Power Sports Industry Leader, Polaris, Fusion Powers Its IT Infrastructure


Polaris Industries supercharges its web infrastructure with ioTurbine and ioDrives


The Challenge

Polaris Industries designs, manufactures, and markets innovative, high quality, off-road vehicles (ORVs), including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and the Polaris RANGER® side-by-side vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles and on-road electric/hybrid powered vehicles.

For Polaris Infrastructure Manager, Adam Knutson and team, performance is everything. Their objective is to use technology to deliver solutions that increase revenue, lower costs, and improve quality. His goal is to increase productivity throughout the entire supply chain, including customers, dealers, suppliers, employees, and business partners.

The Polaris website is its primary worldwide dealership channel. Maintaining a rich-media customer experience on the website drives high user-retention rates for both dealers and end-customers, and helps to lower Polaris’ costs and increase revenue. “Ensuring performance in a virtualized infrastructure to scale and support a web-based rich-media customer experience, including video, high resolution photos, order details, and customer info, was going to be a challenge,” Adam said. “My options were limited, as I needed to keep the existing storage and network infrastructure of the Dealership portal extranet.”

The Solution

“I had heard of Fusion-io and their ioTurbine software from industry news and other colleagues, so I put them on my 'need to watch list,'” said Adam. “I am glad I did, because for virtualizing my web infrastructure, their solution went beyond my expectations.”

Increased VM Density and Blazing Performance

Adam and his team virtualized eight physical blade web servers. “We run pretty high density, anywhere from 20-30 VMs per host; with ioTurbine we were able to increase performance even with these high densities,” said Adam. “That’s huge!” Adam added, “Prior to installing ioTurbine, our public web page loads were taking 3-5 seconds and the dealer portal pages were taking around 4 seconds. Now, even the media-rich pages load in less than 1 second."


Extending NetApp Life With a Drop In Solution

Polaris needed a solution that solved its performance challenges without significant investment, and without requiring major architecture or software changes. The ioTurbine solution was a perfect fit. Adam said, “Once we started using ioTurbine for our virtualized web servers, we noticed that the associated NetApp systems worked faster as well. Since the read I/O was being satisfied from cache, my storage systems could process write I/O much, much faster. I hadn’t anticipated this, but I’ll take all the performance I can get!”

Enabling a More Powerful Virtual Environment

With Fusion-io, the Polaris team was able to implement a performance tier separate from a capacity tier. “We now have the flexibility to quickly deploy solutions for our evolving business needs and can scale performance for a fraction of the cost with Fusion-io than with traditional disk-based solutions,” said Adam. “We were able to turn 8 of our ESX servers into a performance tier and continue to use the remaining 12 servers for capacity which gives us plenty of headroom for future growth.”

System Changes To Virtual Environment


Polaris's NetApp system enjoys the following benefits as a result of deploying Fusion-io:
  • Up to 5X faster rich-media web page loads improves customer experience
  • Enables performance intensive workloads to be virtualized
  • Drops into existing NetApp infrastructure
  • Reduces I/O load on NetApp storage and increases NetApp performance

Adam told us, “I must continually provide strong business integration with the ability to quickly deploy solutions that support evolving and differentiating business strategies. ioTurbine allows me to do this more effectively than I thought possible.”

About Polaris

Polaris is a recognized leader in the powersports industry with annual 2011 sales of $2.7 billion. Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets innovative, high quality off-road vehicles (ORVs), including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and the Polaris RANGER® side-by-side vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles and on-road electric/hybrid powered vehicles.

Polaris is among the global sales leaders for both snowmobiles and off-road vehicles and has established a presence in the heavyweight cruiser and touring motorcycle market with the Victory and Indian motorcycle brands. Additionally, Polaris continues to invest in the global on-road small electric/hybrid vehicle industry with Global Electric Motorcars (GEM) and Goupil Industrie SA, and internally developed vehicles. Polaris enhances the riding experience with a complete line of Pure Polaris apparel, accessories and parts, available at Polaris dealerships.

Polaris Industries Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “PII”, and the Company is included in the S&P Mid-Cap 400 stock price index.
Information about the complete line of Polaris products, apparel, and vehicle accessories are available from authorized Polaris dealers or anytime at www.polaris.com.