Comestri is an award-winning, one-stop platform that helps e-commerce merchants track and manage orders across multiple channels and functions. It is a comprehensive solution for retailers seeking a platform to manage product information and distribution. across online outlets, including social media, company websites, and online marketplaces. Comestri is a three-time winner of the National Online Retail Association Solution Partner Excellence Awards, named Best Multi-Channel Technology in 2018 and 2019, and Best E-Commerce Integrator in 2019.
As e-commerce began to dominate retail spaces worldwide, Comestri experienced rapid growth and needed a platform to quickly and economically autoscale its operations. Engine Yard’s evolving, Ruby-centric NoOps PaaS solution, Engine Yard Kontainers, provided the features and speed Comestri needed to support the increased demand driving the company’s rapid growth.
Comestri’s multifunctional SaaS platform provides robust e-commerce support across multiple channels for retailers that have both an offline and online presence. For the last 5 years Comestri developers have relied on Engine Yard’s optimized Ruby stack and the app server processes and configurations provided by Engine Yard without having an internal DevOps team. By working with Engine Yard Comestri never needed to get a DBA, System Admin or Devops function. It was all managed by Engine Yard.
As e-commerce began to overtake other retail environments as the shopping mode of choice for a majority of consumers, Comestri needed a solution that could autoscale to accommodate increasing and constantly fluctuating demand as well as keep costs down. While the team began deploying on Heroku, it became increasingly clear that was not a permanent solution. As costs began to soar, Heroku was not able to meet the demands of a growing environment. A new technology was needed.
Comestri needed a way to deploy that was cost-effective but scalable, not just “more hardware”. That solution would help the company meet increased service demands from customers without needing to allocate additional resources for DevOps.
Engine Yard gave them a solution — Engine Yard Kontainers, a fully managed NoOps PaaS solution using Kubernetes. This platform can autoscale application performance in the cloud based on business requirements and does not require any specialized infrastructure expertise. Engine Yard Kontainers uses containers instead of EC2 instances. Containerizing workloads has proved to be more cost effective and provides fine grained observability improving Comestri’s ability to map infrastructure requirements to the needs of individual customers. It is also faster and easier to deploy applications. Other benefits include a built in dashboard and centralized log aggregation for improved visibility, monitoring, and customer support.
The transition to a container environment hasn’t been without challenges. Craig Bennett, Comestri’s Chief Technology Officer, acknowledges that the shift led to a number of changes in operations; the company is still working to move some accounts to the new environment. But even though some adjustments still need to be made, he says, “I don’t think there’s anything we’d change back.”
The shift to Engine Yard Kontainers also supports Comestri’s efforts to expand globally without the need for a dedicated DevOps team to manage its global infrastructure. Now, Comestri has a small IT team, with just one DevOps person to coordinate with the company’s developers and testing team. Without the change, Bennett estimates the company would need to double or triple its staff for DevOps functions. “Without Engine Yard Kontainers,” he says, “we’d have tripled infrastructure costs as well.”
Engine Yard Kontainers is designed for scale from the ground up. This new capability has created new opportunities for Comestri to respond to the unique circumstances of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which triggered a dramatic upswing in e-commerce traffic for retailers that Comestri serves.
As brick-and-mortar businesses around the world closed their doors during mandated lockdowns, many retailers experienced what Bennett calls a “complete shift in mindset” about how to do business. “People previously thought e-commerce should be as big as their biggest retail store,” he says. “But now, it’s their only store.”
Comestri has been able to rise to the challenge of this increased demand for services, by jumping from a pre-pandemic average of processing about 10,000 orders a day to more than 25,000 per day after the spread of COVID-19. The company posted its biggest day ever in May 2020, with over 35,000 orders processed during Australia’s Click Frenzy — an online shopping extravaganza similar to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday events in the US and other parts of the world.
“I’m so grateful we had Engine Yard Kontainers during those times,” says Bennett. “It was the first major multi-retailer sale event where we’ve actually had no worries about running at sufficient scale. There was no backlog of processing and all orders were processed in a timely manner. We got a lot of really nice comments from customers on how fast the platform was. It was extraordinary for us — really brilliant.”
Engine Yard Kontainers provides a scalable solution with 24/7 full-stack support and a 99.9% uptime guarantee. Backed by Engine Yard’s outstanding support, this PaaS solution allows Comestri to meet the needs of a growing e-commerce community in today’s global marketplace.
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