Efficiently Managing a Network of More Than Eighty Stores Across the United States
At Tommy Bahama, it’s all about their stores and, of course, their upscale Island lifestyle brand. What keeps them running smoothly? According to Roger Eastman, Tommy Bahama’s Network Administrator, it begins with an efficient network. “There are more than 80 Tommy Bahama stores located across the United States,” said Eastman, “and it’s my job to make sure that the stores can communicate effectively with Corporate and vice versa. Managing performance on a remote network like this can be difficult, but with PathSolutions’ Network Monitor (now TotalView for Networks), it’s a snap!”
Continuous Monitoring, Total Visibility, Everything in One Place
The Tommy Bahama brand is all about the “casually elegant island lifestyle” and its own retail stores are designed to showcase and promote that concept. With retail locations heavily concentrated in certain geographic areas in the United States (including Florida, California, Hawaii, Arizona, and Nevada) and corporate headquarters in the greater Seattle area, the network infrastructure is the glue that holds everything together.
“Communication between the stores and the corporate network is 24/7. Inventory information is uploaded, emails exchanged, and corporate pushes out information to the stores overnight so they have it first thing in the morning—I need to know that the network can handle it all so that people can get their work done. When dealing with so many remote locations, network performance management is the key to ensuring optimal performance,” said Eastman. “And when we looked at solutions, TotalView rose to the top.”
Eastman installed and deployed TotalView in about 15 minutes, which included an automatic configuration of the Tommy Bahama network. With it, every location is continuously monitored, providing information such as utilization, packet rate, broadcast rate, and error rate of every network link. For Eastman, TotalView provides total network performance visibility, functioning as an agent to Tommy Bahama’s network hardware in every remote location while being monitored and managed from the corporate location.
About TotalView’s Network Weather Report
TotalView’s Network Weather report is a quick and easy way to determine how your network is performing on a daily basis. It provides information on your network’s errors, performance, and administration. Based on the utilization rate you set, it will display the interfaces that are experiencing a higher utilization rate, including error rates and peak daily utilization. It will also display a number of “top tens,” including the top ten interfaces with the most errors, top ten interfaces with the highest daily.
It’s All About the Weather (Report): Identifying and Resolving Network Issues
While total network visibility is a key part of Eastman’s network performance management strategy, he relies on TotalView’s Network Weather report to identify his most pressing network issues. The Weather report acts as a barometer, analyzing how the network is performing, identifying—down to the router or link—where potential issues are, and then recommending how to fix them via TotalView’s Prescription Engine.
“I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but the Weather report sets the outlook for my day,” said Eastman. “It’s the first thing that I look at every morning when I get in and from it, I decide what I will need to look at and address. I can look at this report in real-time or I can look at specific times where I might have expected heavy usage. For example, Corporate pushes out information to the stores overnight. I can actually look back and see what the network utilization was like at that time.” The Weather report, along with other TotalView features, enables Eastman to be proactive, identifying and fixing network issues before they become network problems that can impact performance.
Bottom Line—Network Optimization Made Easy
Retailers like Tommy Bahama must be able to provide timely customer service across all channels of their business. The network plays a critical component as it is the main information conduit between corporate and its retail stores. “From a network performance management standpoint, TotalView does all of our heavy lifting. This enables my team to be proactive instead of reactive, focusing on network optimization rather than network troubleshooting. As a result, we can optimize the bandwidth and availability of our networks, ensuring that our Corporate and Retail locations get all the information they need to make the best operational decisions for the business,” said Steve Applegate, Tommy Bahama’s C.I.O.