Pret A Manger is a household name. The company prides itself on its commitment to handmade, natural food. Over the last 30 years the business has grown to around 450 shops worldwide, with outlets in the UK, USA, France, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Dubai. The business serves more than 300,000 customers every day.
As a global business Pret A Manger faces many of the challenges that creative, international organisations experience. Operating in a seamless manner across offices as far reaching as London, New York and Hong Kong is essential to Pret and business functions such as marketing will frequently co-create campaigns and share assets. But Pret found that when a dispersed team was trying to collaborate on huge Adobe creative files, for example, the existing file storage and sharing system couldn’t support the speed required by the business.
Pret A Manger is a forward-looking organisation, and its approach to technology has always been the same: ‘what can we do next?” Despite a limited internal IT resource, the expectation is that the company’s infrastructure will evolve at a consistently fast pace and so the working limitations imposed on the international teams therefore demanded a solution. Unfortunately file sharing can often be a complex challenge for IT teams to manage; volumes of data are frequently vast, and yet the data that is “hot” is typically around 5%.
Working with CDW
Pret A Manger had an existing relationship with CDW for its hardware and software supply.. Finding the relationship to be both collaborative and cost effective, Pret began engaging CDW for a greater range services. Saville Midgley, Group Infrastructure Manager at Pret, explains: “We’re always looking for new opportunities to stay ahead in the development of our internal infrastructure. With a relatively small internal IT team, we have to make sure the tech really works for us, rather than us spending all our time just keeping things up and running. That’s not the strategic role we need to fulfil.
CDW assessed Pret A Manger’s needs, and recommended Panzura as the best-fit solution both for the immediate challenges faced, and as part of the wider cloud adoption strategy. The goal was to harness the economic advantages and scalability of the cloud, without suffering from slow speeds and latency. Panzura provides a high-performance, globally distributed file system that takes the best of cloud storage and delivers it with the immediacy and control of a local file store. With Panzura’s back end sitting in the cloud, it enabled Pret to activate its cloud strategy, with the benefit of a hybrid approach thanks to the local caching provided by the solution. This ticked a lot of boxes.
“With a Panzura controller at each of our sites, our marketing teams, for example, can cache those huge Adobe creative files and the distributed file locking eliminates the effect of latency between sites,” Midgley explains. “This enables them to quickly access and edit the files they need, but we benefit from both sides of the coin – data integrity and rapid collaboration across sites. But best of all it actually created a cost saving – as we get to deduplicate and compress data on all tiers at all sites. In simple terms, we’ve given our teams a better experience, that’s less complex to manage, and actually has a positive impact on our cost base.”
The Panzura-based strategy also provides support for accelerated setup of new office locations, so when Pret grows, the solution can grow too and so you can build virtual offices in Microsoft Azure and by utilising a Panzura controller gain access to all the required files instantly, without having to copy that data. Furthermore, the cost is almost negligible when compared to the traditional, physical movement of file data associated with a new site setup.
“The combination of CDW and Panzura has created an IT model that’s beneficial on so many levels. We enjoy CapEx savings thanks to the reduced storage requirements, and OpEx savings due to the enhanced manageability. There’s also longer term cost avoidance as we can think about reducing future storage expenditure,” comments Midgley.
Pret A Manger has benefitted from the global file locking, which ensures data integrity of elements within files that one team doesn’t want another to change. So in complex programmes such as an architectural project, different teams with different certifications can collaborate in one central model, but without compromise to the integrity of the work. It’s fast and efficient.
“I think what most IT managers want is to limit workloads,” says Midgley. “That’s why you see so many cloud-first strategies – they want to get rid of the complexity in dealing with outdated file storage. The Panzura solution simply means you can store what you don’t need in the cloud, at very low storage costs, and we then get eleven 9s of data resilience, which is remarkable. Our team is no longer wasting time clearing up files and trying to route to alternative storage areas.”
“The Panzura product is developing fast. Even as we’ve deployed it there are more features that we can make use of. CDW’s support and professional service has been essential in the implementations so far, and we’ll be working with them and Panzura to take our next steps,” reports Midgley. “I’ve dealt with a lot of different suppliers, and CDW and Panzura have together delivered a particularly proficient service. After seeing the implementation several months in, I’d definitely recommend it to other organisations.”
Adobe Creative Cloud
Panzura’s Freedom Collaboration delivers cloud storage with the immediacy and control of a local file store, allowing globally distributed teams to work on files across distances and timezones.