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Specsavers sets its sights on APC

Specsavers is the third largest supplier of eye care in the world with an annual turnover of more than $2.1 billion in 2006.




Optometrist wholesaler and retailer


Melbourne, Victoria


Icon Eye


IT staff were wasting valuable time managing disparate systems and cabling within the data centre

Cooling in the data centre was unreliable and at capacity


APC 40 kVA InfraStruxure Type B Power System with Hot Aisle Containment System (HACS)

APC 40kW Power Distribution Unit

APC InRow RC Chilled Water solution.


Precision cooling solutions that are energy efficient and provide highest levels of reliability

Centralised management simplifies administration and fault resolution

Overhead cabling reduces time spent manual handling equipment

In 2006, Specsavers set up a wholesale and manufacturing operation in Australia. During 2008 it set up its Australian retail business, enabling local optometrists to combine their expertise in the consulting room with the power of Specsavers supply chain, retail and support services.

Specsavers’ Australian business today comprises 250 franchise stores in every state and territory and 2000 staff.

Since 2008, Specsavers has experienced rapid growth beginning with the opening of 100 retail stores in 100 days. It also expanded its retail business into New Zealand.

The company’s Australian and New Zealand manufacturing and retail operations relies on the 24/7 availability of its manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, finance and general office applications as well as its communications network that spans across all its sites.

Supporting these applications and critical business data is the company’s Melbourne data centre.

“We have a single supply office and manufacturing plant in Australia that processes over 30,000 customer orders each week,” said Simon Baxter, Director IT Asia Pacific, Specsavers.

“When a customer chooses glasses at one of the retail stores, the order comes through to the support office and is then routed to the manufacturing plant. Once they are made, they are then shipped to the store,” said Baxter.

By 2009, Specsavers’ manufacturing site and data centre were reaching capacity. The company had limited space to deploy the extra hardware it needed to support new manufacturing lines and data application requirements.

It had no power-generating capability and the UPS provided about 40 minutes runtime during a power outage.

Last financial year, the company generated over $250 million in revenue in Australia and New Zealand. Given the scale of the business and its dependence on the availability of its network, Specsavers needed to drastically increase its data centre capabilities and redundancy.

Specsavers decided to relocate its manufacturing site and data centre from Bertie Street, Melbourne to a new site on Graham Street, Melbourne. The new data centre site was double the size of the previous site.


Specsavers’ IT team reviewed data centre solutions from several vendors, however it chose to partner with APC because of its outstanding service and the superior performance of its technology.

“We had worked before with APC and its partner Fujitsu and we were really pleased with the quality of the service they delivered – it was a real differentiator,” said Baxter.

APC and Fujitsu worked together to provide a single point of contact partnership, ensuring a smooth implementation of the new data centre. APC solution architects and several APC power and cooling engineers invested many hours investigating and planning to ensure optimal results.

In March 2009, Specsavers commenced its new data centre fit out, deploying APC’s InfraStruxure data centre architecture which consisted of one 48kW Symmetra UPS, two 18kW APC InRow Cooling units, two 40kW Aquacooler Chillers, one APC Netbotz Environmental Monitoring unit and an APC ISX Central monitoring system.

APC is a brand we trust. Our timeframe for implementation was tight – four weeks – and APC delivered on time and on budget

It also deployed 40 servers and 150 virtual servers housed in 10 racks and utilised the diesel-fuelled backup generator installed at the site.

In addition, Specsavers converted its old data centre on Bertie Street into a disaster recovery site. The two sites are linked by a 1GB microwave link.

“We pretty much left the equipment in the old data centre as it was. We now have almost complete data centre redundancy. If our Graham Street site was to burn down, our business would be able to continue to operate effectively,” said Baxter.


According to Baxter, one of the benefits associated with APC’s technology is its modularity and scalability.

“When you go in as quick as we have to, you need something that can be deployed quickly and is guaranteed to work. It’s compact, efficient and easy to move and doesn’t require a lot of complex set up, like false floors.

“APC is a brand we trust. Our timeframe for implementation was tight – four weeks – and APC delivered on time and on budget,” said Baxter.

APC’s ISX Central monitoring system collects, organises and distributes critical alerts, surveillance video and key information, providing Specsavers’ IT team with a unified view of its two data centre environments from anywhere on the network.

“Our manufacturing plant operates 24/7 and relies on the availability of applications at all times. We don’t have IT people on site at all times therefore it is of great value having a monitoring solution that contacts us at any time of the day or night if an issue occurs at either site”.

“The solution automatically contacts us via email and SMS if there is a problem, or contacts the fire brigade if required.”

Specsavers is also currently working with APC on centralising environmental monitoring across both its Graham Street site and its disaster recovery site.

Specsavers’s new data centre has UPS runtime of 50 minutes and also has a generator to provide additional power if required.

“We haven’t needed to use the UPS yet but we have that comfortable knowledge that if the power did go down, we would be okay.”


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