MD is one of the most dynamic players in Italian retail, a business that runs fast, always on, geographically distributed and among the Italian pioneers also in e-commerce, with a portal dedicated to non-food. One of the challenges it faces every day is to ensure its services and continuous product distribution with highly innovative technological solutions.
Founded in 1994 by entrepreneur Patrizio Podini, it has a history that truly depicts Italian beauty and courage and today represents the third largest discount store network in Italy.
Distributed throughout the country, including the islands, it has reached even the most difficult territories in terms of networking and logistics with its outlets.
Since its inception, it has developed its distribution network in two macro areas, northern and southern Italy, initially growing very rapidly in the south, and following the 2013 acquisition of LD Market, in the north as well.
In this increasingly business growth-oriented environment, the need to ensure seamless
a connection between the market and logistics, because the continuous processing of data streams represents
increasingly a key element in the control and operability of different facilities.
MD wants to use technology to improve and enhance its efficiency and thus play a social role in a supply chain that ideally unites producers, suppliers and customers throughout Italy.
To pursue its growth goals, MD needed to revamp its core systems, ensuring full operability of facilities without incurring downtime in the relationship between locations and logistics. The widespread presence in hard-to-reach territories due to the Digital Divide was a huge obstacle to overcome, with the challenge of simultaneously optimizing the connectivity and efficiency of the MD network in Italy.
In order to continue to ensure the development of its network MD needed to implement evolved architectures capable of supporting the capillary needs of the entire sales network in “as a Service” mode, with a focus on scalability, geographical resilience of the network. Crucial then is the ability to ensure Business Continuity even in the event of a disaster or network node default.
Not the least of which is the need to allow for expansion over time, in line with the supermarket chain’s growth goals.
Launch of Managed Services for IT infrastructure management following the merger and incorporation of the Lombardini Discount (LD) chain-which will double the number of stores in the territory. A process that left the client’s resources free to take care of the point-of-sale integration with the transfer of data from LD’s Mersy ERP to the Linfa system in MD.
Migration of the operating environment to the Rome Data Center with retention of the Gricignano facilities as the second Plant.
Expansion of IT infrastructure and startup of Business Intelligence project to govern active outlets throughout the country.
Networking development of CeDi to connect with more peripheral branches (e.g., Macomer- NU) with the start of the experience, still active today, on Emisfera wired antennas
Launch of the first SAP project on IaaS delivered in Deda Cloud Data Centers.
Expansion of infrastructure Cyber Security services and launch of active monitoring services.
Cedi network upgrading of Bitonto, Dittaino, Santa Giusta and Verdellino.
The networking of the CeDi in Gricignano (the main one) is adjusted.
Start new IAAS services to go to storage needs (file servers) or for specific projects (Hadoop).
Started Business and Consumer WiFi connectivity on the first 30 stores in the network (expanded to an additional 80 in 2020) and put the linux systems update service (sms4prm) into full operation.
New upgrades on CeDi and activation of SAP Hana services in IaaS.
Complete and transparent switch of all MD IT from a predominantly on-premises logic to an entirely as a Service and Multicloud model.
Revamping the core systems of a large-scale retailer and, more broadly, of any company, is a challenge that requires courage, speed, skills and a unique ability to innovate, not only for the customer. The partner with whom one tackles digital transformation must be able to look to the future and help the client achieve important business goals, without remaining anchored in technology integration alone. To address the need for new and substantial upgrades to its infrastructure infrastructure, Deda Cloud evaluated the feasibility for MD to deploy its entire IT ecosystem in Multicloud to take advantage of all the benefits this type of model offers.
This was an ambitious and complex project that required significant joint effort, but it could rely on the historic relationship with the client in its now 30-year growth process.
