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Ocado taps Kubernetes to deliver open source software for smart factories

Open source software is designed to simplify data center architectures for smart factories.

By Ellie Burns

Kubermesh – not the latest food fad to hit the digital shelves of Ocado, the world’s largest online-only supermarket, but instead an open source offering from the online supermarket’s tech division, Ocado Technology.

Kubermesh is a free and open source package designed to simplify data centre architectures for smart factories.

Utilising container based-tech and the Kubernetes system, Kubermesh implements an an on-premise private cloud architecture where desktop computers can be easily configured to become nodes that support the compute or storage functionality typically delivered by a high-performance server in a data center.

“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 center,” said Chris Dabrowski, general manager of infrastructure, operations and site reliability engineering at Ocado Technology.

READ MORE: Ocado reveals its 4G-based protocol for robot powered warehouses

“This is a bold idea that has the potential to revolutionize the way companies approach on-site data center architectures.”

Designed to answer the real-time data demands generated in smart factories such as automated warehouses, Kubermesh-based nodes are fault-tolerant, secure and flexible. By distributing data center functionality in a mesh network of nodes, Kubermesh removes the need for a dedicated data center and complex networking infrastructure, thus achieving significant energy savings and reducing the capital and operational expenditures associated with maintaining on-premise high-performance servers.

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“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,” said Mr Dabrowski.

“We’re very excited to continue unlocking the potential of container technology at Ocado and hope that the open source community uses Kubermesh in new and exciting ways.”

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