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DANIEL WELLINGTON(hereinafter referred to as "DW") is a wrist watch brand from Sweden that provides consumers with personalized accessories selection based on the Scandinavian design. Since its establishment in 2011, the brand DANIEL WELLINGTON has set off a new trend in wrist watch fashion worldwide and its business has grown rapidly. DW has established cooperation with distributors in more than 100 markets, with a total of more than 8,000 sales points. There are 14 offices around the world: Stockholm, Uppsala, New York, Los Angeles, London, Cologne, Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Mumbai and Dubai.

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Through the use of AWS, DW has realized the global unified IT architecture deployment and resource collaboration, and we have supported DW Group's IT applications across 4 cities, i.e. Beijing, Ningxia, Singapore and Tokyo with a 14-person O&M team only.

Wang Yaodong

CTO of Daniel Wellington Trading (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.

Application background

As early as 2014, DW started to use AWS, with all business applications around the world running on AWS, using the AWS overseas in EU (Ireland) Region, US (Oregon) Region, Asia (Japan) Region, Asia (Singapore) Region.

DW entered the Chinese market in 2015. In order to get close to Chinese consumers, the decision was made to choose AWS China Region operated by Beijing SINNET Technology Co., Ltd. ("SINNET") and Ningxia West Cloud Data Technology Co., Ltd. ("NWCD") to build a separate set of IT applications in China. Wang Yaodong, CTO of DW China, said, "The reason for choosing AWS in China is that DW has already used AWS overseas and has a great experience. We decide to make global unified deployment as our first principle, so as to facilitate management and collaboration. "

Starting from 2016, DW transferred its official Chinese website from the European region to the AWS China (Beijing) region operated by SINNET. At that time, AWS provided service to selected customers in China in the form of limited preview. Later, DW successively enabled the AWS China (Beijing) Region operated by SINNET and the AWS China (Ningxia) Region operated by NWCD.

There are mainly three categories of DW’s applications running on AWS: First, business systems, including official website store, retail POS systems, WeChat H5, official account programs, etc.; Second, background systems, including AD domain services, Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, etc.; Third, system interface and micro-service, including the data interfaces mainly between various systems and between systems and external suppliers.

Achievement

Guan Yuhui, Operations Manager of DW Asia Pacific Information Technology, said that the use of AWS has benefited DW in four areas:

  • Use on demand and rapid deployment
  • Fast elastic expansion to support instantaneous flow outburst
  • Globalized platform to improve O&M efficiency
  • Responsibility sharing to streamline team
  • Use on demand and rapid deployment
  • In the past five years, the revenue scale of DW has grown rapidly, and if it continued to use traditional rental IDC or its own IDC, DW would have to spend a lot of hardware costs to support the rapid expansion of the company. After using AWS, DW can start new services at any time simply by completing the corresponding budget approval process, thus saving the traditional annual budget, hardware procurement, spare parts procurement maintenance, and O&M costs.

  • Fast elastic expansion to support instantaneous flow outburst
  • DW is a star enterprise in social promotion, which can often get the opportunity of cooperation for promotion with popular influencers. One of the biggest cooperative exposures brought more than 400 times the daily traffic surge to DW’s official website. This is unthinkable and very difficult to handle in companies using traditional rental IDC. However, relying on AWS's strong elastic capacity expansion, DW can complete the elastic capacity adjustment of its official website within 1 working day to support every peak traffic visit.

  • Globalized platform to improve O&M efficiency
  • AWS's globally unified management structure, uniform API and bilingual support enable the O&M teams in China and Sweden to make use of the 7-hour time difference to operate and maintain each other's cloud platforms, thus greatly reducing labor costs and minimizing night shift and holiday overtime. With AWS Cloud and through global collaboration to achieve work-life balance, the DW O&M team is very proud. During every e-commerce promotion season in China, what we are familiar with is the scene of crew working all night. At DW, it is possible to schedule only a small number of O&M staff on duty at night, while the O&M team in another time zone can do the work instead. In case of any system abnormality, go directly to the account number in the relevant area for the first round of inspection, handling and emergency repair operation. If necessary, local personnel will be requested for the second round of troubleshooting. Such a replacement mechanism can enable the O&M personnel to cope with 24-hour non-stop online business with normal working and rest time. In addition, during the service implementation process of DW in China, the O&M team in Shenzhen used AWS Tokyo and Singapore regions to support DW business in China, reducing the service implementation time from 1-2 months to 1-2 days.

