Multi Cloud & Co-Location Migration
About ZulilyZulily is an online retailer that focuses on bringing a fun, personalized shopping experience to its 6.6 million customers. The company’s business model is highly dynamic: they launch over 100 sales a day featuring 9,000 styles for 72 hours— all while holding minimal inventory that spans a breadth of categories, including apparel, health & beauty, home and pets from 15,000 brands. Zulily, which reported $1.8 billion in revenue in 2018, is headquartered in Seattle with fulfillment centers in Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
The Challenge and Why Amazon Web ServicesZulily was running their business-critical applications across multiple cloud providers and was looking to simplify in an increasingly competitive landscape. Back in 2017, Zulily partnered with 1Strategy, a Premier AWS Consulting Partner, for a migration discovery, planning, and automation engagement to first understand the migration to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and then assist in the automation of assets to AWS. 1Strategy leveraged their AWS expertise to identify which AWS services might be used to help Zulily complete the migration and reduce costs. As part of the engagement, 1Strategy created a migration plan which included a cost estimation for migration to AWS of infrastructure across various parts of the business, including its store, mobile application, and supply chain, and provided a summary of best practices and specific recommendations. Zulily used this report and conclusively decided to move forward to begin their migration to AWS. 1Strategy’s assistance in mapping their compute, storage, and database usage needs to the appropriate AWS service was critical to Zulily’s migration success. “Zulily’s collaboration with 1Strategy was driven by our goal to consolidate and migrate our cloud computing capabilities. We selected AWS due to its cost benefits in addition to its scalable, reliable, and flexible cloud computing benefits,” said Matt Francis, VP of Technology at Zulily. “1Strategy assessed our needs and aided in our migration to AWS which were valuable to our unique and continually growing business.”
Zulily’s AWS journey entailed migrating multiple mission-critical applications on various cloud services and co-location environments. Zulily’s repeat engagement with 1Strategy involved their participation with the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) and the AWS Enterprise Discount Program (EDP). MAP was developed to help companies like Zulily undertake the mass migration of workloads from any cloud to AWS.
1Strategy aided Zulily with their migration by providing high-level guidance on cost optimization, database migrations, and offered best practices and advice on AWS services and AWS architecture moving forward. “Zulily found from experience that building, deploying to, and running multiple cloud and co-location environments became cost prohibitive to our growing business. There are significant hidden costs when operating a business on multiple cloud providers, including duplication of efforts, data egress charges, and lack of standardization. What worked in multi-cloud and co-location at first, became unmanageable as we grew,” said Francis.
Cost Optimization and Automation
In order for Zulily to determine the business and technical feasibility of consolidating from multiple cloud providers to AWS they needed help identifying the costs associated with consolidating on AWS. 1Strategy used custom cost modeling tools to map and provide accurate cost models to Zulily that provided the business justification needed.
Zulily’s application team was able to receive recommendations on areas for optimization which allowed them to accurately calculate their AWS spend. 1Strategy was able to model Zulily’s infrastructure and created a Terraform script that enabled Zulily to automate the deployment of their RabbitMQ stack to AWS. As a result, Zulily was able to migrate their Vendor Portal app, while having peace of mind that they could recreate the stack in minutes via Terraform automation.
Terraform scripts were also created to deploy Tableau servers which will enable Zulily to visualize important business metrics. Tableau integrates with Zulily’s business data to empower them to maximize the return on their organization’s data. In addition, 1Strategy helped migrate some of Zulily’s applications from Apache Mesos to Kubernetes on AWS.
As part of the migration, 1Strategy assisted Zulily with mapping their existing big data technologies usage patterns to identify which AWS service would best meet the required big data use case for their various internal analytics and reporting workloads.
Zulily also migrated critical MariaDB servers to Amazon Relation Database Service (Amazon RDS) MariaDB. Utilizing Amazon RDS allows Zulily to scale as API calls to their backend spike. Plus, Amazon RDS frees Zulily from having to manage and patch database servers. Ultimately, Zulily’s migration process was accelerated by developing proper database migration strategies, identified by 1Strategy to fit their business needs.
Training & Education
1Strategy provide Zulily with AWS training on Big Data and DevOps through their boot camp training series. “Training and education is one of our first activities when we engage with customers moving to AWS, often its importance and cost saving benefit is overlooked,” said Rich Uhl, CTO and Founder of 1Strategy.Along with cost optimization and database migration, 1Strategy offered technical suggestions on best practices for utilizing AWS Network Load Balancers. Network Load Balancer, which distributes incoming traffic across multiple targets, is an advantage for Zulily as it allows the company to handle volatile spikes in traffic and scale to millions of requests per second. Throughout their engagement, 1Strategy partnered directly with Zulily engineers and leadership across multiple teams to provide technical guidance on AWS services. Zulily can now take advantage of AWS for a greater ability to scale and an increased business efficiency, while maintaining a secure environment.