Environet and GameStop: A Win/Win Partnership

Environet and GameStop: A Win/Win Partnership

GameStop Data Center via Environet DCiM

How does the world's largest video-game retailer stay on top of its game? With more than 6,100 brick-and-mortar stores throughout 18 countries, an international website, (GameStop.com) and a top e-commerce website for games (EBgames.com), GameStop faced a global challenge: How to effectively monitor the multifaceted divisions of its company without compromising security and reliability. To tackle this challenge, GameStop joined forces with Environet from Geist DCIM.

Like most companies today, GameStop supports its multitude of retail stores through regional head offices. Any one of these offices might be responsible for as many as 300 or more retail locations.

Each regional office maintains its own Information Technology (IT) infrastructure to support sales, customer service and communications within its stores. The equipment, facilities and capabilities in each office vary depending on several factors: 

Location. Environmental influences can be major players. An office in Australia will naturally face challenges to keep equipment cool, whereas an office in Ireland might worry about the effects of humidity. In addition, some locations might face greater security concerns than others. 

Workload. Hosting IT services for a multitude of individual branch locations requires the flexibility and scalability to deal with the varied needs of those locations. While one region might add branch locations more quickly than others, another region may have to process more traffic. GameStop classifies its regional offices' IT facilities in three categories based on the level of each facility's IT support: data centers, data closets or data rooms.

Staffing. GameStop's regional offices run lean with minimal personnel, so efficiency is mandatory. The offices aren't open 24/7; issues that might crop up during night or weekend hours, such as power failures, floods or security breaches, can be detrimental to GameStop's operations.

This final factor was the starting point for GameStop's partnership with Geist DCIM. GameStop wanted to implement a centralized monitoring system, based in its global operations center, which is open around the clock. That way, GameStop could head off problems such as water damage, equipment damage or security lapses that might otherwise result from after-hours events such as flooding or power failures at a branch location. As GameStop's senior operations manager, Justin Newcom's challenge was finding a way to support all of the company's locations without disrupting individual office operations or burdening individual offices through additional IT demands.

Finding Global Solutions

GameStop's goal was twofold (1) Give GameStop the ability to monitor and manage its regional facilities by providing granular, robust notification and alarm systems that respond quickly and help prevent problematic events, (2) implement a centralized monitoring system that works with existing equipment.Thumbnail image

"We don't want to impose (on the regional offices)," Newcom explains. "We want to snap in what will help the most, which can be immensely different environmentally. Some offices already have security or cooling set up, so adaptability is important."

Geist DCIM began by helping GameStop implement its Environet monitoring system at the retailer's corporate data center. Using Environet, GameStop's corporate IT can now monitor each region's IT facility temperature, humidity, security, battery backup, and more for complete operational insight. According to Newcom, two factors played into GameStop's decision to select Environet.

"One, we like the interface—the way it shows the datacenter layout, the simple red light/green light methodology," he says. "Two, the solution is very scalable. We have Environet, and we hook in our other facility management systems, which give us information from the remote offices, and now we have a single pane of glass out to the other locations from our main system. We can then expand at our own pace." GameStop is already making plans to install additional Environet systems.

Increasing Efficiency

Newcom plans to use Environet to help the company become even more efficient. Additional measurements such as data center infrastructure efficiency (DCiE) and power usage effectiveness (PUE) will be added so that GameStop can calculate costs from the facility level down to the server-cabinet level. The company can then use these calculations to realistically estimate the cost of projects, such as virtualization.

Newcom is pleased that Environet gives GameStop the ability to show all types of Return on Investment (ROI) and hardware costs. And he appreciates the first-rate customer service. Working with Geist DCIM is "more of a partnership," he states. "They're easy to contact and easy to work with. We run ideas by them, and they respond right away."

As for the Environet solution: "It's a phenomenal product, able to scale quickly and easily, and priced well. When we work with global projects we want to make it as easy as we can."

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