If you’re running any kind of e-commerce enterprise, you already know that your business lives and dies by the speed of your page loads. Online shoppers are notoriously impatient, and every second of delay for the user increases the likelihood that your shopping carts will be abandoned — and that those sales will go to your competition. That was exactly the reason AllSaints hired Pythian to manage its all-at-once, big-bang migration to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) this past July.
First, some history. AllSaints is a UK fashion retailer that opened its first bricks-and-mortar shop off Carnaby Street in London in 1997. In the decades since, the brand has found worldwide success online. Today, the AllSaints website and app draw more than two million visits a month from customers throughout Europe, Asia and North America.
Like every successful online retailer, AllSaints knew it had to serve its customers flawlessly through even the busiest shopping seasons. To make that level of service possible, AllSaints maintained and paid for more than 60 servers in a hybrid architecture. But once the crunch periods ended, nearly half those servers sat idle, adding the kind of expense that no modern business can afford.
AllSaints knew it was time to move completely to the cloud, and the leadership team chose to go with GCP. But that was only the first of many crucial decisions to be made. For AllSaints, this wouldn’t be a simple lift-and-shift operation. More than 100 individual services would need refactoring for a new microservices cloud environment. And with customers in every time zone around the world, AllSaints could not afford any downtime or degradation of performance. The goal was to launch so flawlessly that customers wouldn’t notice any difference — except, perhaps, a better user experience. Despite the complexity of the move, AllSaints determined that it would have to be carried out not in stages, but all at once.
The leadership knew they couldn’t go it alone. Their GCP solutions engineer suggested Pythian as the right partner for the job. We had already been serving AllSaints for two years in a support role, and that history gave AllSaints the confidence to expand the relationship. After months of collaboration and careful planning, the migration was completed in less than a week, with high availability maintained throughout.
Though the move to GCP was completed just three months ago, our client is already seeing major benefits. AllSaints’ full-price online conversions are up by 20 percent, a direct result of page loads that are now 35 percent faster. And, because AllSaints no longer needs redundant server capacity, its platform operating costs have dropped by a full 75 percent.
Today, with Pythian’s help, AllSaints is realizing even more benefits from GCP. We’re also leveraging Google BigQuery to help the team derive even more insights from all the data at their disposal.
The migration to GCP was an ambitious undertaking. But for AllSaints and its millions of customers, the possibilities are just beginning.
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