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SearchEnterpriseLinux: Tractor Supply Gets Out of WinTel's No-scale Rut

Aug 22, 2003, 22:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jan Stafford)


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"Tractor Supply Co. of Nashville, Tenn., is the perfect example of a company that needs scalable computing. With $1 billion in 2002 sales, it runs more than 450 stores in the U.S., opening 113 last year. Until recently, however, its need for an easy-to-grow IT system has gone unfulfilled. Rapid growth and large peaks in sales mean that Tractor Supply Co. needs to scale out its processing power at almost a moment's notice, according to Stevan Townsend, its manager of database and BASIS administration. In this interview, he describes his search for a scaleable, redundant replacement for a pay-as-you-grow WinTel system.

"What problems did Tractor Supply Company (TSC) have with IT system scalability?

"Townsend: We were a Sun shop five years ago, running Solaris. Those machines are very expensive to keep up, so we moved our data warehouse to Intel in a Windows environment. We started running Windows NT on Pentium Pro 4-way servers. We outgrew that box quickly. We upgraded to a 4-way Xeon server. Eighteen months later, we outgrew that. Then, we got eight-processor Intel SMP servers running Oracle8i on Windows and Veritas Cluster Server to handle the workload. This approach was not only costly, but also resulted in unacceptable administration costs..."

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