Lush: global migration in 22 days

About Lush

Founded in 1995, Lush is a global cosmetics retailer headquartered in the UK. By selling a diverse range of fresh, handmade products, Lush has become a global brand, with over 930 stores in 49 countries. The company’s ethically sourced ingredients are backed up by ethical business policies and public stances on environmental and political issues.

Industries: Retail
Location: United Kingdom

About Ancoris and Claranet

Ancoris is an award winning Cloud Services Provider with a successful digital transformation practice. Claranet is one of Europe’s leading managed service providers, providing hosting, network and communications services to businesses from 20 offices worldwide.

Lush migrated its global e-commerce site to Google Cloud Platform in 22 days, significantly improving the reliability and stability of its site

Google Cloud Results

  • Improves availability during peak loads thanks to autoscaling on Google Compute Engine
  • Reduces infrastructure hosting costs by 40%
  • Streamlines datacenter usage from five to three with Google’s high quality private network
  • Provides a flexible architecture and scalability for future business growth

From a single shop in an English seaside town, Lush has transformed into a global ethical cosmetics brand with revenues of over £700 million in just two decades. Alongside over 930 stores in 49 countries, Lush sells its handmade, fresh products online through the company’s website. In recent years, the brand’s ever-increasing popularity led to peaks in demand that caused website outages on Boxing Day, the UK’s biggest shopping day of the year. To prevent that from happening again, Lush chose to migrate its e-commerce platform to scalable infrastructure that could handle increased traffic without compromising stability.

“For two years running, traffic on Boxing Day caused website outages for up to 18 hours. Our previous supplier had locked us into a platform that had no scalability options, so we decided to look at Infrastructure as a Service instead. With its positive approach to open-source and its promise of 100% renewable energy for its datacentres by the end of 2017, Google Cloud Platform really aligned with our company ethics," says Ryan Kerry, ‎Global Head of Engineering and Technology at ‎Lush.

Scaling for stability

Periods of peak demand can overwhelm retail websites just when they’re most needed. For two years running, the Lush website crashed on Boxing Day while experiencing traffic of up to 12 transactions per second, three times the scaled-for capacity. Rather than risk another outage, Lush chose to migrate its entire global infrastructure, including e-commerce systems, mobile apps and retail systems onto another cloud provider. The migration would involve 17 websites across the world, transferring customer and product data. In addition, it had to take place over the course of 22 days in December, the retailer’s busiest month.

Lush enlisted the help of their long-term Google partner Ancoris, together with the support of Claranet, both Google Cloud Premier Partners, to drive the project forward.

Google Cloud Platform offered an intuitive interface over tools for speedy deployment, rapid feedback and easy modification that proved core to meeting this tight timeframe. The project team used G Suite to collaborate and share information quickly and easily.

"With its positive approach to open-source and its promise of 100% renewable energy for its datacentres by the end of 2017, Google Cloud Platform really aligned with our company ethics.”

Ryan Kerry, ‎Global Head of Engineering and Technology, ‎Lush

"As the long term Google partner of Lush we were delighted to be able to support their move to GCP. The demanding timescales involved in moving their website during peak trading times were only achievable due to the flexibility of the GCP platform, the use of G Suite for collaboration during the project and the commitment shown to the project from all parties. We were able to discuss, plan, build and iterate at any time of day or night,” says Dave Fenton, VP Services at Ancoris.

With rapid VM deployment on Google Compute Engine, whole environments were provisioned and destroyed in minutes, so the team could test and deploy at speed. By using Google Cloud SQL and other managed services on GCP, Lush took back control of its infrastructure while optimising its systems for effective scaling. And as the old solution on AWS was replaced with Drupal on Google Cloud Platform, Lush streamlined its network from five clusters down to three datacenters with no noticeable impact on latency thanks to Google’s high quality private fiber network.

“Due to time constraints, we did an infrastructure migration with adjustments to make things flexible and robust. That required some redesigning and some reverse engineering, but we basically applied all the best practices for cloud architecture. We’ve made sure that everything is highly available and scalable. Now 99% of infrastructure is automated, including build deployment. We’re limited only by Google’s resources, if there are any limits on Google’s resources," says Sam Bashton, Head of Public Cloud at Claranet.

Lower costs, brighter future

Thanks to a successful migration to GCP, the Lush website handled its first Boxing Day with no instability or outages, while in the longer term, Lush has cut hosting costs by 40% as a result of migrating to GCP. Now the company is exploring the new durability of its online retail environment and its improved potential for growth. Reassured by the success of the project, the company is using Google Container Engine and Dataflow to switch to a microservices architecture for the whole business. Longer term, the team is exploring new possibilities, including data warehousing options as well as Google BigQuery, Google Cloud Spanner and Google Cloud Functions.

“The success of the project was down to finding the right people and engaging the right partners. Everyone worked together without friction. We had a tight deadline, a sense of mission and ambitious goals. No Plan B, just full steam ahead, so we tackled issues as and when they came. This kind of migration is definitely achievable, when the right platform, the right partners and the right people come together,” says Ryan Kerry, ‎Global Head of Engineering and Technology at ‎Lush.

“The success of the project was down to finding the right people and engaging the right partners. Everyone worked together without friction."

Ryan Kerry, ‎Global Head of Engineering and Technology, ‎Lush

About Lush

Founded in 1995, Lush is a global cosmetics retailer headquartered in the UK. By selling a diverse range of fresh, handmade products, Lush has become a global brand, with over 930 stores in 49 countries. The company’s ethically sourced ingredients are backed up by ethical business policies and public stances on environmental and political issues.

Industries: Retail
Location: United Kingdom

About Ancoris and Claranet

Ancoris is an award winning Cloud Services Provider with a successful digital transformation practice. Claranet is one of Europe’s leading managed service providers, providing hosting, network and communications services to businesses from 20 offices worldwide.

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