Floward Optimizes Performance Using Amazon Aurora and Amazon ElastiCache for Redis
Ecommerce flowers and gifting company Floward was growing exponentially and needed more capacity than its current database infrastructure could provide. With operations in nine countries across the Middle East, North Africa, and the United Kingdom, the company needed to migrate millions of records while minimizing downtime. To keep up with its rapid, significant growth, it decided to use Amazon Web Services (AWS).
We have a huge load that we can manage using Amazon ElastiCache for Redis. We are talking about millions of sessions across three operating systems that support both our applications and the website.”
Chief Technology Officer, Floward
Floward chose to migrate from its basic SQL server on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)—which provides secure and resizable compute capacity—to one that included Kubernetes clusters. It chose to use Amazon Aurora for PostgreSQL, a relational database service that combines the speed and availability of high-end commercial databases with the simplicity and cost effectiveness of open-source databases. Using Aurora in a regional cluster spanning multiple Availability Zones, Floward achieved the security, availability, and reliability it requires while automating time-consuming administrative tasks and reducing costs.
Migrating to Amazon Aurora with Virtually No Downtime
Floward prides itself on providing a seamless customer experience designed to make sending flower arrangements and gifts as enjoyable as receiving them. Based in the Gulf Cooperation Council, the company’s services include online ordering, order coordination with partner vendors, and delivery by a fleet of refrigerated vehicles. Floward had been using its relational database management system for about 5 years, but the solution didn’t provide the scalability it needed to keep pace with its rapidly growing customer base. The business also needed a better way to avoid downtime as it expanded to new regions.
Because Floward had been using some AWS services since 2017, it knew that AWS could provide all the necessary tools to optimize storage, scalability, and costs without the need for third-party solutions. Floward determined that AWS would be the right choice for its needs and began the migration in early 2021. The company had to complete the migration quickly because its current infrastructure was no longer meeting its needs or facilitating continued growth and expansion. Floward needed to migrate over 100 million records and keep the source database operational during the migration to minimize downtime for applications that rely on it. “We knew we couldn’t afford downtime that would interrupt our operations,” says Diyaa Hamza, chief technology officer of Floward. To migrate seamlessly and cost effectively to a more powerful infrastructure, Floward used AWS Database Migration Service (AWS DMS), which customers can use to migrate databases to AWS quickly and securely while the source database remains fully operational.
Floward migrated its data to Aurora for PostgreSQL. Doing so meant that the company was able to replicate the SQL data on AWS with ease and freely rename tables to make the database more legible and simpler to manipulate. “Using Aurora solved the issue of staying operational, and it could also handle the enormous amount of data we needed to migrate,” says Hamza. By December 2021, the migration to Aurora was about 90 percent complete, with full migration planned for early 2022.
Achieving Superior Storage and Response Times on AWS
By migrating to AWS services, Floward has optimized its agility and performance while maintaining 99.9 percent of its uptime. Floward also used Amazon ElastiCache for Redis—a fast in-memory data store that provides submillisecond latency to power internet-scale near-real-time applications—for caching data. As a result, it has accelerated the performance of its applications and databases and optimized for scalability and availability. The company has reduced response times from 500–550 ms to 100–200 ms. “We have a huge load that we can manage using Amazon ElastiCache for Redis,” says Hamza. “We are talking about millions of sessions across three operating systems that support both our applications and the website.” In addition, Floward also has an internal dashboard for its customer service team. It uses Amazon ElastiCache for Redis to optimize the performance of this tool as well. “We are running many services in the background,” says Hamza. “By using Amazon ElastiCache for Redis, we can achieve high performance for all of them.”
By using Amazon Aurora Global Database, which lets a single Aurora database span multiple AWS Regions, Floward had the automatic scaling capabilities that it needed to operate efficiently across nine countries. “Using Aurora, we can monitor the applications and automatically adjust capacity for steady performance while keeping costs low,” says Hamza. “We can connect a new fulfillment center in any city to our infrastructure in 5–10 minutes.” Using AWS solutions, the company can replicate its operations in new AWS Regions with ease while maintaining availability to customers.
The ecommerce company is also using Amazon CloudWatch, which provides data and actionable insights to monitor applications, respond to system-wide performance changes, and optimize resource use. IT engineers and managers at Floward can detect latency issues and make system improvements using this service. “Using Aurora with Amazon CloudWatch gives us better visibility of site traffic and any occurring latency so that we can optimize as necessary,” says Hamza. The use of Aurora alongside Amazon ElastiCache for Redis has also enhanced the performance of many teams at Floward, including marketing and finance, and has made automatic scaling available across the company. By increasing system capacity and performance, the company has improved the experience for its operations team and for customers alike, worldwide. And although Floward hasn’t fully shut down its previous environment, it has already seen cost savings from the migration. “On AWS, we’ve created a successful customer journey,” says Hamza. “We’ve achieved a good conversion rate and a high retention rate as well.”
Planning to Scale for Further Growth and Expansion
As Floward looks to the future, it is seeking new ways to improve personalization for its customers by using machine learning and artificial intelligence. It also plans to migrate all its APIs to Amazon API Gateway, a fully managed service that makes it easy for developers to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure APIs at any scale. On AWS, Floward can scale its infrastructure globally, launching in new Regions and replicating its databases simply. “Migrating to AWS has made our business more agile and secure,” says Hamza. “It has created a smoother and faster experience for customers that will bring them back to Floward.”
An online flowers and gifting company, Floward aims to create a seamless experience for customers and make sending flowers and gifts as enjoyable as receiving them.
Benefits of AWS
- Maintained 99.9% uptime
- Can support millions of sessions across three operating systems
- Decreased response times from 500–550 ms to 100–200 ms
- Can deploy a new service in 5–10 minutes
- Improved scalability, agility, and performance
- Strengthened security
- Achieved cost savings
AWS Services Used
Amazon Aurora is a MySQL and PostgreSQL-compatible relational database built for the cloud that combines the performance and availability of traditional enterprise databases with the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of open source databases.
Amazon ElastiCache is a fully managed, in-memory caching service supporting flexible, real-time use cases. You can use ElastiCache for caching, which accelerates application and database performance, or as a primary data store for use cases that don't require durability like session stores, gaming leaderboards, streaming, and analytics.
Amazon CloudWatch is a monitoring and observability service built for DevOps engineers, developers, site reliability engineers (SREs), IT managers, and product owners. CloudWatch provides you with data and actionable insights to monitor your applications, respond to system-wide performance changes, and optimize resource utilization.
AWS Database Migration Service
AWS Database Migration Service (AWS DMS) helps you migrate databases to AWS quickly and securely. The source database remains fully operational during the migration, minimizing downtime to applications that rely on the database.
Organizations of all sizes across all industries are transforming their businesses and delivering on their missions every day using AWS. Contact our experts and start your own AWS journey today.