Direct One

Marketing Cloud Firm Uses Hyper- Converged Solution to Process

Business Situation

For some customer jobs, Direct One needed to temporarily scale its private cloud computing infrastructure to hundreds of servers but began to hit limits with its existing infrastructure.


Direct One deployed a Microsoft-validated hyperconverged Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform running Microsoft cloud software to dramatically boost its compute scalability.

We estimated that the Nutanix-based Microsoft private cloud solution would be five times faster than a stand-alone–server option, but in practice it is 100 times faster.

Direct One often needs to process millions of documents in a few hours, but the Brazilian marketing software firm hit limits with its traditional datacenter. The firm moved its Microsoft private cloud environment to a Microsoft-validated Nutanix Virtual Computing Platform and gained unprecedented scalability and performance. It can scale to 1,200 virtual machines on just four host servers and process customer jobs 100 times faster. Direct One can now double its business without increasing its IT staff.


“Faster” is a completely relative term, as Fernando Wozniak Steler has discovered. Steler is Chief Executive Officer of Direct One, a wildly
successful marketing automation and customer relationship management firm in São Paulo, Brazil. His firm provides transaction processing, data analysis, and digital mailing services for some of the biggest insurance and financial services firms in Brazil. In short, Direct One crunches enormous amounts of prospect and customer data—age, family size, marital status, income level, number of credit cards—determines who should receive certain offers, and then sends out personalized marketing messages as postal mailings, email messages, text messages and landing pages using a software-as-a-service model. It also processes invoices and does other “back office” jobs for Customer Communications Management.

Often, Direct One has to analyze terabytes of data and mail millions of documents in one day or risk violating customer service level agreements (SLAs) and damaging customer relationships. “The faster we perform, the faster our customers expect us to perform,” Steler says. “We must
continuously reduce our turnaround times.”

However, Direct One had reached the limits of its existing technology infrastructure. It had four physical servers on which it had created about 50 virtual machines using the Hyper-V virtualization technology in the Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system. With this infrastructure, it could scale to hundreds of virtual machines, but more jobs were requiring that it scale to 1,000 or more servers. For jobs that did not involve sensitive customer data, Direct One used Microsoft Azure to gain additional compute resources. “Many companies in the financial services industry are not
comfortable putting customer data in the cloud, though that is changing,” Steler says.

Because most customer mailings did contain sensitive data, the public cloud was not an option most of the time. That meant that Direct One had to figure out a way to quickly and cost effectively increase its in-house processing capacity. “We have grown at a rate of 70 percent a year for the last
three years, and we have our sights set on growing beyond Latin America,” Steler says. “We needed an elastic on-premises cloud that could scale to
thousands of virtual machines in minutes.”

“Because System Center works so well with the Nutanix solution, it’s very easy forus to manage our converged solution. We can create hundreds of virtual machines in minutes.”

– Syllas Souza, Chief Technology Officer, Direct One