HomeLife Plans Company-wide Deployment of Windows 2000

REDMOND, Wash., November 23, 1999 — It’s not often that a company gets the opportunity to build a computing infrastructure from the ground up. Designing a wide area network from scratch offers companies the opportunity to choose the best solution for their business — without making the compromises that come with migrating or integrating pre-existing, disparate systems. HomeLife, the former furniture division of Sears, recently found itself in such a position when it became a private company. One of its first and most important directives was to invest in a brand new IT infrastructure that would support more than 2,000 corporate and remote users in 127 locations nationwide.

The furniture retailer, based in Hoffman States, Ill., needed its computing environment to be fully operational in less than 18 months. It was looking for a cost-effective, reliable and scalable solution — one that could easily be deployed, administered and managed from a central location so that additional stores could be added seamlessly as the business expanded. And it needed a solution that could support the company’s e-commerce initiatives.

Believing Microsoft Windows 2000 interoperating with GERS Retail Systems Enterprise1 software on Data General’s NUMA platform was the best solution to handle HomeLife’s business plans, the company entered the Windows 2000 Rapid Deployment program and chose Data General, a Division of EMC Corporation, a major supplier of enterprise IT solutions, to help them deploy a Windows 2000-based network. Following an aggressive schedule, HomeLife will be able to power its business solution with Windows 2000 by February 2001.

“Windows 2000, combined with the Data General/GERS retail solution, will give us the best competitive advantage,” said Christopher Smith, chief information officer at HomeLife. “Reliability and scalability are critical for our long-term growth, and extending Windows 2000 throughout the enterprise will give us flexibility and business efficiency we need to power ourselves ahead.”

Windows 2000: Unprecedented Reliability, Increased Scalability

The Internet is radically transforming the way business works. Ideas travel faster, competitors react faster, and customers expect to be served faster. To thrive in this environment, business customers have told Microsoft they want an operating system that lets them rapidly exploit new ways of doing business, reduce operating costs, and build reliable systems for critical business functions. The Windows 2000 family of operating systems spans a wide range of computing needs, from the desktop to high-end clustered servers. Used in combination, Windows 2000 Professional and Windows 2000 Server are designed to create a solid foundation for today’s business.

Two of the top design objectives for Windows 2000 were to increase overall reliability and improve scalability. Microsoft conducted an unprecedented level of testing during the development of Windows 2000, depending heavily on customer feedback to deliver reliability improvements that are built into every major component of the operating system. These improvements include tools and features that help organizations eliminate reboots, increase system uptime, avoid memory leaks and run mission-critical applications.

Scalability improvements in Windows 2000 allow organizations to support large user populations running a wide range of applications, such as online transaction processing, electronic commerce, and email and messaging services. Windows 2000 is built from the ground up to meet the Internet needs of any business. For the enterprise, Windows 2000 features technologies that allow businesses to give their customers componentized, reliable and easy-to-use Web sites. For knowledge workers, tighter browser integration and improved extensibility provide the ability to browse faster, better and smarter.

“Windows 2000 brings together the ease of use and device support of Windows 98 and the reliability, manageability and scalability of Windows NT to Internet-enable knowledge workers and businesses alike,” said Microsoft president Steve Ballmer.

HomeLife Turns to Data General for a Windows 2000-Based Solution

With a limited number of IT staff, HomeLife needed a solutions provider that was an early adopter of Windows 2000, could provide strong technical and project management, and had a proven methodology that would ensure the success of the implementation. The company turned to Data General, a Division of EMC Corporation, because it was able to provide the right mix of experience with enterprise Windows computing, robust servers, and professional services.

The solution Data General will provide HomeLife includes the project management, design, implementation and deployment of the company’s wide area network supporting 127 locations and over 2,000 users.

The entire infrastructure will run on the Windows 2000 operating system — both on the desktop and servers. Data General’s AViiON servers will host a variety of Microsoft applications, including Microsoft Exchange Server, Internet Information Server, Active Directory, SQL Server 7.0, and Internet Explorer. Windows 2000-based AviiON servers are designed to provide both scalability and manageability, while reducing the total cost of ownership.

The system will also support Windows 2000 Professional on HomeLife’s desktops. Data General will begin deploying the desktop operating system in December for 300 employees at HomeLife’s corporate headquarters. By March 2000, the company plans to have Windows 2000 Professional deployed on an additional 1,700 desktops.

AViiON is a registered trademarks of EMC Corporation. Other trademarks are the property of their respective holders.

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