Lean Retail Architecture
By David Dorf on Jan 07, 2009
Last year about this time Cisco announced their Lean Retail Architecture, a network-centric (surprise!) approach to handling distributed systems. The main ideas are to centralize, virtualize, and optimize. Getting as many servers out of the store and into the data center makes a lot of sense. Ever seen how hardware gets treated in stores? (Worst I've seen was in a bowling alley, but that's another story). Once most of the hardware is centralized, you'll want to consolidate by using virtualization. Then you'll want to optimize the network using compressing and caching. All of this has the goal of decreasing costs without sacrificing service-level-agreements.
Cisco's lean retail architecture provides the hardware and blueprints to make all this happen on a large scale. Seems like a pretty good recipe to me. While I'm not completely sold on centralized POS today, I think it holds promise for the future. An application that does make sense today is in-store inventory management. This tends to be a chatty application as it communicates with other stores and warehouses for transfers, receiving, and cycle counts. Cisco recently tested Oracle Retail Store Inventory Management (SIM) on the lean retail architecture and was able to show significant decreases in transaction time.
If you plan to be at NRF, you might stop by the Cisco booth and ask about Oracle SIM on Cisco's lean retail architecture.