Saturday, November 25, 2017

Ocado penetrates data centre game with open source package

Online giant bases new technology on containers and Kubernetes system targeting smart factories.

The world’s largest online-only supermarket, Ocado, has made its way into the data centre arena with the launch of a free and open source package designed to simplify data centre architectures for smart factories and reduce CAPEX.

Named Kubermesh, the solution uses container-based technology and the Kubernetes system to implement an on-premise private cloud architecture.

By deploying Kubermesh, Ocado said used will be able to work with easily configurable desktop computers which can be turned into nodes that support the compute or storage functionality typically delivered by a high-performance server in a data centre.

Kubermesh-based nodes have been designed to process the vast amounts of real-time data generated in smart factories such as automated warehouses.

Ocado explained in a statement that by distributing data centre functionality in a mesh network of nodes, Kubermesh removes the need for a dedicated data centre and complex networking infrastructure, thus achieving significant energy savings and reducing the capital and operational expenditures associated with maintaining on-premise high-performance servers.

Chris Dabrowski, general manager of infrastructure, operations and site reliability engineering at Ocado Technology, said: “Kubermesh is an elegant and cost-efficient solution to running our highly-automated Customer Fulfillment Centers based on a distributed network of computing nodes spread around the warehouse rather than high-performance servers concentrated in one large data centre.

“This is a bold idea that has the potential to revolutionize the way companies approach on-site data centre architectures. Thanks to the power of open source software such as Kubernetes, our platform automation team was able to quickly design a working prototype and develop it further based on advanced simulations of our future warehouse automation requirements.”

Ocado Technology is planning to use the same container technology and Kubernetes system to build an upcoming massive multiplayer online game (MMO) that teaches secondary school students the principles of artificial intelligence (AI).

The open source game will be developed and promoted as part of the Code for Life initiative started by Ocado Technology volunteers to inspire the next generation of computer scientists.