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Pacific Coast Jiffy Lube Navigates the Network Infrastructure with POPnetserver

  • April 01 2002, 1:00am EST
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With more than 2,000 service centers located in 49 states, Jiffy Lube International, Inc. is the largest franchising organization in the fast oil change and fluid maintenance industry. Specifically, our operation, Pacific Coast Jiffy Lube, encompasses all of the Jiffy Lube outlets in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Our customers expect quick, dependable and inclusive service for a low price. In order to provide our customers with this exceptional experience, it is important to begin at the roots: Pacific Coast Jiffy Lube's corporate office in Arroyo Grande, California.

The corporate office acts as the "nerve center" and is responsible for overseeing the operations of all the service centers including inventory management, customer service issues, accounts receivable, accounts payable and payroll. Our data storage requirements are significant due to a growing customer base and extensive inventory management system. This data must then be made available to all our service locations. For example, we store customer and inventory information at the corporate office and update it on a nightly basis. Our service centers must be able to access this information 24x7 to have the critical data they need for their day-to-day operations. To conduct this coordinated effort, Pacific Coast Jiffy Lube required a network infrastructure that could store large amounts of data and make it continuously accessible to all the service centers.

When considering the options available to meet our storage requirements, we were looking for the same qualities that characterized the Jiffy Lube operation: cost-effectiveness, simplicity and speed. We wanted to implement a solution that could easily and cost-effectively scale with our operation. Because Pacific Coast Jiffy Lube encompasses quite a few service centers, adding servers would have been a very expensive proposition. We also needed to improve the speed of our network, enabling faster data sharing between our corporate office and our service centers. The qualities of network-attached storage fit ideally with our needs. We evaluated NAS products from several different vendors. After a thorough competitive analysis, we selected the POPnetserver 2000 from the FIA Storage Systems Group, a San Clemente-based supplier of NAS systems.

The NAS system proved to be extremely simple to install and use, even for the computer novices in our office. Our POPnetserver 2000 was configured with two 30GB hard drives for a total capacity of 60GB, expandable to a third drive. The POPnetserver 2000's overall storage capacity is 240GB in the same 1U enclosure. In 15 minutes and two mouse clicks, I had the system up and running. The accompanying POPassist software, a Windows-based user interface for system administration, allowed me to configure the device quickly and easily. The software also provided us with the ability to remotely monitor and manage our storage resources in real time. In addition to providing high- capacity storage for numerous workstations, we are also using the POPnetserver to run our extensive inventory management system and accounting database.

Since implementing NAS, we have benefited from enhanced network performance and highly efficient file serving. The POPnetserver has improved the speed and functionality of our entire local network. Before the installation of the system, we often experienced slowdowns in data availability due to a large amount of data sharing between workstations and insufficient storage capacity on our server. Because POPnetserver relocates storage onto its own independent platform and separates file sharing from application serving, this freed up file-server bandwidth and reduced the overhead on our existing application servers. The speed of our network increased drastically, saving us up to two hours per day in network wait time.

We were able to rely on several features to ensure the integrity and accessibility of our data. Our POPnetserver was configured for RAID 1, also known as mirroring. This allowed the second set of drives to duplicate the first set for maximum data protection. We have peace of mind because our critical customer and inventory data is always secure.

The POPnetserver 2000 NAS system was an excellent investment for Pacific Coast Jiffy Lube. We no longer experience the downtime, frustration, and lost productivity and profitability that result from insufficient data storage. NAS provides us with the file-sharing capabilities we need to ensure that all our service centers have an open information pipeline to the corporate office. As our storage requirements continue to grow with our business, POPnetserver will be our first choice for future data storage needs.

The POPnetserver 2000 from FIA Storage Systems Group is a high-performance network attached storage (NAS) system designed for small businesses, departments and workgroups. Benefits include improved network performance, heterogeneous data sharing, efficient network file serving and remote storage management. Maximum capacity is 240GB, and RAID levels 0, 1 and 5 are provided for maximum data protection.

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