Data Center Infrastructure and Cloud Computing Considerations in Retail: Gaining competitive advantage through better understanding retailers’ business and IT priorities

Pages: 39 Published: March 31, 2017 Report Code: GD0035IO

This IT strategic insight report "Data Center Infrastructure and Cloud Computing Considerations in Retail", analyzes the challenges and opportunities regarding data center upgrades and the usage of cloud computing in retail. Spending forecasts are provided for servers, storage, systems management software and public cloud services, as well as strategic advice for IT vendors and retailers.

Retailers are highly dependent on IT infrastructure for running key business applications and creating a competitive customer experience through innovative technologies. Since they are under a growing pressure to keep operating costs at bay while also launching various innovative solutions for maintaining competitiveness, retailers require updates to their IT infrastructure. Outdated servers, storage, networking and software need to be refreshed so that higher capacity, agility and scalability can be achieved at a lower or comparable cost.


– Most retailers look to implement a hybrid cloud solution that integrates on-premises and hosted environments in order to take advantage of scalability and cost-efficiency while also meeting data compliance requirements Although vendors tend to focus more on advances on the software side, retailers are still heavily hardware-focused and aim to maintain their own datacenter resources so that they can remain in control over their IT and meet compliance requirements

– Retailers continue to invest in server and storage infrastructure, however the ongoing shift towards public cloud services leads to a gradual decline in hardware spending

Reasons to Buy

– Gain insight into retailers' data center infrastructure and cloud computing priorities. This reports helps you to structure your retail specific infrastructure strategy, and is especially useful for vendors that offer servers, storage, networks or cloud services.

Key Players

Kraft Foods

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

1. Background: Retailers’ Business Challenges 3

2. Data Center Hardware Infrastructure 5

2.1 Servers are the backbone of the core infrastructure 5

2.2 Graphics processing is taking on computing 6

2.3 In-memory computing offers retailers real-time insight 7

2.4 Storage resources challenged by large data volumes 8

2.5 Converged and hyperconverged systems offer easy management 9

3. Network Infrastructure 11

3.1 Ethernet and fiber connections – a question of speed and security 11

3.2 In-store networks and Wi-Fi hotspots gaining importance 12

3.3 Ethernet and WAN buildouts drive demand for switches and routers 12

3.4 Fog computing emerges as pre-analytics moves to the edge 14

4. Cooling and Facilities 16

5. Virtualization and Workload Management 17

5.1 Containers and microservices help to unify data and systems 17

5.2 Workload automation can increase operational efficiency 19

5.3 Access management is essential for compliance 19

5.4 Service level management ensures zero downtimes 20

6. Cloud Considerations 21

6.1 Private cloud – agility within your own base 22

6.2 Software as a Service (SaaS) – the fully hosted approach 23

6.3 Platform as a Service (PaaS) – own software on top of a standard base 23

6.4 Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – the bare computing resource 24

6.5 Hybrid and multi-clouds combine the best of all worlds 25

7. Market Size and Vendor Landscape 27

7.1 Server and storage spending forecast 27

7.2 Systems management software forecast 29

7.3 Public cloud services spending forecast 30

7.4 ICT vendors compete for leadership in retail 31

8. Retailer Usage Cases 32

8.1 Mydin – Malaysian supermarket virtualizes its environment 32

8.2 Kind – hearing aid retailer implements flash storage 32

8.3 Kraft Foods Group (Mondelez) creates two dedicated private clouds 33

9. Advice for ICT Vendors and Retailers 34

9.1 Advice for ICT vendors 34

9.2 Advice for retailers 35

10. Appendix 36

10.1 Definitions 36

10.2 Further reading 37

10.3 Contact the author 37

10.4 Contact Us 38

List of Tables

List of Tables

Table 1: Retailers’ global spending on Ethernet, WLAN and WAN technology (in US $ millions) 13

Table 2: Retailers’ global spending on server and storage hardware (in US $ millions) 28

Table 3: Retailers’ global spending on selected systems management software (in US $ millions) 29

Table 4: Retailers’ global spending on public cloud services (in US $ millions) 30

List of Figures

List of Figures

Figure 1: Retail IT environments are becoming more complex 3

Figure 2: Ethernet and WAN drive growth in retail switches and routers 13

Figure 3: Fog computing moves analytics to the edge 15

Figure 4: Hypervisor and VM based virtualization vs. container based approach 18

Figure 5: Considerations for retailers in developing their cloud strategies 21

Figure 6: Software as a Service accounts for the majority of cloud spending but platforms are growing faster 30


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