New Sears subsidiary offers cloud computing services

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears Holdings announced the launch of a wholly owned subsidiary called MetaScale, that will provide data-management services.

Sears sees the venture as a natural expansion of the resources it has spent to build the infrastructure it needs to manage data for its more than 4,000 Sears and Kmart stores nationwide.

“We have this great capability," said Tom Aiello, a Sears Holdings VP public relations, in a report by Crain’s Chicago Business. "Why don't we go ahead and take this to other companies that can benefit, and get the revenue?"

Sears is not the only retailer to extend its services in this manner, Amazon.com made its elastic compute cloud, known as EC2, available for public use and has since further developed its web services division

The new Sears unit specializes in solutions for traditional brick-and-mortar enterprises across all industry verticals looking to efficiently establish and grow their big data expertise, experience immediate tactical success and begin to build out their fundamental big data capability in an organized and precise fashion, the company said.

"MetaScale is uniquely positioned to serve the needs of large-scale enterprise projects," said Sears Holdings CIO Keith Sherwell in a statement. "From a competitive standpoint, MetaScale has identified a gap in the market to provide a superior managed services model to other large-scale traditional enterprises that haven't taken advantage of or investigated the potential of Apache Hadoop."

MetaScale provides managed services related to the widely adopted Apache Hadoop data management framework, enabling enterprises to drive new business value from their data with end-to-end solutions through a secure, private cloud environment.

MetaScale's services include building and configuring the Hadoop cluster; operating, managing and monitoring the cluster; integrating with other data management technologies; running data-cleansing and other data management projects; writing and developing MapReduce applications; and custom solution design and system integration.