Fashion trends change fast and, as a leading fabric manufacturer, Pacific Textiles must ensure its operations can keep up. That’s why the company is embracing a software-defined approach to IT delivery, underpinned by SUSE® OpenStack Cloud and SUSE Enterprise Storage solutions. Increased agility will help Pacific Textiles optimize manufacturing operations so it can
respond even faster to changing market conditions and make sure its products remain the go-to choice for demanding apparel brands.

The Challenge

Fast fashion has taken the apparel market by storm, bringing affordable, trendy clothes to the masses just weeks after similar-looking designs appear on the runway. But while fast fashion might be a hit with style- and budget-conscious consumers, it has introduced new challenges for manufacturers like Pacific Textiles.

Hubert Tsang, CIO at Pacific Textiles, said, “A growing appetite for fast fashion has put huge pressure on the supply chain to run more efficiently. Whereas previously, fashion retailers could afford to wait two to three months for our fabrics, they now expect these materials to be manufactured and delivered in weeks.

“To meet ever-shorter production timeframes, our operations need to run like clockwork—there’s no room for downtime or errors. To support the business in achieving these goals, our IT team is constantly working to make systems and processes more agile and responsive.”

He continued: “As an enabler for these ambitions, we have targeted a move to a software-defined data center [SDDC]. Our objective is to simplify and automate the provisioning of compute and storage resources, so that we can respond to the demands of the business more rapidly and cost-effectively.”

“We did assess other OpenStack distributions, but they just weren’t mature or stable enough. In contrast, SUSE OpenStack Cloud offered a very reliable and useable enterprise-grade platform.”

SUSE Solution

As one of the first steps on its journey to a SDDC, Pacific Textiles decided to establish a private cloud environment to support a range of enterprise systems, including a large SAP ERP landscape. As the foundation for this initiative, the company selected SUSE OpenStack Cloud, an automated solution for building and managing private clouds.

“We have a longstanding relationship with SUSE and it was a logical decision to build on this partnership,” said Tsang. “We did assess other OpenStack distributions, but they just weren’t mature or stable enough. In contrast, SUSE OpenStack Cloud offered a very reliable and usable enterprisegrade platform.”

Pacific Textiles will integrate SUSE OpenStack Cloud with SUSE Enterprise Storage, powered by Ceph, to deliver highly scalable software-defined storage capabilities.

Tsang said, “Software-defined storage is a key component of any SDDC, and as we were going to be using a SUSE cloud computing platform, it made sense to leverage SUSE Enterprise Storage alongside that. It enabled more straightforward integration of our cloud and storage infrastructures, and gave us a single vendor to deal with for both elements.”

Currently, Pacific Textiles has deployed one SUSE OpenStack Cloud cluster, running development and test environments for its SAP ERP environment. The company plans to move its production-level SAP ERP applications into the cloud in the near future, along with other business systems. It will then roll out SUSE Enterprise Storage as its strategic storage platform
for enterprise-wide data.

The Results

Embracing a software-defined architecture will enable Pacific Textiles to run a more efficient IT function.

Similarly, once it introduces SUSE Enterprise Storage, Pacific Textiles expects to reduce storage-related costs, as it will be able to move away from expensive SANbased storage arrays towards Ethernet technology and commodity hardware.

Crucially, the new approach will make it quicker and easier for IT to react to the needs of the business—helping Pacific Textiles keep pace with a fast-moving fashion and textile market.

“One of the most exciting aspects of SUSE OpenStack Cloud is that it enables us to deploy new applications with ease and simplicity,” said Tsang. “This is because the platform provides us with the ability to define infrastructure as code, which means that our developers can simply specify the resources they need, and the platform will automatically provision the
new environment.

“This will give development teams greater control over application deployment, and ease pressure on our system administrators—a win-win situation. Equally importantly, it will support a more agile approach to delivering IT, allowing us to provision new services rapidly and efficiently. With SUSE technologies enabling us to respond faster to new business demands, Pacific
Textiles can drive more nimble manufacturing operations to stay ahead in a fastmoving fashion industry.”