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How Kellwood migrates to the cloud with Azure and Valorem

By Microsoft in Business Team on February 5, 2018

Filed under Digital Transformation

Focus on: Engage Customers, Optimize Operations

Kellwood Company is an American clothing company that specializes in women’s, junior’s, and girl’s apparel. Since its founding in 1961, Kellwood has grown to include multiple locations on the East and West Coasts, with nearly 1,000 employees. The company is known for their production of privately-owned brand names, including popular lines like Rebecca Taylor. Kellwood also produces private-label clothing for brands owned by department stores like Kohl’s and JC Penney, and sold in major stores like Target.

A reliable cloud solution to support a company in transition

In December of 2016, another apparel enterprise acquired Kellwood Company.The company was going to be separated into two different organizations. A third organization called St. Louis Transition Company was established to spearhead the transition of IT and Financial services. The St. Louis Transition team realized they would need a digital solution to support their rapidly-developing new direction. The company’s St. Louis location, which previously housed their IT department and on-premises datacenter, was going to be shut-down. As a result, the company needed a cloud-based product that would allow employees to maintain productivity—and they needed it fast.

Chief Technologist, Charles Pritzl and Carl Schultz, Director of Enterprise Infrastructure, were tasked with both finding a cost-effective cloud-based solution, and completing a successful datacenter migration in just 90 days. In collaboration with a team of Valorem engineers and digital transformation specialists, Charles decided the Microsoft Azure Cloud platform was the best solution to support Kellwood’s current datacenter needs and provide scalability for future growth.

Partnering with Valorem to drive a seamless and efficient Azure migration

Long-time Microsoft partner Valorem specializes in delivering cloud-first technology and digital solutions to help businesses modernize their processes and infrastructure.

“When we think about solving our customer’s needs and problems, we focus on our background services capabilities, consultative selling, cloud-first technologies, and ultimately driving transformation for their business,” explains Bruce Slywka, VP of Sales at Valorem.

In partnership with Kellwood’s IT staff, Valorem engineers designed a detailed migration plan for the Azure adoption. Carl, worked extensively with Valorem employees to make the transformation as seamless and efficient as possible. The versatility of Azure’s platform allowed engineers to set up a beta environment in just 1-2 weeks and construct Kellwood’s entire Azure-based datacenter within their required timeline.

Leveraging Azure’s technology to power long-term efficiency and success

Kellwood’s IT team also developed a digital purge routine to delete data from the original on-premise database after transferring it to the cloud. With their on-premise hardware, the purge program required 5-7 hours to run. But after upping the server and memory size in Azure, the same program took a mere 10 minutes to complete. Azure’s cloud-based technology delivers unparalleled efficiency, empowering Kellwood employees to completely transform traditional processes and promote a fully optimized workflow.

“My team joined Kellwood Company at the beginning of the move to Azure.  We got to observe the smooth migration performed by the Kellwood transition and Valorem teams.  The project completed with a very positive end user experience.  With the ability to leverage the tools available in Azure, the Kellwood IT team is confident that they will be able to provide the best solutions to the future challenges of our growing business,” said Henry Caamano, Vice President Information Technology.

Another crucial part of the datacenter migration included building a platform that would allow the company to compartmentalize data as needed. Using Azure’s flexible infrastructure, the company established private databases to support separate entities, while maintaining data security. Azure’s reliable technology serves as a secure disaster recovery solution for the company without sacrificing the platform’s flexibility.

The ability to adjust server size according to the company’s needs ensures faster and more efficient run rates for the entire system. In addition, paying for cloud service according to their monthly use eliminates extra hardware expenses and the risk of being over-capacity.

“What I envisioned was having our datacenter run in Azure with the flexibility to increase or decrease server sizes as needed. And that’s something we were able to achieve,” says Charles.

Adapting Azure platform to meet Kellwood’s transforming datacenter needs

Azure’s flexible system empowered engineers to successfully build, test, and launch a completely customized system to meet Kellwood’s most pressing needs—all within considerable time constraints. With additional support and skill from Valorem’s engineering team, the cloud-based datacenter exceeded performance standards and helped applications run faster, resulting in more efficient business operations.

Kellwood leveraged Azure technology to enhance employee capabilities while supporting the entire enterprise’s datacenter needs during their data transition. By adopting a modern datacenter, powered with Microsoft cloud technology, Kellwood Company gained immediate optimization, while laying a secure and scalable digital foundation for the company’s future.

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