Fortune 1000 Retailer Transforms IT with DevOps in the Cloud

Increases Global Agility, Availability and Market Competitiveness while Maintaining PCI Compliance

Profile

This Fortune 1000 retailer of home goods has more than 4,285 retail locations across 50 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The publicly traded brand also has a store within a store concept where customers can shop and purchase through the retailer. It sought to launch a new portal to facilitate this process for its store-in-a-store partners, including everything from the shopping cart to the application and final purchase ticket.

Challenge

This leading retailer decided that the creation of a new portal was just the proof of concept it needed for a larger initiative to transform its IT function, addressing the weaknesses in its traditional on-premises infrastructure and lengthy, manual IT processes. The IT team’s goals to help the business deliver more quickly to market in a secure, highly available, agile fashion fell in lockstep with the DevOps approach and as a result, they quickly set a path to use Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a platform to launch both the new portal and DevOps initiative. However, with a deadline looming, IT quickly realized that they lacked the in-house expertise to ensure delivery of a high availability and secure, PCI-compliant platform on AWS.

Solution

Flux7 advised the retailer to approach the project with a DevOps in the cloud strategy. The recommendation entailed a move to AWS, for which Flux7’s experienced consultants were able to provide education, guidance, and comparison of AWS with vendors to ease the decision. Flux7 then partnered with the organization’s technology leaders to address the three main criteria of its new cloud-based, streamlined infrastructure: security, high availability, and a high degree of automation to increase agility.

Prior to the DevOps transition, this organization’s IT was defined by lengthy deployment cycles and numerous manual steps for processes such as provisioning new servers or preparing OS and server images. Moving to a more elastic environment in AWS, Flux7 helped design and build repeatable, automated processes for provisioning infrastructure and Amazon Machine Images (AMI) using Docker, CloudFormation, and Jenkins. The increased automation and flexibility resulted in an agile developer workflow that now enables rapid execution and reduces time-to-market for new projects.

While DevOps is often a culture change within organizations, the Flux7 engagement also included education for the development and operations teams, helping crystallize a new thought process in approaching an automated, simplified approach. The combination of education and technology has empowered development to act fast, knowing they are supported by self-service enablement and continuous deployment within a structured environment free of timely processes and fragile artifacts.

Another of the team’s key goals was ensuring security and PCI compliance — of both the new portal and the greater architectural approach. Flux7’s deep technical knowledge of AWS helped bridge the gap between engineers, vendors and AWS itself to ensure the new architecture met the organization’s security and compliance requirements. Moreover, Flux7 brought industry standard best practices and compliance policies to bear, teaching the brand how to quickly apply these criteria to important pieces of their new infrastructure, such as Identity and Access Management.

Last, AWS auto scaling enables the company’s new portal to meet customer demand, ensuring availability of the system regardless of peaks in traffic. High availability helps take advantage of any and every opportunity that might arise at the store level, assuring partners they will not lose a customer for any technology-related reason.

Benefits

Flux7’s strategic expertise and technical knowledge helped this leading retailer in several critical ways. It enabled its transition to a DevOps in the cloud approach which resulted in a new PCI-compliant partner portal with five
9’s availability. Moreover, giving the development team the ability to design and build at the speed of the market means that IT is now not just a business enabler, but a provider of direct business value, giving the organization a means to build solutions that outpace customer expectations.

Flux7 education and guidance helped cement a DevOps mindset and helped speed the establishment of best practices to weeks from a typical 6-12 month long process. The project also benefited the retailer by unearthing next steps. The initial POC illustrated how expanding the continuous integration and continuous deployment process could further transform IT to a service model. The IT team is using the portal experience as a springboard to build more services and grow the transformation process for even greater, continuous business value.

Business Needs

  • Transform a traditional IT organization to next generation DevOps in the cloud
  • Ensure Security and PCI compliance of new Portal
  • Create an Agile Developer Workflow for Rapid Execution
  • High System Availability to Ensure no Lost Revenue

Solution

  • AWS Migration with DevOps-based approach
  • Security and PCI Compliant Cloud Policies
  • Design and build repeatable, automated processes for provisioning infrastructure and Amazon Machine Images

Benefits

  • Speed Development with Rapid Infrastructure
  • Create greater agility with Automation
  • Scale environment to match demand
  • PCI compliance

Technical Details

  • AWS Services: EC2, VPC, VPG, S3, AWSCLI
  • Ansible, Jenkins, Docker