How Snow Commerce automated deployment for a dramatic speed increase

Industry
E-commerce
Headquarters
Cincinnati, OH
Cloud services used:
Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service
Amazon EC2
Problem
Snow Commerce moved to Kubernetes with the goal of accelerating and automating its deployment process. The Snow Commerce team was using AWS cloud services and reaping the benefits of the cloud, but the environment lacked consistency and deployment was slow.
Solution
By teaming up with CAST AI, the Snow Commerce team can now roll out apps seamlessly without any downtime and benefit from an automated environment to deliver business value faster. As a result of this automation journey, the team increased its speed significantly and will soon benefit from automated cost optimization.

E-commerce companies
rely on the cloud every day

Snow Commerce is an expert e-commerce agency with a global reach that uses industry-leading platforms to support its clients in achieving mission-critical business objectives.

With HQ in the US and operating across Canada, Russia, and Europe, Snow Commerce helps e-commerce businesses around the world to make the most of modern technologies.

“The cloud is essential for our business. For a company like us, it’s important to be able to host a branded store in the country where you operate for optimal performance. But the cloud became even more critical when we started building our apps. We needed a level of scalability that only the cloud could provide. We rely on cloud capabilities every day.”

Cameron Dixon,
Software Architect at Snow Commerce

But sometimes the cloud isn’t enough

The team at Snow Commerce was using AWS cloud services and reaping the benefits of the cloud, but the environment lacked consistency and deployment was slow.

The team was looking to speed up the process of making updates and rolling out features with automation as a key goal. Snow Commerce wanted to be able to scale resources and cost optimize the setup without getting locked in with a single cloud provider.

“At that time, removing the manual effort involved in building our applications was a bigger driver to change for us than potential cost savings of managed Kubernetes. My boss expected me to build features on time and meeting these requirements with a manual deployment process was really hard. We wanted to move faster and save time to focus on things that impact our business. Our team wanted to get value from what they were doing from the business standpoint, not spend time on just managing and running the system.”

Cameron Dixon,
Software Architect at Snow Commerce

Compliance was another key point of interest. In order to meet the compliance requirements specific to e-commerce, the system had to be updated and patched once a month.

“It got to the point when updating and patching would take half of my day. Maybe some people like that, but to me, it was a waste of time. I’d rather make sure that the system is updated automatically and keep moving - building services and providing value back to the business.”

Cameron Dixon,
Software Architect at Snow Commerce

Solution: Moving to managed
Kubernetes with CAST AI

To accelerate the deployment process, Snow Commerce decided to implement containers and rely on the managed Kubernetes services of CAST AI.

The implementation process took four weeks and involved only two team members, not affecting the workflow of other team members who kept on building features.

“Moving to Kubernetes with CAST AI was incredibly efficient. We identified the project that we wanted to do first and set up the dev environment. In 3 days, we were already testing Kubernetes and smoothly moved to the production environment.”

Cameron Dixon,
Software Architect at Snow Commerce

Scaling and configuration were two key issues Snow Commerce needed help with.

To simplify the process, Snow Commerce followed the CAST AI recommendation and used a hosted solution.

“Along the way, we also took care of requirements that are unique to our industry. One example of that is keeping static IP addresses when talking to our customers’ web services. CAST AI modified its platform in record time to support AWS NAT Gateways, private nodes, and VPC peering with our private database. It was really comforting to know that we’re working with a team that has a lot of experience in Kubernetes and is willing to go the extra mile to address our unique needs.”

Cameron Dixon,
Software Architect at Snow Commerce

Result: Faster team, automated deployment, and peace of mind

The new setup was a game-changer for the Snow Commerce team. It removed a lot of manual work from producing tests and deploying code, speeding up the entire process. The team can now roll out their apps seamlessly without any downtime.

CAST AI automatically manages the company’s IaaS infrastructure, so Snow Commerce doesn’t have to worry about VMs or EC2 instances anymore.

It also handles scaling - the cluster can grow to match the requirements automatically. CAST AI accelerated the compliance requirements thanks to automated VM patching, security controls, logging, and visibility and tracing.

“When the team pushes a feature, it builds automatically. Adding more testing - including automated tests - improved our process a lot. Centralizing logs was a huge win for us. The solution builds and tests automatically, helping us to become faster at rolling out updates and meeting our business goals.”

Cameron Dixon,
Software Architect at Snow Commerce

Next steps:
More automation
and cost optimization
with CAST AI

Snow Commerce developed an automated pipeline but wants to streamline it even more. The team will be working with CAST AI to set up advanced CI/CD, autoscaling for SQS-based jobs, and additional monitoring and alerting to ensure operational excellence. Naturally, cost optimization is part of the plan as well with CAST AI potentially saving up to 50% on the company’s cloud bill.

“Running on-premises just doesn’t make sense. Testing and deploying code like that is inefficient. Teams that want to remove the burden of manual work, speed up their process, and deliver business value need the cloud and Kubernetes. Moving to a containerized environment with CAST AI was a breeze - the team has outstanding expertise in this area and provided lots of helpful suggestions. I’ve already recommended CAST AI to engineers working in other companies.”

Cameron Dixon,
Software Architect at Snow Commerce

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