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ASOS use Kemp in Microsoft Azure to handle 167 million website visits on Black Friday

167 Million Visits

Seamless functionality at 33 orders per second

Constant Uptime

Flexibly deploy more cost-efficient instances as needed

Operate Worldwide

With integrated Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB)

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The Problem

ASOS was moving the substantial infrastructure on which its web store was based to cloud, which would allow them to more easily provide access to customers around the world. This web store was the core of their business, so it was absolutely vital that they had the load balancing infrastructure to assure constant uptime at even the busiest periods.
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Why Kemp

After searching the Market, ASOS found that Kemp met their stringent criteria that covered technical performance, suitability to the Azure Marketplace, a scriptable deployment and management interface, and most important the flexibility to adapt and support their infrastructure with zero downtime. Not only did Kemp meet these criteria, but its Metered Licensing model would allow ASOS to only pay for the load balancing capacity they actually used.
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The Solution

After working with Kemp to design and deploy a global load balancing solution, ASOS saw first hand how well-suited it was to their demanding organizational requirements. Its flexibility allowed the infrastructure to easily accommodate immense usage spikes, supporting over 167 million visits during a Black Friday sale, while Kemp’s Metered Licencing subscription model meant that meeting these needs was extremely cost-efficient.

European online fashion giant ASOS caters for 12 million active customers via an entirely online business with no brick and mortar retail stores. The ASOS corporate goal is to be the number one worldwide fashion destination for all shoppers in their twenties.

The Need for Constant Uptime

As a fully online business, the need for continuous uptime all year round is vital. Any downtime or slowness from the store can lead to lost sales and an impact on customer loyalty. As part of an improvement project to ensure availability of service, ASOS re-engineered their online store to convert it from a monolithic platform running in legacy data centres into a suite of interacting microservices deployed on the Microsoft Azure Cloud. This allowed them to run the core store functions in the European and North American Azure instances, where most of the customer base resides, and also to deploy time-critical components to Asian Azure instances as required. The move to the global Azure Cloud infrastructure also provided ASOS with the ability to deliver the best performance possible to customers by using local Azure resources and also allowed them to maximize availability by load balancing globally across the Azure instances.

But a crucial part of making this high-workload cloud infrastructure work would be a load balancing infrastructure that could support it on a global scale at even the most stressful periods.

The Kemp Solution

ASOS’s main requirements for an application delivery solution were:

  • Load balance across multiple geographic regions
  • Be fully supported in the Azure Marketplace
  • Provide a scriptable interface for deployment and management
  • Provide flexibility to scale on demand and support continuous delivery

With this in mind they began to examine the market for a solution. They ultimately found that Kemp LoadMaster easily met the requirements with integrated Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB), full support across all Azure marketplaces and a RESTful API to enable rapid provisioning and configuration of load balancer instances.

The End Result

Working closely with Kemp Professional Services, ASOS designed and deployed a global load balancing solution that has delivered premium performance and availability during peak shopping periods. Online retail has periods when site visitors and transactions are much higher than normal. For example, in the run-up to the December holiday season or events such as ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’. During one such event, the ASOS store had 167 million site visits and handled up to 33 orders per second via the Kemp and Azure solution.

In addition to Kemp’s industry-leading customer experience, our Metered Licensing addressed the requirement for scalability and flexibility. Metered Licensing allows ASOS to use and pay for the traffic throughput per month irrespective of the number of load balancer instances that are deployed. This allows the fabric of the network to flex based on traffic needs and not be hampered by the number of licenses available. Metered licensing is ideal for businesses such as ASOS who deal with seasonal events and meet the test and development requirements of continuous delivery.

By using us to globally load balance their Azure microservices-based store, ASOS eliminated the challenges associated with downtime and traffic spikes due to busy shopping periods and retail events. The adoption of the Metered licensing model also allowed ASOS to only pay for the capacity they needed without having to estimate in advance the number of load balancers and licenses needed.

Kemp and Azure are a perfect combination for all organizations who need a flexible and elastic infrastructure fabric to deliver applications and websites to their user base. Whether fully committed to the Cloud, deploying a Hybrid Cloud solution with Microsoft Azure Stack, or just starting the journey to the Cloud, our solutions and Professional Services can assist with the journey.

We had our biggest day ever..... 167 million visits and the platform handled it brilliantly.
Clifford Cohen
CIO at ASOS

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