Before, it took up to 24 hours to provision a server, but with AWS it takes just a few minutes. This has a huge impact on how fast we can on-board new customers.
Xavier Leoz IT Manager, TLG Commerce

E-commerce agency TLG Commerce has been creating online stores for global brands—including Muji, Herman Miller, and Lacoste—since 1999. It builds virtual storefronts through its LogiCommerce e-commerce solution and provides a highly customized product to its 300-plus customers to help them maximize their online revenue. TLG’s service also integrates web stores with third-party tools, such as customer relationship management systems. The Spain-based firm has an international focus; in addition to its Barcelona headquarters, it has offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai, helping its customers launch an online presence in Asia.

“We had a traditional hosting environment in Barcelona,” says TLG’s IT Manager Xavier Leoz. “Our provider supplied the connectivity, space, and electricity, and we handled everything else—and managed the entire infrastructure.” It was a time-consuming process that had its limits. As Leoz explains, “Something as easy as setting up a content delivery network took a long time because we had to provision the server, configure it, and then maintain it.”

In addition to requiring hands-on management, TLG could see that its current infrastructure didn’t support the company’s plans for growth. “We work across the globe, and we’re always looking at opportunities to expand our business,” says Leoz. “We needed an infrastructure that could help us do that, not impose boundaries on our ambitions. This is why we started to look at cloud services.”

Leoz outlines the simple process that brought TLG to Amazon Web Services (AWS). “AWS was a big name, that was the first thing that attracted us,” he says. “It then came down to AWS and one other major provider. We opted for AWS because we saw that the evolution of its services was greater and faster.” The results from an in-depth pilot project confirmed TLG’s decision. And so the company started building its new architecture on AWS.

The Amazon CloudFront content delivery network is central to the firm’s architecture, and to distribute workloads TLG uses Elastic Load Balancing. Auto Scaling in Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (Amazon EC2) allows easy scalability to cope with high traffic volumes, and Amazon ElastiCache helps maintain persistent sessions and store web content.

While these services form the company’s core infrastructure, Leoz talks about how TLG plans to use other AWS services to enable additional functionality. “Big-data projects will be a key focus for us,” he says. To facilitate these projects, the firm is exploring Amazon Redshift and Amazon Kinesis Firehose. It is also looking to build some processes in the AWS Lambda event-driven compute service.

TLG hasn’t looked back since moving to AWS. “We completed migration in early 2016, but we’re continually improving processes and looking at how to use other technologies. AWS evolves so quickly—it creates opportunities for us to do things better and faster, all with a view to giving our customers a great service,” says Leoz.

Delivering on its service-level agreements is something TLG takes extremely seriously. “By using AWS, we’ve improved our uptime from 99 percent to 99.9 percent across the globe,” says Leoz. “Any downtime can affect our clients’ brands and revenues, so this high availability is crucial. Without it, they wouldn’t trust our platform. We used to have around four or five server issues a year that would cause downtime, but since we’ve moved to AWS, we haven’t had any. This means we provide a better service with AWS, and we can attract bigger clients because of it.”

TLG is also able to on-board customers faster now that it isn’t constrained by its traditional infrastructure. Leoz says, “Configuring physical servers and setting up connections are extremely time consuming. Before, it took up to 24 hours to provision a server, but with AWS it takes just a few minutes. As a result, we can on-board new customers in one or two minutes, or give existing customers a presence in new geographies in the same time. We need the ability to move quickly, and this is something that we’re really benefiting from by working in the AWS Cloud.”

Leoz explains how Auto Scaling helps TLG react flexibly to fluctuations in demand: “When a customer starts a campaign—for example, launching a fashion line for the new season—we see a massive jump in activity on its site. In some cases, this means doubling the size of the platform. With Auto Scaling, the resources just scale up when they’re needed and scale down when they’re no longer required. It also means we pay only for what we use, which makes it more cost effective than working on a traditional setup.”

Leoz is quick to stress the benefits the firm receives from AWS Support. “Any questions we have, we get all the information we need from AWS Support. It works perfectly and ensures we don’t get stuck on any technical issues for long.”

Of all the improvements TLG has seen since moving to AWS, it’s the customer experience that Leoz singles out as most important. “Do our customers get a better experience? Definitely. We can provide a more reliable service with better uptime. And because the system is easy to maintain, we have more time to spend on developing our services and customizing offerings for our customers to help them get the most from their online stores.”

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