Online fashion retailer The Iconic last month shifted its website to an Amazon Web Services environment to address capacity issues after outgrowing its previous web host.
The retailer’s former chief technology officer Gavin Terrill - who left the company following the completion of the AWS project - realised soon after he joined the business in mid 2013 that it was growing faster than its web infrastructure could scale.
Its previous host took up to a week to action requests to spin up new virtual machines, and it could only scale up new virtual servers for a month, rather than for a few hours at a time.
This meant the retailer was forced to pre-plan and limit marketing activities for fear of hitting a capacity ceiling, and therefore running a website unable to cope with the load.
Terrill had expected to switch hosts in the near future but was forced to dramatically slim the timeline after six months of continued business growth.
“We wanted to move off our static hosting provider and move to something where we could bring servers on and bring servers off as the demand dictated," he said in a case study.
“We’re a very high volume website and growing super fast, we needed something that could handle the volumes that we anticipated, so that’s why we started to look at a cloud-based solution.”
The company - which is Australia’s largest fashion ecommerce site with nearly four million visits a month - opted for an AWS environment hosted out of the cloud provider’s Sydney Equinix facility, and migrated its site over in the two months before Christmas with the help of partner base2services.
It’s now making full use of AWS’ Elastic Compute Cloud (AC2), message queueing service Simple Queue Service (SQS), Relational Database Service (RDS), Simple Storage Service (S3), and NoSQL database service DynamoDB.
In the month since the migration, The Iconic is already claiming performance improvement of around 20 percent.
“We are now achieving one of the fastest site load times across the ecommerce landscape, of under 2 seconds,” The Iconic managing director Adam Jacobs said in a statement.
Next step: cloud ERP?
Terrill told iTnews the logical next step for the business would be to look at shifting to a cloud model for its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
The Iconic currently runs an on-premise version of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV platform, but Terrill said the system may not continue to be appropriate if the retailer continues on its trajectory of growth - he said in the last year and a half, orders placed to the site had doubled.
"They have to figure out whether it will keep up with demand," he said.
"We were starting to see creaks towards the end of last year. Ideally, from a management and budgetary point of view, you'd want to go to the cloud."