Sherwin-Williams Consumer Group Takes on Rosy Hue with Help from Red Hat

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May 14, 2009

Customer: Sherwin-Williams Company

Industry: Manufacturing
Geography: North America
Country: United States

Business Challenge:

To develop and deploy functionally rich Web applications using a standards-based platform supported by a single vendor for both home office and field use

Migration Path:

HP/UX and Windows to Red Hat Enterprise Linux


Red Hat Enterprise Linux, JBoss Enterprise Middleware


x86 servers


Improve time to market of mission-critical applications. Increase staff productivity and efficiency using JBoss Enterprise Middleware. Higher-quality applications.


Founded in 1866, The Sherwin-Williams Company is a global leader in the manufacture, development, distribution, and sale of coatings and related products to professional, industrial, commercial, and retail customers around the world. The company manufactures products under well-known brands such as Sherwin-Williamsandreg;, Dutch Boyandreg;, Krylonandreg;, Minwaxandreg;, Thompsonand#x2019;sandreg; Water Sealandreg;, and many more. For more than 143 years, Sherwin-Williams has been committed to making and marketing innovative products of superior quality; operating a safe, clean and friendly workplace while observing the highest ethical standards in business conduct. With global headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio Sherwin-Williams branded products are sold exclusively through a chain of more than 3,300 company-operated stores and facilities, while the companyand#x2019;s other brands are sold through leading mass merchandisers, home centers, independent paint dealers, hardware stores, automotive retailers, and industrial distributors. The Sherwin-Williams Global Group distributes a wide range of products in more than 30 countries around the world. For more information, visit

Business Challenge:

To develop and deploy functionally rich Web applications using a standards-based platform supported by a single vendor for both home office and field use


After bringing JBoss in-house and putting it through a rigorous due diligence process, Flowers was satisfied he’d found a suitable solution. “Given our existing commitment to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, our business goals and our desire to be very forward-thinking in our approach to Web applications, JBoss was the logical choice,” he said. Today, Sherwin-Williams is using JBoss Enterprise Middleware, specifically JBoss Developer Studio and JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, in addition to running its Web IT infrastructure on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Especially helpful was the fact that members of the Red Hat team did more than just fulfill the sales order; they provided Sherwin-Williams with strategic planning advice. “Red Hat sent experienced professionals over who had an in-depth knowledge of the JBoss offerings,” said Flowers. “We outlined what we were trying to accomplish, talked about our future plans, and were introduced to JBoss’ integrated development environment. This gave us a great head start. You can get plagued about what to use, what not to use, and what will be around down the road.” By standardizing on the Red Hat product line, “We know our platform, we know it will be supported, and we can get our people up to speed quickly and efficiently,” he said.

Flowers also liked the access he was given to senior Red Hat and JBoss engineers. As part of his due diligence, he attended JBoss World, the JBoss annual user conference, last year, and was “ pleased to meet the actual engineers who created the products I’d be using,” he said. “That kind of direct access is rare among top-tier IT vendors.”


One of the benefits of adopting JBoss has been a development cycle time savings. “One of our primary goals was to create a swift Web development environment,” said Tracey Richards, manager of Electronic Commerce Services for Sherwin-Williams. “We’ve now begun to reach that goal.”

“We attended training, defined our scope, and documented our standards in preparation for development using JBoss,” said Flowers. Sherwin-Williams has also been able to reduce its overall technology portfolio. Since AJAX is embedded in the JBoss middleware stack and developers don’t have to deal with Java scripting, there is less code to manage and maintain.

Implementing a standards-based platform from one technology provider was a critical driver of Sherwin-Williams’ decision to go with JBoss. “Since we were developing business-critical systems, we wanted a single vendor to support the entire software stack, from top to bottom,” said Richards.

“We feel confident developing Web applications having the applications stack and operating system from the same vendor,” agreed Flowers. “Whether we get our account manager on the phone, or a Linux or JBoss expert, we’re certain that we will be well served.”

“JBoss has been a great fit for solving our primary business and technical challenges,” said Flowers. “We’ve accelerated the process of getting developers trained and up to speed. We’ve managed to get our arms around a vast set of web technologies by limiting our scope while providing our business users with the applications they need to be successful.”

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