reduced our footprint from multiple racks to one array, which houses our entire environment without breaking a sweat,” added Chan. “Evergreen Storage will allow us to continue to benefit from increasingly dense, all-flash technology and continually reduce total cost of ownership year-over-year.”

Microsoft Dynamics, SQL Server

Behind the scenes, IT would be a vital element of a positive experience for fans, and in helping the club succeed. A main priority for the back office is to create demand for tickets, particularly season tickets. The lifeblood of the Padres’ IT infrastructure is its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, based on Microsoft Dynamics and SQL Server.

“Our IT staff essentially serves as a solutions provider to all the different business units within the franchise – baseball operations, sales, and all the non-baseball events that take place at Petco Park,” added Mr. Chan. “Our legacy storage environment simply couldn’t keep up with the technological advances modern professional baseball demands. With FlashStack, we’re able to handle multiple workloads concurrently without performance degradation – which has frankly been a game-changer for the organization.”

Since deploying FlashStack, storage is no longer the bottleneck as different parts of the organization attempt to access the same CRM. The team’s business intelligence unit is now able to perform a broader range of increasingly complex analysis and leverage “cutting-edge” analytics tools such as Tableau. FlashStack would also enable better access to critical player data for remote staff, such as scouts on the road, across the globe.

“With our legacy storage system, we regularly saw latencies of between 10 and 40 milliseconds,” added Chan. “With Pure Storage, latencies are consistently sub-millisecond.”