In late 2003 the Gap Inc. Direct needed to revamp its entire end-to-end business technology platform — from the customer- facing front-end system, to the back-end order management application, to the business tools that supported the company’s long-term growth strategy. Previously, the Gap Direct’s e-commerce platform was largely built on Microsoft Windows. The need for new features — as well as concerns about the platform’s ability to scale given the retailer’s ambitious growth plans drove Gap Inc. Direct to evaluate alternative solutions to the Microsoft platform.
“Our growth was very strong and projected to continue for the foreseeable future, and we needed to scale to meet that growth,” said Jeff Arcuri, senior manager, IT for Gap Inc. Direct. “We knew we wouldn’t be able to do that cost-eff ectively with our existing systems and tools.”
GID’s team performed in-depth testing of three diff erent platforms for the revamped infrastructure: UNIX, Linux, and Windows. The decision turned out to be an easy one. Linux outperformed the other platforms.
“We were seeing a lot of momentum in the retail industry toward leveraging open source in general, and Linux in particular,” said Arcuri.
Once Linux was chosen as the operating system, his team put all the diff erent fl avors of Linux through testing using fi ve key criteria. “It had to meet our performance objectives; it had to be secure; and it had to be scalable and manageable within a large enterprise-class implementation, and fi t within our budget,” he said. “Red Hat Enterprise Linux was the clear winner.”
Although Red Hat Enterprise Linux was the new standard operating system across the enterprise, Gap Inc. Direct still had systems running UNIX platforms IBM AIX and Sun Solaris, as well as Microsoft Windows. As with all retailers, Gap Inc. Direct needed to perform audits to meet Payment Card Industry (PCI) and Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance requirements.