Report: Sears May Convert Some Auto Centers into Data Centers
November 15, 2013 9:52 AM
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(Source: Datacenter Knowledge)
Sears says it could move fast if it decides data centers are the way to go
U.S. retailer Sears has a number of locations spread across the country in malls, and also has a sizeable number of standalone locations. Many of those locations have automotive service centers attached.
A new report indicates that Ubiquity Critical Environments, which is the data center unit of Sears Holdings, is currently considering a plan to convert some of its Sears Auto Centers into data centers.
Ubiquity is reportedly currently working with Schneider Electric on a proposal to build and operate mission-critical facilities in a number of markets around the country. Snyder Electric is a provider of data center equipment and services in the U.S.
Initially the exploration looked at converting old Sears and Kmart retail stores and warehouses into large data centers. However, it turned out that many of the promising locations were located near data center hubs that would have Ubiquity competing with existing providers.
Rather than competing head-to-head with the existing providers, Ubiquity changed its focus to look at converting smaller footprint locations in secondary markets. Sears believes that existing Auto Centers would be ideal for that strategy, especially stand-alone locations.
Sears has over 50 stand-alone automotive service center facilities typically located on the perimeter of shopping malls. Many of these locations are between 25,000 and 50,000 ft.² and have ceiling heights of around 16 feet. Ubiquity wants to convert some of these locations into data centers with between 1.2 MW and 2.4 MW of IT capacity.
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11/17/2013 4:51:54 AM
You can actually get pretty damn good deals on appliances at Sears. Wait for a sale and you can get them as cheap or cheaper than anywhere else.
Unfortunately, I don't feel their CEO really knows what the hell he's doing. My experience has been that the sale staff is basically being forced to do things like complete sales on iPads for appearances, even when it is faster and more efficient just to use the old registers. In addition there are bugs with the connection between the two technologies and due to these problems on one occasion I was forced to waste an hour waiting around to complete an exchange due to these problems.
In my opinion efficiency and inconveniencing the customer should always be favored over using newfangled gadgets. I would have been more impressed if the problem I mentioned above had been resolved within 15 minutes than if the exchange was handled on the iPad (which it ultimately was not anyway).
I just don't think the CEO gets what is involved in running a satisfying retail operation. There's too much theory about what should be good, and not enough cold reality of what works. In addition he's implemented a system where the divisions of the company have to compete with one another, and this has resulted in them promoting outside products at the expense of products made by other divisions (such as Kenmore).
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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