Butlers: Infrastructure from the Cloud

vom 27.03.2019


As a result of the completed insolvency proceedings, Butlers, a provider of home accessories, has converted its infrastructure in order to save costs. With "Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)" the Omnichannel retailer opted for a cloud based solution.

Increased purchase prices due to the newly strengthened dollar, decreasing customer frequency in the city centres and an overly ambitious assortment policy led to the insolvency of the Cologne-based company at the beginning of 2017.

Above all, the cost of logistics was to be greatly reduced. Butlers had recently included furniture in his product range, but had misjudged the cost of supplying his stores. The brand returned to its roots both online and offline, with the motto "Everything for the table, decoration and gifts". On September 30, 2017, the chain store was able to successfully conclude the insolvency proceedings.

They succeeded in doing this by closing branches on the one hand, and by changing their product range policy and positioning themselves more precisely in the market on the other.

Data streams

In the course of the insolvency proceedings, the IT infrastructure was also put to the test. The Cologne-based provider of home accessories, for example, is focusing on the expansion of its own online shop, which accounts for around 20 per cent of sales, and cooperation. The product portfolio has recently been represented on the online platforms of Rewe, Wayfair and Yomonda as well as on the Internet marketplaces of Amazon and eBay. In addition, the articles are available at more than 5,000 external points of sale.

The IT infrastructure brings together data streams from the Butlers-Webshop, the platforms, the company's own stores and the ordering systems of trading partners. During the Christmas season, for example, the cash registers of all stores are permanently in operation. Online channels are also booming at these times and are increasing data traffic even further.

IT infrastructure from the cloud

"On average, our systems handle approximately 5,000 database transactions per second. At peak times, however, it can sometimes be more than 12,000.", says André Martens, IT Manager at Butlers. It's practically impossible to stock up IT capacity for the high rush at peak times because the regular costs are too high. The only option is for the IT service provider to expand the infrastructure as needed. One solution: "Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)", i.e. the provision of a data center infrastructure by a cloud provider. Butlers opted for the Cologne-based infrastructure provider Gridscale.

"We quickly reached the limits of our existing service provider," says Martens. "In order to be able to install servers quickly and flexibly as required, we decided to switch over completely to the cloud.

One advantage of IaaS is the high degree of automation to simplify administration. This also has an effect on costs. The virtual servers do not necessarily have to run 24x7. For example, the servers for the warehouse will be shut down at 16:00. The company pays for the service used and thus saves about one third of the costs per day for the only partially used servers.

Butlers plans to operate further servers at Gridscale, for example the systems for gift and customer cards or the media database with product images.

The original article in german can be found here.

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