Our e-commerce site is much more stable since we migrated to AWS. We no longer have unplanned downtime, and we can offer our online customers a better shopping experience.
Jean-François Charette Infrastructure and Integration Manager
  • About Brault & Martineau

    Founded in 1960, Brault & Martineau is a furniture retail chain in Quebec. The company has 10 furniture megastores across the province, as well as six Sleep Galleries and a growing e-commerce presence.

  • AWS Services Used

  • Benefits of AWS

    • Eliminates site downtime
    • Supports 100,000 weekly site users
    • Scales to meet 20 percent annual growth

Like most modern retailers, Brault & Martineau relies on a growing e-commerce website to drive sales. Site availability is critical for the company because 100,000 customers use the site each week to find and purchase a range of furniture for delivery or in-store pickup. “Our e-commerce site needs to be available 24/7, with no downtime,” says Jean-François Charette, the company’s infrastructure and integration manager. “Customers could be buying furniture at midnight or in the middle of the day, and we need to accommodate them.”

Ensuring high availability had become challenging on the company’s existing e-commerce platform, hosted on IBM SoftLayer. “We had quite a few issues with system availability,” says Martin Boissy, the company’s general manager of IT. “We saw platform downtime every few months, and we weren’t told what the problem was. We spent a lot of time fixing issues and our online business was affected.” For example, SoftLayer imposed frequent service-impacting maintenance on large groups of servers, which resulted in multiple hours of downtime for Brault & Martineau several times a year. These incidents were often announced only a few days in advance, so the Brault & Martineau team did not have enough time to plan for them. “This happened recently, when our production servers were shut down for four hours, forcing our teams to work all night to protect our data and restore service,” says Charette.

The e-commerce site was growing by 20 percent annually, so Brault & Martineau urgently needed to address the problem. “Because of our fast growth, we needed a new platform that was very scalable and easy to manage,” says Charette.

Brault & Martineau engaged Montreal technology firm ExoSource for guidance in selecting a new cloud provider. ExoSource is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN) Consulting Partner and managed service provider. “We wanted to move to AWS because it is a richer platform than IBM SoftLayer, and it aligned well with our digital strategy,” says Boissy. “We wanted to work with a local AWS partner, which is why we chose ExoSource.”

ExoSource has used AWS for customer solutions for seven years. “We made a strategic choice to dedicate our cloud architecture and operations team to AWS instead of developing a multi-cloud approach,” says Guillaume Bélanger, CEO of ExoSource. “This strategy allowed us to develop a deeper mastery of the AWS ecosystem, which ultimately benefits our customers.” ExoSource spent several months analyzing traffic patterns and page-load times on the Brault & Martineau website, defining business objectives and aligning IT infrastructure management with industry best practices. Following this phase, ExoSource helped Brault & Martineau migrate its e-commerce platform and product-information management (PIM) software to the AWS Cloud. The new platform runs on 50 Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, and the company uses Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volumes to enhance availability through persistent block storage for use with Amazon EC2. Its PIM solution is based on Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS).

By working with ExoSource and using AWS, Brault & Martineau ensures its mission-critical e-commerce website stays up and running around the clock. “Our e-commerce site is much more stable since we migrated to AWS,” says Charette. “We no longer have unplanned downtime, and we can offer our online customers a better shopping experience.”

Brault & Martineau can also scale its platform on demand to accommodate the fast growth of the e-commerce site. “Using AWS, we know we can scale up to meet any current or future growth in user traffic,” says Charette. “We will also be equipped to support the growth of future systems like our inventory-management solution. Eventually, we will have five solutions running on AWS, and we are confident we can scale them all as they grow.”

Additionally, the company has faster webpage load times, better site availability, and better product-catalog accuracy as a result of moving to AWS. 

Because it can trust ExoSource to manage its AWS environment, Brault & Martineau has more time to spend on developing new features for its e-commerce site. “Instead of being focused on operations, we can focus more on creating new projects because we can rely on AWS,” says Charette. “We can work on improving our e-commerce site through the creation of new features that improve the customer and vendor experience. One example is the adoption of a modern order-management system that enables us to provide a cohesive customer experience across multiple channels. We didn’t have time to work on that previously.”

Brault & Martineau also has the flexibility to test workloads for weeks or months before deploying them in production. “The flexibility we get using AWS services helps us be more efficient in our development,” Boissy says. “When we deploy our inventory-management system, we will be confident because of the time we spent researching and testing it in a sandbox environment on AWS. And we will also be able to deploy the solution quickly once it’s ready. This is another way the cloud gives us a competitive advantage.”

Learn more about AWS e-commerce solutions.