Convenience, lower prices, and greater variety are the hallmarks of online shopping—with consumers able to buy thousands of goods from a single website whatever the time of day, direct from wholesalers or manufacturers.
Taiwan-based PayEasy demonstrates just how successful this retailing model has become. The company runs the PayEasy online shopping mall, where it sells its own goods, including makeup, and the goods from about 2,000 businesses. The mall has 5 million registered users, and records online daily sales of between TWD$3 million and $5 million (US$97,000 to $162,000) from more than 20,000 visitors. Every three months, the mall sees a surge in visitor numbers when more than 600,000 of PayEasy’s registered users receive PayEasy vouchers from employers to spend at its website. Currently, revenue growth is about 20 percent annually.
At the heart of the PayEasy operation is an Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) database, which supports all its key business applications. This database stores data on everything from registered users and transaction histories to PayEasy’s accounting records and employee data. “To say our Oracle database is critical would not be an overestimation,” says Jerry Hou, vice president of information management at PayEasy. “Without access to the database, the business couldn’t function.”
The on-premises servers supporting the Oracle RAC database were coming to the end of their useful lives. The question for PayEasy was whether to simply replace the hardware or migrate the database to the cloud. Hou was in no doubt. “The costs for replacing the servers were high at TWD$25 million (US$810,000). Plus, we had the added expense of managing the database, which took about two hours a day. Finally, there was the disruption of sending a member of staff to check on the servers at a collocation site every fortnight.”
Hou looked to migrate the Oracle database to Amazon Web Services (AWS). PayEasy had worked with AWS since the launch of the PayEasy mall. The mall’s web servers use Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, and PayEasy regularly uses Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES) to send out emails as part of the mall’s marketing campaigns. Comments Hou, “We were highly satisfied with AWS. We had seen the high availability and security of its services and felt confident AWS could support our Oracle database.”
PayEasy successfully migrated its Oracle RAC database to AWS with the support of eCloudvalley, a member of the AWS Partner Network (APN). eCloudvalley’s role was crucial due to its expertise in Oracle migrations, which ensured that PayEasy not only made a successful switch to the cloud, but also updated its solution from Oracle RAC 10g to the latest version, Oracle RAC 12c. “The maintenance, operation, and interface between the two versions of Oracle are quite different,” says Hou. “Nonetheless, we overcame any potential challenges with the support of eCloudvalley, which has a lot of experience in Oracle systems running on AWS.”
The Oracle RAC 12c for PayEasy is powered by the Amazon Relational Database Service for Oracle (Amazon RDS for Oracle). The advantage for PayEasy is that it no longer has to spend time and resources scaling an on-premises environment. The AWS service offers “push-button scaling,” which means in a few clicks of the AWS Management Console, PayEasy IT staff can add more compute and memory resources to the Oracle environment. Amazon RDS for Oracle also comes with preconfigured parameters, so IT staff can connect applications to the database in minutes without additional configurations.
The migration to the AWS Cloud saved PayEasy TWD$25 million, which helps the IT team align itself with other PayEasy departments tasked with keeping a tight control on budgets. Hou adds, “By moving to Amazon RDS for Oracle, IT is also saving the two hours a day it used to spend managing our on-premises database. That time can be used for developing our website to improve the user experience. Furthermore, they no longer have to visit the collocation site for hardware maintenance every two weeks.” For the days between those visits, PayEasy had to pay a third-party management service to oversee its servers in case of a sudden outage. Says Hou, “We’ve eliminated that need for third-party IT support—reducing our Opex costs by 15 percent.”
eCloudvalley also helped PayEasy migrate from an F5 Web Application Firewall for the Oracle system to AWS WAF – Web Application Firewall. Says Hou, “With AWS WAF sitting in front of our AWS Cloud infrastructure, we gained a lot of confidence. What struck us about AWS WAF was its ease of use. It took just a couple of weeks for an administrator to learn all that was needed to work with AWS WAF, whereas it took up to six months with the F5 WAF.”
As a result of the migration, PayEasy has maintained the high performance of its mission-critical Oracle database. And by upgrading the database to Oracle RAC 12c, it has gained benefits such as in-memory processing for faster data analysis. Comments Hou, “The speed and reliability at which we serve our customers are incredibly important. Our migration to Amazon RDS for Oracle will help us to continue delivering great customer service as the PayEasy business grows.”
To learn more, visit https://aws.amazon.com/ecommerce-applications/.