  • Responsibility sharing to streamline team
  • With only 14 persons in the Asia Pacific O&M support team, Guan Yuhui is managing the IT applications of DW in four major regions including Beijing, Ningxia, Singapore and Japan, involved in the task from architecture, deployment, security to O& M, supporting the business development of the two major regions of DW China and Asia-Pacific with a streamlined but professional team.

DW uses a comprehensive range of AWS Cloud services, and according to statistics, more than 30 kinds of services are in use, includingAmazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon EC2 Container Registry (Amazon ECR), Amazon EC2 Container Service (Amazon ECS), AWS Lambda, Elastic Load Balancing (ELB), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), Amazon Glacier, Amazon Aurora, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon ElastiCache, Amazon Redshift, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC), AWS Direct Connect, Amazon CloudWatch, AWS Systems Manager, AWS CloudFormation, AWS CloudTrail, AWS Config, AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), Amazon Athena, Amazon Elasticsearch Service, Amazon Kinesis Streams, Amazon API Gateway, Amazon Cognito, etc. Fig. 1 is a diagram for DW’s system architecture based on AWS Cloud.

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Fig. 1: Diagram for DW’s System Architecture Based on AWS Cloud

O&M automation

One of DW's important perceptions from the use of AWS is O&M automation. Guan Yuhui said that DW tried not to let O&M personnel get into repetitive O&M work.

  • Automation deployment
  • Containerization
  • Serverless architecture
  • Automation deployment
  • Over 90% of DW's infrastructure has been deployed using AWS CloudFormation automated scripts.

    With AWS CloudFormation, DW can create templates for service or application architectures. In case of a new deployment or expansion in need, only the existing templates need to be copied and the parameters need to be modified appropriately to quickly and reliably configure services or applications with these templates. Beginning from the Swedish team, DW has paid great attention to the security and reliability of IT architecture and O&M automation. Therefore, the Asia Pacific team started working with reference to the main templates and approaches from the Swedish team.

    At the same time, DW will use the AWS Config service to evaluate and audit the relevant AWS resource configurations. AWS Config will continuously monitor and log the configuration of AWS resources to determine whether the relevant configuration meets the requirements for configuration in the internal guidelines. DW will also conduct supervision, compliance check, operation audits and risk review of AWS accounts through CloudTrail.

    DW will also regularly evaluate its IT architecture based on the AWS Well-Architected Framework to determine the direction of optimization for the next step. For example, in an IT architecture evaluation, DW realized that for log audit, a separate account shall be established to better control security risks.

  • Containerization
  • Another measure for DW to improve O&M level is to use Amazon ECR and Amazon ECS to transform the traditional Amazon EC2 architecture into a containerized architecture. After containerization is realized, DW uses Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling groups to detect the health degree of each host and each container in a real-time manner. If there is a problem with its health degree or if a component fails, DW will restart the corresponding business process by automated means to achieve smooth operation with no need to get offline.

    Through a series of measures, DW China’s IT team took over the official website in China on July 5, 2018, achieved 99.98% availability, increased official website availability by 0.05%, and realized 100% availability records during peak sales hours, almost helping the business department to achieve its business objectives to the greatest extent.

