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Crate & Barrel Case Study

We took the hassle out of holiday shopping.

Overview

Data Centralization through Data Warehousing

THE CHALLENGE

Crate & Barrel’s traditional managed hosting platform couldn’t keep up with the rate of online customer demand. They wanted a platform that could scale with demand to improve the customer experience.

THE SOLUTION

They wanted a platform that could scale with demand to improve the customer experience.

THE OUTCOME

By deploying the new environment on AWS, Crate and Barrel is able to take advantage of on-demand compute, scaling up and down as needed for the shopping season without oversubscribed capital purchases.

About the Business

Crate & Barrel is an industry-leading home furnishings specialty retailer, known for its exclusive designs, excellent value and superb customer service. In addition to a thriving direct marketing division that services more than 90 countries, the company operates stores throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as international franchise locations in Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Working directly with European ateliers and factories, Crate and Barrel was among the first to introduce affordable household goods and contemporary home décor to American consumers. Founded in 1962, the brand's essence has translated perfectly to the omnichannel era more than 50 years after opening its first store. The Crate and Barrel family of brands, which includes CB2 and The Land of Nod, is owned by Otto Group, a global retail and services group based in Hamburg, Germany.

Challenge

The CPG company was able to handle Day 1 operations, like Disaster Recovery and basic core system patching, but needed a scalable mechanism to enforce consistent configurations across a large number of disparate environments. The company also wanted to enable automated compliance with governance policies at scale across a distinct set of applications, teams, and organizational units for both internal and external customer workloads.

The CPG company already had hundreds of workloads live in AWS. Without a dedicated IP space for each workload, there was significant overlap between each (separate AWS accounts) that required rethinking and altering the architecture - removing MCollective - to accommodate this design pattern.

Retrofitting these workloads without breaking them was one significant technical and business challenge the company faced. There were also issues identifying mechanisms to handle auto-signed certificates to authorize individual node check-in to the master server.

Choosing Ollion configuration management

After evaluating multiple Configuration Management tools, the company chose Ollion Configuration Management as a Service, powered by Puppet, in part because of its past experience in working with Ollion and in part because of Ollion’s expertise in the area and with the AWS platform.

Solution

After over a decade of operation on traditional managed hosting platforms, Crate and Barrel’s eCommerce operation was faced with the need for a more nimble and cost-effective hosting solution. The decision was made to migrate to the AWS platform, and Ollion was selected as the migration and managed services partner.

Partnering with Crate and Barrel’s development group, headed by Mike Altpeter, Director of eCommerce Systems, the Ollion professional services team migrated all three Crate and Barrel web and e-commerce properties from a traditional hosting facility to AWS, decommissioning one data center and 25 servers, and setting the company up for a successful holiday season. The teams worked through the design and implementation challenges that go along with migrating web properties to AWS, devised a migration strategy, and built the infrastructure in the new AWS environment using AWS EC2, RDS, ELB, and S3, including a mix of SQL Server EC2 and RDS instances in both production and non-production environments. Additionally, Ollion implemented Cloud Protection Manager for snapshots/backups and assisted Crate & Barrel in transitioning its Land of Nod commerce site to its primary Crate & Barrel domain, decommissioned its mobile sites, and implemented autoscaling on its brand sites.

Today, the Ollion managed cloud team supports Crate & Barrel’s AWS environment through management and optimization services.

The business benefits

Crate and Barrel will gain the flexibility and elasticity that comes with an AWS environment. The new environment has the ability to scale up on demand and handle hundreds of checkouts per minute. George Findling, Director of Emerging Technology, noted that the migration performed flawlessly through Black Friday and Cyber Monday without a single technical or operational incident.

By deploying the new environment on AWS, Crate and Barrel is able to take advantage of on-demand compute, scaling up and down as needed for the shopping season without oversubscribed capital purchases. The company anticipates a significant reduction in the eCommerce platform monthly operating cost by migrating to AWS with the help of Ollion.

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