The proposed development model had the objectives of:
– Enhance the enhancement of production data
– Ensuring safety and speed at the highest level
– Increase the efficiency of costs and processes
– Convert investments from CAPEX to OPEX
– Optimize daily workload automation operations
– Allow access to new developments that are easily scalable and customizable
– Ensuring that the customer has full freedom in future development technology choices
A strategic and value solution even before technology that initiated the transformation of services
MD’s IT infrastructure from on-premises to as a Service, making a monolithic infrastructure dynamic toward a cohesive, scalable set of services that are always up-to-date in terms of security and contingency management. The project ensures resilience and uptime in case of network link failure, security from cyber attacks, and fast restart even in case of natural disasters.
A paradigm shift desired by MD to ensure that its customers always receive impeccable service that is capable of evolving rapidly, but also necessary in order to be able to
adapt to innovative scenarios and technologies and prepare for new business models fueled by digital transformation.
The solution proposed by Deda Cloud involved analyzing the existing infrastructure, identifying the most suitable type of Cloud to be implemented by the customer based on the business criticality and lifecycle of the existing infrastructure. Once an initial analysis phase was completed, Deda Cloud also planned the deployment of the security and networking infrastructure, as well as MD’s access network executable from two TIER IV data centers located in Rome and in the province of Bergamo to ensure and protect the customer’s business continuity.
The breakdown of the project to enable the transition from managed Housing to Deda’s private Cloud solution (Cloud@Home) included two separate phases, named Tick Tock, which allowed for optimal administration of operations, completing the handover within eight months.
Specifically, the two phases included:
1. TICK: The new systems were being implemented in the Rome datacenter, setting up and testing the new configurations to proceed with the gradual migration of the environments, ensuring compatibility, reliability and performance. In-place migration was initially done virtually, thanks to RecoverPoint technology.
The client had initially assumed that the machines would be moved with a weekend operational downtime, but thanks to the team’s expertise and organization, it was possible to cut down the timeline, Making the first operational and network switch within a thirty-minute time frame on a Saturday night, ensuring that stores reopen on Sundays and scheduling maintenance windows that are compatible for a company that works around the clock.
In this phase-continued over multiple weekends-redraft of all architectures and facilities took place, reengineering all core applications and workloads to ensure scalability
2. TOCK: phase leading to the conclusion of the project by geographically distributing the networking systems, firewall and MPLS on the two data centers and connecting them via extended geographic network. This last point is made possible through the activation of SDWan, which simplifies Wide Area Network operations by bringing cloud-supported enterprises to manage data flows differentially.
The key elements in ensuring the outcome were collective coordination and the overall ability to balance a deep design organization with a fast and synergistic implementation phase. In fact, for this project alone, six different project managers were involved, each of them specializing in a specific area and able to contribute to the realization of a customized, excellence-oriented solution.
At the end of the project, the MD infrastructure is now more resilient, secure, lightweight and distributed. This is thanks to modern governance that looks to the future, intelligently selecting and using the best technologies to design IT that responds to the major challenges that characterize an increasingly complex environment.
The skills deployed held up to the difficulties of the challenge accepted by Deda Cloud, which committed itself in order to co-design together with MD the new architecture, putting in place design, management, and migration skills, while maintaining a proper focus on costs.
Shift to a fee logic therefore more flexibility.
radically MD, without interfering with the client’s business development plan and ensuring that it is fully operational. All made even more complex by the obstacles brought by the pandemic crisis that slowed down the initial phase of the project.
– Value of deda cloud not only as an IT provider but as a driver of technological innovation in MD.
– Project also continues to evolve by looking at Deda Group’s new skills such as AI
The success of the project confirms Deda Cloud’s role alongside MD as a driver of enterprise technology innovation and has laid the groundwork already for its future developments that look at AI and process automation with strong interest already in the coming months.
With Deda Cloud MD has invested in VMware’s SD-WAN Velocloud technology, a technology enabler that provides secure and resilient connectivity ensuring business continuity and making MD an even more competitive player in the market.
To best tell the story of this project, we have produced an in-depth ad-hoc