  • Serverless architecture
  • DW heavily uses Lambda and Amazon API Gateway serverless service technology for deployment in interface layer and timing application. Through serverless architecture, the flexibility of interfaces between DW application systems is greatly improved. For example, DW has many order systems such as official websites, Tmall, Jingdong, WeChat applets, etc., which all need to transmit data to ERP system. In the past practice, each order system has to write a program to connect the ERP system. Using Lambda serverless technology, DW can realize the interface between the ERP system and any order system by only one interface application between the order system and the ERP system.

    The use of serverless architecture to implement interface application can bring two main benefits: First, the elastic capacity expansion can be realized automatically. Even in the case of a surge in order volume, DW does not have to worry about overpressure on the order system, because Lambda will automatically achieve implement flexible capacity expansion. In case of using the traditional architecture, a stress test must be carried out on the order system before the marketing activities. If the server is found slow, its capacity must be expanded in advance to avoid bottlenecks in the order flow under the circumstances of the "Double 11" promotion. With a serverless architecture, AWS can easily handle even 100,000 orders per minute.

    Burst traffic is quite common for a fashion brand like DW. Once a fashion blogger created a post on Weibo about DW products, and the traffic of DW’s official website increased 3 times that day. The adoption of serverless architecture makes DW free of stress.

    Second, the interface is reusable. The same interface application can connect different ERP and different order systems as long as one interface code is modified. For example, it is possible to interface the ERP of DW in South Korea, Europe and Australia. If this interface application is used simultaneously, it is possible to easily connect official website, Tmall, Taobao and Jingdong.

    In fact, DW has 8 E-commerce platforms in China. If the previous model was adopted, it would be developed 8 times to realize the connection of 8 e-commerce platforms with ERP, respectively. Now, the data can be read only by modifying the interface so that it corresponds to the standard development documents of the 8 platforms. And the interface application was copied from the Swedish team. Therefore, the DW’s team in China can achieve the effectiveness of the previous 8 jobs with only one fifth of its energy.

Using multiple database services

DW uses the full range of AWS database services provided by SINNET and NWCD, in which, Amazon RDS (MySQL) is used in official website's main database, Amazon Aurora is used in integral mall's main database, ElastiCache is used in cache between large systems, DynamoDB is used in interface database of serverless architecture, and Amazon Redshift is used in data warehouse.

DW highly recognizes these hosted database services. With Amazon RDS as an example, Guan Yuhui said that hosted services make DW's operation and maintenance very convenient. Previously, O&M personnel needed to be concerned about whether the database version was updated, whether there were new problems and whether repairs were needed. During designing the database architecture, it is necessary to consider the disaster preparedness requirements across availability zones or regions, data backup frequency and what backup storage to be used, and so on. Not only design shall be focused on, but also manual configuration. After using Amazon RDS, it will be possible to automatically upgrade the version, patch security vulnerabilities, and send instant alert to customers. DW will know all about the situation through these emails and information.

Aurora took a further step on the basis of Amazon RDS and automatically conducted disaster preparedness for three availability zones to make DW feel more at ease. Guan Yuhui was also impressed by the high cost performance of Aurora. He made a comparison of the point marketplace's use of Aurora in the AWS China (Ningxia) region operated by NWCD, with a further reduction by 50% in cost compared to the previous one.

DW has a lot of experience and perception in using the services of AWS. For example, DW has much to learn about security and permission management, experimenting with new IoT services to promote new retailing, developing team capabilities, etc.

DW's IT team, as a team that has the courage to innovate and try, can be said to be like a duck to water and like a tiger with wings when coming across such a wealth of cloud service functions from AWS . As Wang Yaodong, CTO of DW China, said, "I am very pleased that DW China has chosen the AWS Cloud. At the same time, the AWS (China) region, operated by SINNET and NWCD, has experienced rapid growth in the past two to three years, with new regions and many new services launched. DW has already started POC for a new project and will continue to do some interesting experiments and explorations on the AWS cloud to further tap the potential of IT and promote the business to a higher level. "

More Information

For information on the flexible, secure, highly scalable, low-cost online sales and retail solutions provided by AWS, please check the details on the Ecommerce Application page