Carussel Case Study

About the client

Carussel is a digital marketing company specializing in the automotive sector. It provides web hosting, content management, and stock management services, along with a wide range of online activities (e.g. social media campaigns) for car dealerships in order to convert website visitors into leads. As a dynamically growing company with 900 dealership clients in 29 European countries, it is crucial for Carussel to have an IT infrastructure that is secure, is able to scale flexibly, and have simple operational needs that can potentially be outsourced.

The challenge

Although Carussel already used virtualization to run virtual machines (VMs), it did it on its own physical hardware, an on-premise infrastructure at a local co-location provider. Virtualization was necessary to be able to separate the different markets by countries, because the applications only supported configuration by country level. All the configuration and the servers were managed by system administrators without using automation, so they had to react to each change request with manual configuration. As both the hardware and the Linux distribution were running very close to End-of-Life status, Carussel faced an important decision: invest a significant amount of money upfront in new hardware and undergo a long upgrade process (with a lot of hardware and software changes), or choose a cloud-based solution with a monthly fee. To inform the decision between buying new hardware and moving to the cloud, Carussel consulted with Aliz to review and understand Carussel’s services and on-premise infrastructure, then analyze the solution options and the risks, and provide suggestions. After carefully considering all the factors, and evaluating the options, Carussel decided to move to the cloud. They asked Aliz to design a cloud-based infrastructure, and deliver the whole migration project from end to end.

Our solution

To solve Carussel’s infrastructure challenges, Aliz designed and implemented a Google Cloud Platform (GCP)-based solution. Since the migration was related to Carussel’s business-critical services, it was very important to mitigate the risks, and ensure data integrity, and use an incremental migration process that included only planned and short outages. Automation was key in the process: After creating an automated Configuration Management process, Aliz also started the automated migration of the production systems to Compute Engine instances. A new deployment process was also necessary: Aliz created a pipeline where builds and tests run after every change. This system is capable of deploying any application on either a single node or all of the nodes at once. This change made the deployment much faster and more predictable causing the overall availability to increase considerably. Test enviromnent creation also became automated. This way any number of machines can be started in minutes with fresh data for testing purposes and deleted after the tests. While this makes testing faster and more flexible, it simultaneously lowers the monthly costs of the infrastructure by utilizing the dynamic, by-minute billing of Google Compute Engine.  

The result

The solution Aliz implemented ensures less operational workload, and fewer outages by the ability of scaling and automated Configuration Management process that makes it faster to introduce changes and leaves less room for simple mistakes.

The system is also more cost-effective: Carussel only has to pay after the instances that currently run (e.g. only pay after test environments that are currently needed). Thanks to the scalable solution, it extends easily with additional instances, or new cloud services to add new features as needed.

The website loading time became much faster, which was one of the most important factors since their website operates with around 10 TBs of data per month.

As the migrated infrastructure runs a business-critical customer service, Carussel also needed

24/7 application and infrastructure first-level support. They were willing to outsource these tasks, and simplifying operations made it easy to outsource first-level support to Aliz.

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