Logistically speaking, there’s probably no operation in the world as big, complex, and ambitious as the North Pole’s. You’d have to rely on magic to make it happen—unless, of course, you had some seriously powerful technology behind it.

So, what if Santa’s Workshop was a digital operation? It would certainly help keep things straight: toy supply chains, IoT Elves on Shelves, wish lists, a naughty or nice database with billions of entries, and some epic navigation support. 

It would be the world’s biggest data operation—and we have an idea of how it might work. 

A Global Naughty or Nice Database

How does Santa determine who gets gifts and who gets coal? With a dynamic data set that’s around 1.9 billion entries long and the help of machine learning and high-performance analytics. Deploying a database rather than a quill and ink would be way more efficient for determining who makes which bucket in real time, without bias.

How is all that good and bad behavior tracked, processed, and analyzed? Santa’s remote helpers—including Elves on Shelves—could be his own internet of things. They could gather and process unstructured behavioral data at the edge, extract key insights, then send it back for analysis. When it comes time to pack the sleigh, he could serve up the data he needs and cross-reference it with wish lists and delivery data. Easy peasy!

Speaking of the holidays, data can also play a part in holiday travel! 

Air-tight North Pole Data Security

Speaking of all of that data, it’s not just highly personal and subject to global compliance regulations. It’s also data that one grumpy, green hacker would love to get his hands on. If the Grinch launched a ransomware attack on the North Pole, he could single-handedly take down Christmas. That would be catastrophic! 

We imagine Santa would settle for nothing less than the best when it comes to protecting the world’s data. Pure Storage® SafeMode™ creates read-only snapshots of backup data that cannot be deleted, encrypted, or modified—even if an elf loses their login credentials. All season long, elves could easily monitor log data for red flags to stay ahead of threats and the green menace who’s out to ruin Christmas. And if the worst happened, the North Pole operation could be back online in minutes with immutable snapshots.

The Biggest Wish List in the World

Santa’s memory is unparalleled. How else would he remember all those whispered wishes? But keeping it all straight isn’t just a volume problem, it’s a complexity problem—one e-commerce retailers know well. Every gift comes with its own unstructured data: images, sizes, colors, URLs, and more. It’s the perfect job for FlashBlade//S™, a unified fast file and object (UFFO) platform built for unstructured data.

Also, what if Santa is at a loss for gift ideas? That’s a job for social media data monitoring and sentiment analysis. Combing feeds for likes, loves, and items topping similar kids’ wish lists is a great way to predict the perfect gift.

Sleigh Sensors for a Smooth Flight

They say Formula One cars are the fastest in the world, but Santa’s sleigh has to be even faster to cover the whole globe in one night. He could take a page from the F1 playbook, however, and keep an eye on the sleigh’s in-flight performance with telemetry data from smart sensors. The team could schedule pit stops for repairs and reindeer refueling with carrots, while also tracking wind speed, temperatures, altitude, reindeer energy levels, landing gear, and the wattage output of Rudolph’s nose.

Even better: Elf engineers could put the sleigh through its paces prior to the big night with a high-tech simulator that predicts performance and tests sleigh handling across all those different climates and conditions.

Navigation with Real-time Weather, Air Traffic, and Route Data

Taking into account time zones, Santa has about 31 hours from start to finish to get his deliveries in before Christmas morning dawns. That’s hundreds of homes a second, so high–performance computing to optimize routes is critical. 

AI and predictive analytics can help Santa map out the most efficient routes, while real-time weather and air traffic control data can ensure the safest route.

Then, there’s the matter of deliveries. Logistics are no joke when you’ve got one night and no margin for error. A data-driven supply chain could help toys get from workshop to sleigh to chimney to tree.

Efficiency at the Workshop 

Look, we wouldn’t tell the elves how to do their jobs, but automation and a DevOps approach just might triple productivity and prevent burnout—maybe even leaving some spare time for the elves to dream up new toy ideas for next year.

The workshop could take cues from modern manufacturers who leverage sophisticated supply chains and assembly line sensors to hit quotas and avoid shortages or bottlenecks. Agile software development has nailed the CI/CD pipeline, and tech-savvy elves could benefit from modular design approaches, like containers, to double down on output and efficiency. All of that requires agile data to help them spin up new workloads and keep elves from working in silos.

Sustainability at the Polar Ice Cap

What about the North Pole’s data center? With one of the largest data sets in the world and one of the most delicate climates on Earth, they’d want to ensure operations are sustainable, energy-efficient, and have a small footprint. Pure Storage® technology was designed from the ground up to utilize less power and cooling and take up less space, so Santa can keep carbon emissions down.

How Pure Helps Organizations Nail Their Biggest Challenges, All Year Long

Sometimes it seems like magic, but the truth is, organizations around the world are pulling off incredible feats with data every day of the year. Data helps them keep customers delighted, manage supply chains, fast-track life-saving vaccines, and push the limits of innovation. At Pure, it’s our mission to provide them with the most powerful, easy-to-manage storage technology that seamlessly enables these breakthroughs.