Adidas steps up server consolidation project

Adidas-Salomon Canada is using IBM eServer iSeries technology to create IT infrastructure conducive to handling all of the supply chain applications necessitated by the company’s numerous sporting goods brands.

Because each

brand division maintains independent sales forces and marketing teams, the organization required a mechanism to effectively manage its numerous supply chain tools, said Paul Leone, vice-president of IT and logistics at adidas-Salomon Canada in Concord, Ont.

The firm has moved its Windows applications off of multiple Dell servers and onto the iSeries. Within the next six to 12 months it will implement Linux on the iSeries. “”The biggest reason is that being on one platform allowed for more seamless integration of applications. The second one is cost of ownership,”” he said. “”One stands to gain a lot by physically managing only one computer.””

By upgrading to a new eServer iSeries 810 server, the sports apparel and equipment maker said customers would benefit from real-time access to inventory levels, enhanced ordering processes and quicker delivery time. Adidas-Salomon Canada’s operational and backend warehouse management tools as well as its customer Web portal (which enables clients to check the status of orders), will all be powered by the iSeries server.

“”We’ve been an iSeries customer for quite a few years,”” said Leone when asked whether his company had considered going with another solution. “”We were already there (with IBM). The inclusion of an integrated server was a bonus.””

Companies dependent on servers running Windows sometimes end up having to manage server farms that continue to grow as servers are added to handle increasing capacity demands, said Barry Pow, iSeries product manager at IBM Canada in Markham, Ont.

The 810 server can simultaneously run applications on OS/400, Linux, Windows, Lotus Domino and ported UNIX applications. “”We found that we could address a lot of concerns through multi-operating system capabilities,”” Pow said.

Another part of adidas-Salomon Canada’s plan to ramp up customer service is its customer Web tools, said Leone. Clients typically contact the company’s customer service representatives via telephone, he said. But by using eDeveloper software and other integration technology from Magic Software Enterprises to quickly deploy AS/400 applications onto the Web, adidas-Salomon Canada is hoping to convince some clients to choose the Web over the telephone.

“”We offer (tools) to accelerate the migration of legacy applications to the Web,”” said Glenn Johnson, director of marketing at Magic Software’s Irvine, Calif.-based North American subsidiary. “”Businesses can quickly adapt current applications running on backend systems and put them on the Web. We also provide all the security mechanisms companies would want to control access to information and to integrate supply chains.””

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