The dynamic development of Redan’s mobile app meant that the company decided – for the first time in history – to implement a cloud solution to maintain the highest standards of its use. The company decided to choose a project by Tameshi, based on Amazon Web Services (AWS) tools. – That was a reasonable decision, focused on long-term development, but taking a little bit of courage from us as well. Today we are certain that it was worth it – we’ve gained new tools that enable us to develop the company dynamically – points Paweł Kalinowski, IT director at the Redan Group.
The Redan Group is one of the leading companies on the Polish market dealing with the design and distribution of clothing. The company’s portfolio includes famous fashion brands, such as Top Secret, Troll, Drywash and the TXM discount clothing network, and the distribution of products is carried out through own stores, franchise stores and e-commerce platform. The Group has got over 620 stores in Poland and abroad (in Russia and Ukraine).
The main benefits of the implementation designed by Tameshi are better availability of the mobile app and IT system scalability depending on the load. – It also allowed us to improve the sales flow, which translates into customer satisfaction and business results – emphasizes Paweł Kalinowski from Redan. The project using the AWS environment also resulted in the fact that Redan plans to further develop cloud tools.
Advantages of microservices and clouds
Redan has its own advanced IT infrastructure dedicated to all business processes within the company, while the e-commerce platform is fully outsourced. – Using our own hardware, we created new elements of the mobile app, but we wanted them to reach a fully scalable environment, independent of our internal processes. We wanted the application to work smoothly when there’s a need to update or modernize our system, and – at the same time – to dynamically respond to changing user traffic and activity. At the same time, we wanted to leave the application under our supervision, but to connect it consistently with part of e-commerce as well, since the app is largely an online store conveniently transferred to mobile devices – explains Paweł Kowalski.
Prior to the implementation of cloud solutions, Redan had one, very large, monolithic app that was to be divided into smaller components. – The idea was to create microservices and hold them in the external environment. There are, among others, practical reasons for such a solution, because if a certain function in a monolithic app fails – any other component stops functioning as well. Dividing it into microservices means that the whole is able to work without a particular element. So if, for example, the shopping cart in the online store isn’t working work – you can still browse the products, compare them with each other, etc. This means that development teams can focus only on fixing a tiny element, without taking care of the rest – explains Maciej Cetler, CTO Tameshi Investment.
Monolithic app also means, with increased traffic, the need for much more resources, and thus, higher costs of maintaining IT infrastructure. – When it comes to microservices at higher load, it’s enough to increase the number of user authorization elements. This means we don’t need much hardware to handle the sudden increase in traffic, since we only increase the number of small components – says Maciej Cetler.
Furthermore, after moving the environment to the cloud, the company pays only for the resources it uses. Scalability allows to instantly respond to changes, so there’s no need to buy servers for backup, which after the December sales peak, for instance, will be unused. On the one hand, the AWS-based solution guarantees that the company will always have the resources necessary to support its business processes, and on the other hand – prevents against unprofitable excess.
We offered Redan the AWS cloud and to use its basic autoscaling functions to make microservice scaling dependent on processor load. We also recommended creating a hybrid environment – connecting the client’s data center with the Amazon cloud. We managed to achieve all this together, and the Redan team learned about microservice creation tools, found out how to develop them and how to manage cloud infrastructure – says Maciej Cetler.
Professionalism and openness – “chemistry” in business
Redan received a cloud solution proposal from several companies. – The choice of Tameshi, as sometimes happens when it comes to business, was determined by “chemistry”. We were aware from the very beginning that these people knew what we were talking about. They knew our needs and understood the way we wanted to approach the problem, but – at the same time – they didn’t stick to the initial pattern, we really liked it. We showed them how our app is prepared and how we would like to work on it, together we discussed solutions proposed by both parties. They recommended a way for us to implement, presented the tools, explained how to use them and let us figure out many things at our own pace. We are not an easy customer either, we have our beaten paths and our own vision that is essential to us. Tameshi engineers understood this very well, thanks to which the cooperation was very smooth – admits Paweł Kalinowski.
The entire implementation, as always, started with IT system and customer needs analysis. – Next, we presented the recommended architecture of the solution and later we carried out the implementation together, working at the headquarters of Redan. We’ve spent several weeks in there and the effect of our joint work was architecture modification for the most current client needs. – explains Maciej Cetler. He adds that important technical aspects in this case were, among others: the use of VPN security between the AWS cloud and Redan data centers, autoscaling, the use of databases and the so-called cloudcross. During each phase of migration, Redan engineers were provided with knowledge about AWS and the key – in this case – Jenkins technology, allowing the automation of software development and testing. – Containerization using Docker mechanisms was part of the application sharing as well. Today we already know that our cooperation with Redan in this area is just getting started, since we have a wider use of this mechanism in other areas – admits Maciej Cetler.
We assumed that we would need Tameshi during the implementation phase and for a short post-implementation period. We wanted to learn these tools so that we could use them easily in the future – and we succeeded. The new solution also allowed us to maintain full control over the entire process, which is crucial for us. And we are still working with Tameshi, as we are planning further moves to the cloud, which will allow us to save money on the purchase of the new hardware – claims Paweł Kalinowski.
Hybrid cloud – tiny steps into modern technology
The cloud solution wasn’t the cheapest option Redan had. – However, we managed to convince the management board that it was an investment that will translate into greater business opportunities and savings, especially due to better availability of the application and its stability. It’s also a gain when it comes to the company’s image. We started with one application, but since we have found out about the many advantages of this solution, we are already going to expand it in the area of e-commerce – admits Paweł Kalinowski.
When planning to move the system to the cloud, assuming a huge and complicated technological revolution isn’t necessary, it’s enough – using a hybrid solution – to start with small steps. – AWS itself offers such migration techniques, for instance, at the beginning one app or part of the system and then the next, small stages. Therefore, it’s worth considering such an investment, for example, when a company struggles with the problem of insufficient server room capacity or when it’s looking for long-term hardware savings. It’s worth deciding on an external audit, proof of concept (a research confirming the validity of the concept), and then, moving one production application. After this stage, the client begins to see the benefits of the cloud and it’s already a one way road – adds Maciej Cetler.
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