Unilog: Improving B2B e-commerce delivery using Google Cloud Platform and Agosto

Unilog is a global technology and services company that specializes in e-commerce solutions and enriched product catalogs for the business-to-business (B2B) marketplace.

Unilog has decades of experience delighting customers and delivering value for organizations looking to build their business using digital commerce strategies. As most Unilog customers are traditional B2B establishments, their core competency lies in the roots of the industries they do business in, rather than in digital marketing best practices. With its fully-managed solution, Unilog is uniquely positioned to masterfully address the needs of this segment of customers.

Just as its customers look to Unilog for expert knowledge in the e-commerce space, Unilog looks to its technology providers for expertise to help it bring its products to market. Unilog delivers its products as fully-managed, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions. Traditionally, the organization managed all of the underlying technology infrastructure to support delivery of its products to customers. This meant that Unilog provisioned servers for each customer it on-boarded resulting in a time, expense, and maintenance burden that distracted from what they do best—delivering exceptional ecommerce and product data management solutions.

Scaling client deployments in the cloud

Unilog engaged with Google Cloud Premier Partner Agosto to help improve its business processes. With its team of experts, Agosto engaged to analyze Unilog’s existing, private cloud environment and determined how they could modify their design to support operations using a public cloud provider to better scale client deployments. “Agosto worked with Unilog to optimize its existing systems—improving availability, enhancing security, and reducing operating costs, says Rick Erickson, Executive Vice President at Agosto.

With recommendations from Agosto and after evaluating four alternative public cloud providers, Unilog chose Google Cloud Platform. Unilog selected GCP because the platform offers superior support, bandwidth for transferring multimedia and images, and easy deployment of virtualization and storage services.

“Our customers are manufacturers, wholesale distributors, and other companies that form the backbone of major industries, and they weren’t used to the concept of the cloud. When we chose Google Cloud Platform and passed along the benefits to them, they became extremely enthusiastic about the changeover.” — Swamy Mahesh, CTO, North America, Unilog

Before migrating to Google Cloud Platform, Unilog had more than 350 customers running in its private cloud environment, which required Unilog to run between 400 and 500 virtual machines (VMs). Agosto analyzed Unilog’s physical and virtual systems and architected an identical environment leveraging Google Compute Engine.

Unilog runs its application servers, web servers, and database servers on Google Compute Engine, and stores its customers’ catalog information on Google Cloud Storage, including data, images, multimedia, and product descriptions. A single customer catalog can have as many as eight million product listings or SKUs. With GCP, Unilog has seen increased performance when customers search catalogs for products and view images and multimedia. According to the customer, product page load times are approximately 25 percent faster using Google Cloud Platform.

Unilog leverages Google Cloud Platform security features including firewall capabilities that ensure that each network has its own firewall controlling access to the instances. Compute Engine firewalls help keep Unilog customer data secure and accessed only by the intended recipient. In addition, GCP takes advantage of the Google Security Model, built on more than 15 years of experience of helping keep customers safe on Google applications like Gmail, Search, and other apps.

“Google Cloud Platform security features give us confidence that our environment is secure and protected from threats. We pass this information onto our customers to support their comfort level and help dispel concerns over security,” says Mahesh.

Improving uptime, reducing costs, and faster setup

With Google Cloud Platform, Unilog says it can more quickly create new customer e-commerce sites, has increased uptime to more than 99 percent, and has reduced costs for itself and clients.

“At Unilog, we’ve proved to ourselves that the public cloud can bring tremendous value to business-to-business workloads. Google Cloud Platform and Agosto are the right choice for us as we continue on our growth trajectory. We’re able to be more nimble and more responsive to customers than ever before,” says Mahesh.

Before GCP, Unilog says it took four or five days to build an environment for a new customer. With GCP, it can spin up a new environment in approximately a day. Running an on-premises, private cloud required approximately two resources to manage hardware and infrastructure. With GCP, those resources have been redeployed to more strategic projects. Resource efficiency also extends to Unilog customers. Mahesh estimates his customers have reduced the engineering resources previously allocated to manage infrastructure by approximately 25 percent.

“Using Google Cloud Platform and architecture enhancements recommended by Agosto, Unilog can onboard clients more quickly and reduce support costs,” says Erickson. “Unilog has modernized its licensing model, improved client satisfaction, and boosted overall market value."

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