Alert Innovation

VividCloud Architects New Emulator for ASRS Micro-fullfillment

At A Glance:


The pilot system’s footprint in NH is almost 10,000 square feet

48 feet

Maximum height of an Alphabet System, to utilize all available space


Thousands of Tote positions to hold inventory picked from the store floor

About The Client:

Alert Innovation is a leader in e-Grocery technology based on its breakthrough Alphabot® platform. Alphabot® is a superior Micro-Fulfillment Center (MFC) technology that enables grocers to profitably support online ordering today. Founded in 2013, the company was acquired by Walmart in 2022.

Executive Summary

Alert Innovation was founded in 2013 and developed a cutting-edge Micro-Fulfilment system called Alphabot®. A micro-fulfillment is an automated robotic order fulfillment system with high storage density and high throughput, designed to fulfill orders within one hour. The density of the Alphabot® design allows Alert’s Innovation system to fit into small footprint locations, closer to the consumer, which is ideal for retail companies.

Alert asked VividCloud to join their team to create a resilient, reliable, and scalable release-ready product for the next phase of the company’s growth.

This is going to be a transformative impact on Walmart’s supply chain… [Alphabot is] an inventive merger of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar methods.”

Senior Manager

Key Challenges

  • Emulator had never yet received a dedicated software effort
  • Zero pre-existing automated or scripted emulations
  • Performance and reliability were inconsistent
  • Emulations could not run in parallel, which was a major bottleneck


VividCloud deployed a dedicated team to architect a new cloud-based, containerized solution for the emulator that would be much more flexible and scalable, and deliver a consistent configuration of the execution environment. The project was planned according to rapid Agile development practices and delivered in four phases.

Phase 1: Adding the new emulator

In Phase 1 of the project, a new emulator exposed a REST API allowing control of all emulation functionality. Emulation events and state changes were streamed over a message broker and the new emulator acted as a proxy to the old emulator via custom TCP protocol.

Phase 2: Removing the old emulator

Once it was validated that the new emulator provided identical results when proxying through the old,VividCloud migrated all emulation functionality into the new system and removed the old emulator.

Phase 3: Cloud migration

VividCloud migrated the emulator to the Azure cloud platform, placing all services in Docker containers on a Kubernetes cluster. Emulation runs were spun up and taken down with ease and multiple users executed multiple emulation scenarios simultaneously.

Phase 4: Completion

Finally, in Phase 4, VividCloud integrated Alert’s library of automated emulation scenarios and tests into a CI/CD pipeline for the deployment of the production software.

End Results

Alert Innovation overcame all of the challenges and limitations they faced with the original emulator, unlocking significant company growth. As Alert’s partner, VividCloud was proud to deliver on budget and ahead of schedule.

The new cloud-based and containerized emulator allows Alert to validate new builds of production software faster and more reliably, finding bugs before they make it into a production system, and significantly reducing the amount of manual testing required.

Alert, which was acquired by Walmart in 2022, was able to showcase notable Alphabot gains made possible because of the advances VividCloud brought to its new emulator, which included:

  • Automatically runs emulation tests and scenarios.
  • Uniform and stable emulation environments dramatically increase the number of bugs caught and decrease the number of false bugs reported.
  • Emulation tests and scenarios are run in CI/CD pipelines to validate production software quality and performance.
  • Aggregates data across multiple emulation runs to spot trends and/or potential performance bottlenecks.
  • The new emulation platform is extensible, designed to support future development initiatives.

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