Turbolinux, IBM to cover Sherwin-Williams stores

Paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams Co. announced that it is installing an in-store network that will consist of 9,700 IBM NetVista personal computers running Turbolinux.

In a major coup for both Turbolinux and IBM, paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams Co. announced Thursday that it is installing an in-store network that will consist of 9,700 IBM NetVista personal computers running Turbolinux.

The multi-million dollar deal, which Ralph Martino, the vice president of strategy for IBM Global Services in Armonk, N.Y, called the largest Linux deployment ever in the U.S. retail industry, would see Sherwin-Williams roll the network out across its 2,500 stores in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.

Each store will have two to three workstations, with another serving as an in-store server, with the goal of improving customer service by enabling accessibility to servers and their respective applications from any workstation in the store, Martino told eWeek in an interview.

"Sherwin-Williams asked IBM Global Services to migrate its retail stores legacy operating systems from SCO Unix to Linux. They wanted us to implement a new point-of-sale environment in the stores that consisted of both IBM and other OEM hardware. They wanted a more open, non-proprietary end-to-end solution from us," he said.

All Sherwin-Williams legacy point-of-sale and inventory applications have been ported to Linux. Peripherals like printers, scanners, cash drawers and switches would be Linux compatible and bought from some 12 hardware vendors.

Five installations have already been completed at stores in Cleveland, and the remaining stores would be done before the end of the second quarter of 2003. IBM Global Services will provide maintenance and technical support on an ongoing basis.

Bill Thompson, Director of Information Technology for Sherwin-Williams Paint Stores Group, in Cleveland said the company needs flexible technical solutions to maintain leadership in its competitive environment.

"We need a customer facing platform that can be easily integrated with our future and existing systems. The solution weve developed with IBM will help us do that," he said.

This latest Linux win follows that of advertising agency BBDO Interactive, which in February announced that it would use Linux to develop and host Web sites and applications for those clients who required availability of 99.99 percent and higher for their business-critical applications.