Kingfisher migrates to Red Hat Linux

Kingfisher Group has migrated its 240 Castorama and Brico Dépôt stores on the continent to Red Hat Enterprise Linux with Oracle databases.

Kingfisher Group has migrated its 240 Castorama and Brico Dépôt stores on the continent to Red Hat Enterprise Linux with Oracle databases.

The DIY retailer says Red Hat has enabled it to halve the number of servers it requires, and make a return on its investment in just eight months. 

At the same time, it is benefiting from a tenfold increase in performance, the firm says.

Since 1997, Castorama and Brico Dépôt stores had been running an IT system comprised of two types of server. One of the servers was a Digital Unix Alpha server supporting production tools and commercial applications, as well as an Oracle v7 database and Forms application.

The second was an NT server for the infrastructure, covering the network, domains, printing and file server.

When Kingfisher learned that support would soon be ending for both the Unix and NT servers, it was faced with the challenge of renewing a vast IT architecture for its Castorama and Brico Dépôt stores.

"Overall, most of the open source distributions contained the features we needed, including infrastructure services," said Bernard Grulois, architecture and infrastructure manager at Kingfisher IT Services, the group's worldwide IT organisation.

"But only Red Hat offered a business-ready Linux distribution with the level of service, guarantee and support that we required for the mission-critical information system that is needed for the smooth operation of Kingfisher's continental Europe DIY stores," he said.

The architecture was designed to include production tools and the
database comprised of Oracle AS10G with an Oracle 9i database and Webforms for the technical building blocks.

Every outlet in France, Italy, Spain, Poland and Russia is now equipped with Red Hat Enterprise Linux running on an HP ProLiant ML 370 G4 server with 8Gbytes of memory, Intel dual-core processors and 5X140 Go disc in RAID 1.

After a three-month test phase in Spain, the servers were deployed in French, Italian, Polish and Russian stores.

In Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Kingfisher IT Services found a solution that allowed all of Castorama and Brico Dépôt's requirements to be satisfied with a single server type, and the ability to run both production tools and infrastructure services on the same box.

This has translated into large cost savings and even faster deployments and updates, said Kingfisher.

Grulois said, “We have achieved a return on our investment in less than eight months, and we continue to benefit from the advantages Red Hat Enterprise Linux offers, in terms of maintenance, cost savings and high security.”

In addition, he said, the firm has seen an impressive improvement in performance. “We have increased the speed of our system 10 times and also improved the quality of overall service. As for delivery at the user level, it is excellent,” said Grulois.

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Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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