COMMERCE, Calif. — Unified Grocers  here is testing a disaster-recovery order collection application that runs "the cloud"— that is, an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), a web service that provides "resizable compute capacity," according to its website.
"We felt it was a perfect application to test cloud computing with limited exposure," said Gary Herman, chief information officer for Unified Grocers.
This application allows Unified to redirect orders sent from its retail customers to the cloud if they are unable to connect to Unified's corporate data center or if the system that collects the orders is unavailable due to server issues.
"Our store-level PC senses that we are unable to connect and then sends the orders to the cloud for later processing," said Herman.
Using the cloud instead "saved us a significant capital investment," said Herman. "We didn't have to buy a server."
In addition, the deployment has been quick and is based on pay-as-you-go usage. Under way for a couple of months in a few stores, the pilot is "working well," said Herman.
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