RBTE 2017: Lush benefits from move to Google Cloud

Cosmetics specialist Lush has made a quick-fire move to Google Cloud Platform and is already saving money and thinking about long-term developments.

Ryan Kerry, global head of engineering and technology at Lush, explained at RBTE 2017 how his organisation recently moved its eCommerce infrastructure to Google Cloud Platform. The migration from platform-as-a-service provider Acquia was completed in the run up to Boxing Day 2016 and took just 22 days.

“We wanted to move to a more scalable infrastructure and that’s why Google Cloud made sense,” said Kerry. “We wanted to make sure we were getting value for money and we knew we had the opportunity to future-proof our technology stack.”

Kerry said Lush, which has more than 900 stores worldwide and employs about 20,000 people, has invested in ethical sourcing. The firm was keen to make a similar move digitally and has created a set of policies to help its business move forwards.

Lush is committed to open source and is currently in the process of stripping out all proprietary software. “We want to drive the open source community; we want to develop stuff and we want to give back,” said Kerry.

Kerry said moving to Google Cloud, which is equally committed to open source, forms a key part of Lush’s transition to an ethical IT platform. He said other potential plus-points include no vendor lock-in, per-minute billing and sustained usage discounting.

Time constraints meant the transition to Google involved a 'lift-and-shift' approach, where pre-existing elements were moved to the Cloud Platform. Kerry said the transition involved 146 databases, yet technical challenges were successfully overcome and the simplified approach is producing business benefits.

“We’ve already seen a 40% reduction in our annual hosting fees,” he said. “We’re able to upscale and downscale on-demand, and we never pay for more IT than we actually need. We don’t have servers sitting around wasting money.”

Kerry also said moving to Google will provide a flexible platform for future digital-led change, including containerisation and machine learning. “We’ll be able to think how we can use these tools to improve our offering to our customers,” he said.

What’s Hot on Essential Retail?