When Karavan hypermarket chain started expanding to regions, its IT department needed a server and network infrastructure capable of providing data consolidation and resilience of IT systems at its every hypermarket. To open new retail centres as fast as possible and for the convenience of their administration, a decision was made to develop a certain standard configuration for Karavan hypermarket chain, which would cover both food and construction materials departments. In addition, server solutions needed to be installed at the head office and management companies.
Having analysed the needs and system performance and resilience requirements, SI BIS proposed a solution based on a 4-processor IBM SystemX 3850 server with ERP installed for merchandise accounting. Through FC channels, it was connected to the IBM DS4700 M70 storage system, where the main hypermarket database was. Additionally, the solution included an IBM x3650 backup server with dedicated data storage in the form of an IBM DS3400 SAS array for complete redundancy. The backup server copied all data in online mode and took over the entire load in case of the main server fails. Additionally, an IBM TS3100 tape library was connected to the backup server for database archiving.
The system was complete with two firewall servers (main and backup) to ensure data security in the network. The infrastructure also included trading floor, Proxy, DNS, terminal access, applications, 1C, mail, and other servers.
The trading floor server controlled operation of cash registers. With the ERP system Karavan used, each cash register could work autonomously and accumulate information in its own database. Per the effective operational procedures, the trading floor server polled cash registers consolidated the information collected into a single package and sent it to the central database. In the event of the trading floor server (TFS) failure, the data accumulated at cash registers, until TFS rebooted.
The scheme described above functioned in every food hypermarket. All points of sales used the reporting system installed at the management company, which collected reports on sales and orders, accounts receivable and payable, etc. From the management company, consolidated data was sent to the head office upon request from Karavan Group management.
In construction materials hypermarkets, a simpler solution was used. In trading floor server rooms, only blade chassis with infrastructure servers were installed. The ERP solution and main data storage system were located in the management company.
This simplified scheme was unsuitable for food departments because the food department database size exceeded 300 GB in the Karavan hypermarket in Kyiv, and in the regional ones—150 GB.
Standard server infrastructure helped speed up preparations for the launch of Karavan Group’s new food and construction materials hypermarkets. The company management thus could do financial planning in advance and commission new facilities faster.
In practice, server infrastructure used in Karavan hypermarkets proved to be functional and convenient to use, providing resilient and safe operation of large geographically distributed retail business structures. With standard infrastructure and application of blade systems, server nodes can be replaced easily as the hardware becomes obsolete and workloads increase.