Wednesday, 14 March 2012 11:59

Coles supermarkets go virtual

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No, not virtual supermarkets a la Woolworths posters at stations and bus stops, but virtual in the IT sense. The retail giant has deployed Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualisation software at each of its 741 supermarkets.

The problem Coles faced was that its ageing server fleet deployed at stores around the country was encountering increasingly frequent hardware failures leading to outages.

Instead of simply refreshing the hardware, Coles chose to deploy two-node clusters running Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 with Hyper-V. One virtual server runs the point of sale system, the other runs a variety of applications, including automated replenishment and inventory management.

With this arrangement, if one of the physical servers fails, its workload is automatically transferred to the other. "In most cases, store personnel are not even aware that a server has failed," said Craig Morton,
store technical services manager at Coles.

A full case study is available here.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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