Albertsons can produce payroll 50% faster using Oracle Cloud Infrastructure for 265,000 employees
Groceries were the only business that saw a significant increase in demand after the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Consumers flocked to grocery stores to stock up on food ingredients for home cooking when restaurants were closed.
The United States supermarket operator Albertsons Companies saw a substantial increase in sales during the recent health crisis. Sales increased by 34% in March and April 2020, compared to last year.
Albertsons had to increase its workforce and upgrade its IT infrastructure because of the increased demand. The company had already begun a plan to migrate its highly customized, on-premises human resources applications to the cloud a few years ago. This would allow the grocery giant, worth $70 billion, to scale its payroll quickly and economically for nearly 300,000.
Albertsons, which was founded in 1939, is the 2nd-largest grocery chain North America with 2,252 locations. It has multiple subsidiaries including Safeway and Vons, Jewel, Tom Thumb, Jewels, Jewel, Pavilions. Shaw’s Star Market, Haggen. Andronico’s.
Stores are being under greater pressure to deliver a great customer experience as the U.S. grocery industry becomes more competitive. This means that they need to be more flexible and adaptable. Albertsons Companies established a corporate mandate in 2019 to modernize its technology platform and move out of corporate data centers. Albertsons chose Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP as part of their plan.
The transformation of Albertsons to Oracle Cloud HCM/ERP would take approximately 36 months. There would be several implementation waves. The company was looking for an interim solution to quickly move its PeopleSoft Payroll application from the legacy system to the cloud. The company needed to speed up its payroll processing, as the software was approaching end-of-life. Albertsons had to adhere to a strict weekly payroll cycle for approximately 265,000 employees.
Albertsons compared several options and decided that the best way forward was to migrate its PeopleSoft Payroll environment into Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, including moving its Oracle database from Oracle Exadata Database Service.
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Sambuddha Ghosh, Albertsons Solutions Architect, says that the PeopleSoft expertise Oracle offers and the support and benefits we would get from the Oracle Advanced Customer Services team in helping us migrate PeopleSoft into OCI were key factors in our decision.
A unique virtual cloud network topology
Albertsons PeopleSoft Payroll was transferred to an unique multiple virtual cloud network topology (VCN) on OCI by the Oracle Advanced Customer Services team in order to make it viable.
Ghosh says, “Working with Oracle Advanced Customer Services has been amazing.” “Oracle helped to understand how we could successfully move everything that was end-of-life or very close to end-of life. The team helped us to plan the project and provided updates each step of the process.
This is how the new configuration works.
The figure below shows that Albertsons has five VCNs. One VCN (VCN00), is a transit VCN that allows external users to access Albertsons network via OCI and through a Web Application Firewall. External users then are routed to an Oracle public load balancer. Once they are inside the grocer’s subnet, all external users will be routed to a WebLogic/ForgeRock Identity Gateway. This validates their single sign on (SSO), and authorizes their access policies within an Azure Active Directory. The external transit VCN is then peered to VCN 02 for production. Both are located in Oracle’s San Jose cloud region. The production VCN is then redirected to a third VCN. It is located in an Ashburn, Virginia, disaster recovery and nonproduction cloud region.
Albertsons internal users connect to a fourth VCN (VCN01) via a site-tosite VPN. They are then transferred to a private loadbalancer. Internal users connect to Albertsons’ private subnet via the WebLogic/ForgeRock Identity Gateway. This validates their SSO, and then authorizes their access policies within an Azure Active Directory. This transit VCN is then peered into the production VCN at San Jose. It is then peered into the Ashburn disaster recovery and nonproduction environments.
OMCS personnel also use VCN VCN 04 as a transit VCN. They manage and support OCI tenancy for the company and can access VCN via a site to-site VPN. After that, they pass through a dynamic routing gateway.
Albertsons’ production environment uses eight virtual machines for PeopleSoft Payroll. All payroll data is stored on an Oracle Database 19c which runs on a quarter-rack Exadata Database Service. It supports two node Oracle Real Application Clusters, maximizing availability and access to shared storage. Two additional Exadata Database Service quarter racks are available in Ashburn to support disaster recovery and non-production environments. Oracle Data Guard copies the database and non-database components for disaster recovery (DR). The DR environment uses the same configuration as production. However, the DR database is on an Exadata Database Service server, but it shares the database with a number of non-production environments. Albertsons selected Oracle Enterprise Database Service for support of third-party software applications. These databases are run on virtual machines.
Improving speed & flexibility
Albertsons has been able to produce its weekly payroll half as fast since moving PeopleSoft from on-premises to OCI in May 2021.
Ghosh says, “Because we do payroll weekly it’s crucial to ensure that all the divisions and groups get paid within a set timeframe.” The Exadata migration was a huge help on this front. We have seen a significant improvement in performance, and the time it takes to process payroll has decreased significantly.
Albertsons is now able to scale OCI at predetermined times, which has helped improve its payroll processes’ efficiency and core horsepower. They can quickly power down non-production areas that aren’t in great demand. They can be quickly scaled back when those resources become needed again. Albertsons can optimize its OCI consumption to control costs.
Albertsons’ on-premises PeopleSoft Payroll workstation was moved to OCI to give it more flexibility to adapt to future growth and other changes. The company can now focus on its long-term migrations from Oracle Cloud HCM to ERP and OCI provides a clear path for integrating with its corporate cloud strategy. Most importantly, however, Albertsons can modernize its entire IT infrastructure and not have to disrupt its payroll operations.