2012.02.15 - Groupe FLO ensures the availability of its business applications with Exceliance load balancing solution
Jouy-en-Josas, February 15, 2012 – Exceliance announces that Groupe Flo has deployed its ALOHA load balancer to provide over 1,000 users – located at the head office and at over 300 restaurants – with access to the information system 24/7, during peak business periods and during maintenance.
An information system distributed between the head office and over 300 restaurants
With over 300 restaurants located in France and abroad, 136 of which are franchises, Groupe Flo is the themed restaurant leader in France with brands such as Hippopotamus, La Taverne de Maître Kanter, Tablapizza, Bistro Romain, as well as the iconic La Coupole and Bofinger brasseries in Paris. The IT department, based at head office, provides all the restaurants with the business tools they need. However, the information system, which has approximately 1,000 users, is completely distributed between the restaurants (cash front-office, business back-office) and the head office which hosts central applications (accounting back-office, messaging, virtual desktops for around 100 mobile workers, etc.).
Starting point – high availability of the accounting application
Accounting and financial management (Oracle Applications) is one of Groupe Flo’s most critical applications. Because the group is listed on the stock exchange, Groupe Flo’s 50 accountants must meet extremely short deadlines when producing financial reports. After migrating Oracle Applications from Tru64 on Alpha (which reached its end of life) to a new platform, availability rates decreased sharply, especially during times when the restaurants connected to send their information (at 7:00 am and 11:00 pm).
The IT department began looking for an upgradeable, centralized and comprehensive solution to ensure high availability of applications accessed by remote users and workers at the head office, and that also offered flexibility for times for front-end server maintenance.
Easy to roll out and use, plus an extremely competitive price
Load balancing is not a new concept for Groupe Flo. Since 1999, the traffic of the group’s websites (hosted on Linux servers) has been balanced using HAProxy Open Source solution, used and enriched by Exceliance for its own load balancers. To improve availability and performance of its business applications, Groupe Flo chose to work with Exceliance engineers who had a good grasp of its IT environment and economic constraints.
“We wanted to acquire a solution that offered more features and was easy to rollout, but still affordable. Exceliance suggested we tested its ALOHA solution. Our team quickly became familiar with and mastered it very quickly,” said Jean Landron, Groupe Flo Systems Manager. “Additionally, the graphical administration interface was more user-friendly and simpler for the IT management team than the command line.”
Groupe Flo selected ALOHA 2K (2 load balancers in a single 1U rack) in active/passive mode in December 2009. In addition to its features, the decisive factors for Groupe Flo were its competitive price, low energy consumption (7 W) and capacity for future upgrades.
A flexible solution
The ALOHA load balancer kept all its promises. It provided a marked increase in the availability rate for all applications, for users at the head office and the restaurants, including during times when there is a high load on the Oracle Applications servers. Its ability to reroute traffic during maintenance now enables IT teams to work during the week, and not at night or on weekends, without interrupting services.
To reduce IT costs, Groupe Flo is gradually centralizing all of its infrastructure at the head office. Applications used at its restaurants, that are currently available in client/server mode, will be migrated to Citrix XenApp, so that will be accessible by Web browser. Access will be guaranteed by ALOHA for better response times and 24/7 availability.