When order volumes are high, AWS will take care of each sales event and automatically scale up. We get a predictable and stable platform regardless of the volumes.

Lezgin Bakircioglu Head of Global IT Operations

Daniel Wellington re-architects its Amazon Web Services (AWS) environment with microservices for improved scalability and lower cost. The Swedish company designs and sells watches and accessories based on classic, minimalist designs. It uses services including AWS Lambda, Amazon Kinesis, and Amazon Cognito.

While backpacking in Australia in 2011, Swedish entrepreneur Filip Tysander had a chance encounter that would change his life. While chatting with a fellow traveler, his eye was drawn to the man’s vintage Rolex with a red, white, and blue canvas strap. Tysander returned home and set about the task of producing an affordable design based on that watch, and he named his company after the stranger he met on his trip.

Now six years on, Daniel Wellington (DW) has grown into a $200 million business on the back of its elegant yet affordable timepieces, bolstered by clever use of social media. Tysander eschewed traditional forms of marketing and instead sent samples to prominent style influencers, who could spread the word—and the image—of DW to their millions of followers. And DW’s own Instagram account has 3 million followers.

DW began by selling its watches through its website only, but it soon branched out by selling through brick-and-mortar retailers. Lezgin Bakircioglu, head of global IT operations, paints a picture of the company and its IT needs: “Daniel Wellington is a young company with lots of energy and very fast growth. Our revenue was growing fivefold in the early years, and we’re still doubling, year over year. As such, we have high demands to be able to sell watches to our customers, and decisions can change day by day. We need to be flexible, responsive, and agile.”

DW once ran its infrastructure from a single server, but it quickly moved to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to meet its needs. The company started running its store using a traditional architecture of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances with an Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) back end and Magento e-commerce software. “Keeping up with the challenges of increasing traffic, we started to think of better solutions for the long term to be able to maintain good customer experience,” says Bakircioglu.

“While we were at it, we wanted to start using streams where multiple systems listen to messages rather than building point-to-point integrations between components. This would give us better insight to the system and the flows.”

He and colleagues booked meetings with their AWS account manager and solution architects to understand how they could move to a platform based on microservices, where individual services would be independently scalable, maintainable, and upgradable.

The new platform—based on services like AWS Lambda, Amazon Kinesis, and Amazon Cognito—will soon be rolled out for DW’s wholesale customers, and, if successful, will be used for its public online store. Bakircioglu says: “We see the new platform being more efficient and agile compared to the old one, because we’ll only run compute capacity when there is an event, rather than having computer capacity idle and paying for the full capacity even if it’s not used.

However, scalability and predictability are the main reasons we’re going for this. When order volumes are high, AWS will take care of each sales event and automatically scale up. We get a predictable and stable platform regardless of the volumes.”

To make DW’s move to the Lambda platform as smooth as possible, Bakircioglu and his team chose AWS Enterprise Support. “We wanted to have the best possible performance from a code point of view,” says Bakircioglu, “and the support we’ve gotten from the AWS solution architects has been first class.”