OBI Creates Cloud-First Strategy, Streamlines Ecommerce Development, and Improves Scaling with Arvato Systems on AWS
Pan-European home-improvement retailer OBI, with headquarters in Germany, worked with AWS Partner Arvato Systems to help it containerize and migrate its highly-customized version of SAP Hybris to the cloud. With a modern and resilient cloud-based ecommerce infrastructure built on Amazon Web Services (AWS), OBI can now easily scale automatically to support peak season web traffic for its online store and allow multiple development teams to deliver new features concurrently. It also has a strong foundation for growth that supports the entire business.
Improving Ecommerce Development and Website Scalability
Germany-based OBI is a home-improvement company whose mission is to help its customers to create their ideal home individually and independently. OBI sells a range of materials and fittings for the home, as well as a large variety of furniture and equipment for interiors and gardens. In addition, the company offers a large variety of inspirational content and services to help its customers throughout the entire customer journey.
The company is one of the top two retailers in the do-it-yourself (DIY) sector in its home country, with 640 stores in Europe. And in 2022, it posted sales revenue of €8.7 billion. Along with the main German market, it also has stores in Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Switzerland. OBI customers include homeowners, renters, and trade professionals.
OBI wanted to improve the scalability of its ecommerce operations that support its online store. This was running on SAP Hybris and hosted in two data centers owned and run by AWS Partner Arvato Systems. OBI customers can order products using both the online store or in each of its physical locations. The company needs to scale to meet the big rise in webstore traffic during its peak spring season when it gets 1 million daily website visits over the usual 650,000.
One of the great things about AWS is that we have the flexibility to choose the development environment we need and not be limited to specific forms of technology."
Head of Department Cloud and DevOps, OBI
Scaling to Meet Sales Peaks and Control Costs
While Arvato Systems’ data centers could scale to handle peak season traffic, the company did not need this capacity all year round. The ability to scale up and down while providing the best possible internal developer experience is important to OBI. It needed not only to handle seasonal peaks and adjust costs during times of lower ecommerce-related website usage, but also to have a foundation for growth that could support the company’s ambitious targets. In 2019, the company turned to Arvato Systems—with which it already had a 12-year relationship—to be the principal driver of its transformation project.
Arvato Systems worked with OBI to build on its recently created, company-wide cloud-first strategy, starting with its online store. It decided to containerize and migrate its SAP Hybris application to AWS using the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP), which accelerates cloud migration and modernization. “Arvato Systems is a lot more than a services vendor—to us they are more trusted partner and advisor,” says Daniel Groos, head of department cloud and DevOps-engineering at OBI. “We have a deep and long-lasting connection with them and they helped to show us how AWS could support our evolving business model.”
Part of the MAP program included a proof of concept to see if OBI could successfully move its highly customized version of SAP Hybris to AWS. Arvato Systems’ knowledge of SAP Hybris helped ensure the viability of the move. OBI spent 6 months on testing with the full migration taking a further 2 months. The AWS infrastructure was designed from the outset to give the company the flexibility and agility it needed to scale its ecommerce operations. It also wanted to develop an ecosystem to support the company’s vision to partner with complementary businesses and set up its own marketplace.
Gaining Development Flexibility for Multiple Teams
For its ecommerce development environment, the company uses Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS), the most trusted way to start, run, and scale Kubernetes. This supports its distributed development teams, many of whom have strong Kubernetes experience. “We chose Amazon EKS to start with because we felt that this would provide the best developer experience for us,” says Groos. “One of the great things about AWS is that we have the flexibility to choose the development environment we need and not be limited to specific forms of technology.”
The company is also able to choose the database system it uses on AWS. It uses Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud with just a few clicks. Because of the flexibility of AWS, OBI can now quickly provision different database types to suit specific IT tasks. The company can also scale its database systems up and down easily without running into downtime issues.
OBI uses Amazon CloudFront for its content delivery network (CDN) to securely deliver content with low latency and high transfer speeds. This is backed up by three AWS Regions and Availability Zones, allowing the ecommerce function to be deployed at the edge. This helps it to widen its customer reach globally. The OBI CDN setup is also supporting the whole business. “Using AWS for our CDN means we can benefit from the synergies in using other native AWS services,” says Groos.
Arvato Systems is a lot more than just a services vendor—to us they are more trusted partner and advisor.”
Head of Department Cloud and DevOps, OBI
A Highly Available SAP Hybris Environment on AWS
With the help of Arvato Systems, OBI has been able to ensure that its cloud infrastructure remains fault tolerant and that its SAP Hybris environment has high availability. It uses AWS WAF, which protects web applications from common exploits, to support this and guard against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. “As OBI decided to migrate to AWS, being an AWS Partner meant we could provide full support for its migration and its entire cloud journey,” says Maik Hanewinkel, sales and account manager at Arvato Systems. “OBI also benefits from our managed cloud services, which is helping the company to make the most out of its AWS use.”
Built on AWS, OBI can limit how much time it spends on setting up development infrastructures. It uses infrastructure as code (IaC), which allows it to set up new testing environments as quickly as possible and as often as it needs. OBI is now working with Arvato Systems to build in cloud financial operations (FinOps) practices to control cloud spending. “Having access to such a range of services through the AWS Marketplace means we can reduce our time-to-market because we don’t have to build solutions on our own,” says Groos.
With its new foundational cloud platform, OBI is now set to further support its cloud journey. “Having Arvato Systems work so tightly with our internal team resulted in a very smooth migration process,” says Groos. “By building on AWS, we have a modern, scalable, and future-proof business, which we believe will pay off hugely.”
Based in Germany, OBI is a do-it-yourself (DIY) and home improvement retailer that provides materials, fittings, and services aimed at assisting customers to create their perfect home and garden. Of its 640 stores, 350 are in its home market with the remainder spread over nine European countries. Its range of products and services include building and garden supplies, power tools, home décor, kitchen equipment, bathroom fittings, garden planner, solar installations, and more.
AWS Services Used
- Auto scales to support 1 million website visits
- Achieving development flexibility
- Ensuring a smooth migration of SAP Hybris
- Enhanced security
About AWS Partner Arvato Systems
Arvato Systems helps all types of businesses from SMBs to large enterprises to benefit from the AWS services that best suit their business. It helps its customers to easily map enterprise IT workloads in the cloud and support cloud-native business models. It also helps in the implementation of DevOps operating models.
Published December 2023