International retailer data synchronization

An international retailer utilizes SymmetricDS to synchronize all store data across the United States, Europe, and Asia.

The Organization

Columbus, OH


Number of Nodes

The United States-based retailer in this case study is a specialty retailer of high-quality, casual apparel for men, women and kids.  The retailer currently has over 1000 stores, multiple brands, and stores in the United States, Europe, and Asia

The Challenge

The demands of the retailer’s international expansion goals required new store systems and infrastructure. One key component of their new infrastructure was the need for a single, reliable mechanism for data synchronization between their central office and stores.

After selecting a retail Point-of-Sale (POS) system, they next sought out a data synchronization infrastructure which would:

  • Guarantee data integrity and consistency across more than one thousand stores and thousands of registers across the globe
  • Gracefully handle international network connectivity inconsistencies to ensure that registers can continue to function even when network access is temporarily unavailable
  • Provide for near real-time, multi-directional data synchronization that would meet their needs, including staging and synchronizing item, pricing, deals, tax, and employee information needed by their new POS systems
  • Provide a simple, centralized location for the consolidation, maintaining, and sending of store-specific data
  • Be prepared to scale to additional stores and countries as the business requires
  • Minimize hardware needs when possible to reduce overall cost and complexity
  • Allow easy integration to existing enterprise systems

The retailer also needed an implementation partner that understood the complexities, common pitfalls, and best practices for establishing and managing such a wide network of hardware, software and data.

The Solution

The retailer partnered with JumpMind, Inc. and selected JumpMind’s open-source SymmetricDS change data capture product as the solution to their data exchange challenges and needs. SymmetricDS provides a single, consistent data exchange platform for movement of all data between stores and the central office.  In addition, it is designed to guarantee data delivery to target systems and provide notification when synchronization issues arise.

SymmetricDS is built to withstand network environmental issues and is ideal for enabling synchronization to stores located across the globe.  Due toSymmetricDS’ ability to seamlessly synchronize all needed data to each register, every register is available for ringing sales even when completely disconnected from the network.

SymmetricDS also provides near-real-time data synchronization from both the stores to the central office and vice versa.  SymmetricDS’ carefully tuned performance even allows for quick price correction or adjustments by the business based on up-to-the-minute sales data when needed.

With SymmetricDS, the retailer has a single centralized location for sending data to the stores and for consolidating data from the stores.  SymmetricDS allows data to be reliably routed to specific locations based on store numbers in the data itself, or by brand, by country, or any other segmentation the retailer might need. Not only is SymmetricDS used to synchronize core Retail POS tables, but it is also used to synchronize and route custom tables that contain country, brand and store-specific parameters, clock punches and employee schedule data. The software even plays a key part in the ability to deploy marketing and software to the stores by utilizing the synchronization capabilities built into SymmetricDS.

SymmetricDS utilizes existing web standards and thus scales easily with minimal effort.  This provides the confidence and security of being able to support additional stores and/or countries without worrying about data synchronization issues resulting from increasing scale.

Furthermore, SymmetricDS also allowed the retailer to move away from a typical store server architecture to a regionalized, web-based architecture.   Stores are organized by time zones and communicate with shared regional servers.  This allows maintenance to be performed during non-peak hours by time-zone and also reduces hardware costs and complexity for each store.

Finally, SymmetricDS’s many, flexible extension points are used by the retailer to integrate with their existing enterprise systems. For example, an extension point is used to update original transactions in the corporate database during the trickle back of return transaction data.  Extensions are also used to integrate sales data in XML format to Sales Audit, Human Resources applications, and other systems using standard messaging protocols.  In addition, because SymmetricDS is based on standard web technologies, communication is secured using standard web practices to meet both PCI and general security best practices.

The Results

“The flexibility and scalability of SymmetricDS has been instrumental in our successful rollout of store systems into new regions of the world.  The ease of operation and reliability have made SymmetricDS one of the backbones of our global systems.”
– Project Manager

The retailer is currently using JumpMind’s SymmetricDS 2.0 in production in over 1100 stores world-wide, with a full set of store data being synchronized to over 6000 registers. SymmetricDS provides the retailer near-real-time updates of sales data to the business, as well as the needed synchronization for updating pricing and promotions in a timely fashion.  By choosing SymmetricDS, the retailer now has a stable, common synchronization infrastructure for their store systems which meets or exceeds all of their current business requirements and is ready to scale to meet anticipated growth as the chain continues to expand internationally.