doTERRA – Revamping SAP Commerce with AWS to Match the Speed of Business
This blog post is a collaboration between Parker Bradshaw, Sr. Solutions Architect at AWS, Francesco Bersani, Solutions Architect at AWS, and Prince Jain, Principal Cloud Architect at doTERRA.
In this blog post, we will discuss how doTERRA, a global essential oils company, overcame significant challenges by migrating to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and revamping their SAP Commerce solution to match the speed of their business.
doTERRA’s mission is centered around the goal of enhancing people’s lives by sharing the power and benefits of the highest-quality essential oils and natural wellness products. Their commitment to purity, potency, and ethical sourcing has positioned them as a leader in the essential oil industry. doTERRA aims to empower individuals and families to take control of their health and well-being through the use of natural solutions. Their products are shipped to over 86 countries.
doTERRA’s eCommerce Challenges
doTERRA uses SAP Commerce as a digital commerce solution to serve their customers in the United States and Canada. SAP Commerce allows doTERRA to implement and execute specific e-commerce processes to be able to take and process hundreds of thousands of customers’ orders a day.
As part of the digital transformation process, doTERRA chose AWS as their strategic cloud provider to migrate SAP S/4HANA and SAP Commerce workload and take advantage of cloud-native technology to address multiple challenges that the technical and business teams were experiencing.
Before migrating to AWS, doTERRA deployed SAP Commerce in a private cloud managed by a partner that owned the infrastructure in terms of hardware, procurement, and maintenance operations. This prevented doTERRA’s technical and business teams from having the flexibility and agility required by a modern digital e-commerce solution.
With the previous infrastructure and architecture, doTERRA was experiencing challenges in three main areas: scalability, deployment cycles, and security.
doTERRA struggled to effectively scale SAP Commerce during marketing campaigns and new product launches, which drove a significant increase in web traffic. In anticipation of these large sales events, doTERRA maintained peak capacity on the SAP commerce systems. This caused systems to be over-provisioned for much of the year even during low traffic days. Capacity planning was often misaligned with actual demand, resulting in unnecessary costs and diminished user experience. Due to a manual build process, the scaling out of application nodes took approximately two hours which led the team to always run a set of additional nodes to face peak loads. Furthermore, to account for the sudden bursts in traffic, doTERRA had to implement a queuing tool that would throttle user traffic during promotional events, resulting in diminished experience for customers.
The deployment cycle was time-consuming and prone to human error, frequently causing outages and difficulties in maintaining a seamless user experience. The rigid on-premises immutable infrastructure along with limitations in the deployment strategy hindered the business and development teams from rolling out innovative e-commerce features for the customers. The DevOps team had to devise a procedure to drain load balancers, wait for customer sessions to expire, and then roll out changes to the production system. A production deployment previously took anywhere from 2-3 hours to complete.
Security concerns arose due to the lack of isolation between development and production environments in the partner private cloud. This led to potential security risks and reliability issues. Although the Dev/QA/PROD environments were separated by VLANs, it was complex to maintain and define firewall rules for east-west traffic. As doTERRA’s systems grew, the need for secure and isolated environments became pertinent to ensure the integrity of production isolation away from the development zones. East-west traffic was open.
doTERRA migrated their SAP workloads to AWS in July 2021. They re-platformed and containerized their SAP commerce system, deploying on Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) using Helm charts and Control tower in a hub-spoke network model and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for media. doTERRA implemented a blue/green deployment process for SAP commerce which accelerated doTERRA’s team to address business challenges.
By leveraging Amazon EKS, doTERRA implemented a container-based solution on a Kubernetes environment. This enabled their SAP Commerce solution to efficiently scale during marketing events, maintain a minimal footprint during normal business operations, and rapidly scale to meet peak demand periods. This new approach eliminated the need for queueing mechanisms during high-traffic periods and improved response times by 40% (reduced from 900 msec avg server load times to about 500 ms). doTERRA is now able to efficiently scale out the cluster as the traffic increases during marketing events and scale down once the traffic decreases. Using automation, adding pods to scale out is now a 5-minute exercise compared to 3 hours in the past.
Todd Thompson, CIO of doTERRA, mentioned, “Since moving our e-commerce platform to AWS, the website performance has seen a noticeable improvement, even from the user point of view. Our uptime and resiliency have improved, along with our developer velocity.”
doTERRA designed and implemented a blue/green deployment strategy using Helm. This new deployment strategy reduced the deployment time by 90% and enforced the reliability of software changes. This streamlined the testing of changes and promotion of new features to production, thereby enhancing the customer experience. Furthermore, the new deployment strategy reduced the production deployment cycle from three hours to 45 minutes, providing a significant boost to the development process. In addition, doTERRA utilized Infrastructure as Code (IaC) using Terraform to spin up EKS clusters on demand for SAP Commerce. This allowed them to test and experiment faster than they had previously.
Prince Jain, Principal Cloud Architect at doTERRA, said, “The blue/green deployment strategy has significantly improved our deployment process, reduced deployment time, and ensures a seamless transition between application versions”
doTERRA built and architected landing zones using AWS Control Tower, to create isolated environments for development, performance, and production workloads. This approach secured east/west traffic and allowed developers to work efficiently without impacting systems outside their scope. Another goal for building and architecting landing zones was to enable them to isolate their development, performance, and production environments. Using Control Tower allowed doTERRA to separate development accounts, VPC’s, IAM roles and security groups with well-defined security policies and guardrails for their developers. doTERRA’s developers can now move quicker without the worry of impacting systems that are not in their direct scope of development. They are able to quickly pivot between systems, run performance tests, and complete development enhancements in a quick and safe manner.
Optimizations on the cloud:
By migrating their SAP Commerce engine to AWS and utilizing Amazon EKS, doTERRA successfully addressed their scalability, deployment, and security challenges. The new container-based solution has empowered the company to better serve its customers, adapt to the rapidly evolving e-commerce landscape, and maintain a competitive edge in the industry. The transformation has enabled doTERRA to enhance the agility of their change management process, introduce new capabilities to keep up with the constant innovation requirements in the e-commerce space, and ultimately, achieve their mission of sharing the highest-quality essential oils with the world.
By sharing their journey of migrating SAP Commerce to AWS EKS, doTERRA demonstrates the power of embracing cloud-first technologies and the positive impact they can have on businesses. The lessons learned from this successful migration can be applied to other organizations looking to enhance their e-commerce platforms, improve development processes, and provide an exceptional customer experience.
In summary, the collaboration between doTERRA and AWS has enabled the essential oils company to revamp its SAP Commerce engine, resulting in a more agile, scalable, and secure e-commerce platform. The improved infrastructure has allowed doTERRA to focus on its core business and continue its global expansion, while delivering an exceptional customer experience.
If you’re thinking about migrating and modernizing your e-commerce enterprise applications on Amazon EKS platform see the posts 6 Strategies for Migrating Applications to the Cloud and Blue/Green deployments for SAP Commerce applications on Amazon EKS.