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REWE Group accommodates growth spikes and enhances hybrid architecture with Google Cloud

July 7, 2022
Andreas Röhrenbacher

Chief Product Owner in REWE Group IT department

Significant growth in our business partnerships at REWE Group in Austria has led to an unprecedented increase in traffic across our applications. As one of Europe’s largest retail and tourism groups, our burgeoning user base continues to emanate from a variety of sources including new retail partners, affiliate stores, and online customers from desktop and mobile applications. We serve millions of customers in the retail and tourism sectors worldwide and we onboarded Google Cloud services when our applications needed more flexibility and scalability. We needed to efficiently accommodate the dramatic seasonal and even weekly fluctuations we experienced as the pandemic increased our online shopping traffic. 

As traffic to our applications increased, our team began hosting our traffic-heavy data on a cluster in Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), successfully leveraging the data management and storage of Cloud Spanner. As a fully managed relational database, Spanner provides unlimited scale, strong consistency, and up to 99.999% availability. By choosing this approach to deployment, we didn’t need to migrate our end user data and maintained a highly flexible cloud environment with an estimated 70 percent hosted in Google Cloud and 30 percent remaining on-premises.

Cloud Spanner optimizes speed and performance for online customers

Given that some of the data we migrated was tied to the customer shopping experience on our applications, it was important that the solution we chose be highly secure and reliable. Google Cloud is known for offering the highest levels of availability, reliability, global scale, and security, enabling us to deliver the best possible experiences for our customers. 

While accessing Spanner through a Kubernetes cluster on Google Cloud, our team developed a ledger for each end user. As the single point of truth for all transactions across the company, the ledger contained two tables. In one, we input a variety of currencies and in the other, we maintained real-time records of the balance of each user in the currency of their purchase. We leveraged the industry-leading 99.999 percent availability SLA of Spanner to optimize the performance of our applications. Spanner also helped us improve the customer experience by providing consistent performance and accelerating the speed of applications and API calls during the purchase process.

Spanner provided transactional consistency and accuracy for REWE’s several million users, automatically updating their data in real time as transactions took place. We were able to seamlessly scale the processing of transactions per day to almost double. Since the platform went live, more than 500 million successful transactions have been executed. The native integrations of Google Cloud made it easy to unify our data lifecycle, ensuring the highest performance of our infrastructure at every phase of our development.

Query latency is always a critical thing for us, because we are deeply integrated into the point-of-sale applications in our store. If applications are too slow, it compromises the customer experience. However, thanks to Spanner, we are able to complete API calls extremely fast.

Fully managed Google services increase team productivity and champion sustainability

As a fully managed service, Spanner gave us the freedom to focus on differentiating activities, while operating seamlessly on-premises and in the cloud. Our developers were empowered to iterate and deploy quickly, driving new opportunities for growth and cost reductions. 

As a company with a 90-year history and international impact, REWE has upheld a continued commitment to environmental efficiency and sustainability across the world. This mission aligns with Google’s goal of running fully carbon-free data centers by 2030. By leveraging Google’s carbon neutrality and sustainability services including waste diversion, use of renewable energy, and enhanced efficiency, we are continuing to optimize our business operations as we champion sustainability.

Learn more about how your organization can get started with Spanner today.

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