Chico's FAS Uses AppScale to Run Its Supply Chain Application
In 2014, Chico's set about streamlining their supply chain management by building a web application that would allow their hundreds of international vendors to collaborate on one platform. Because they have a lean IT team, they knew that the API-driven Google App Engine development model would be the most efficient way to quickly build the scalable web application that they needed.
This company’s situation was special, however, because they wanted to be able to run the application in close geographical proximity to their vendors. Because many of their vendors operate in China, they wanted to ensure that the application could run in a datacenter inside mainland China. Applications built on Google App Engine, however, are inaccessible in mainland China because of the Great Firewall. AppScale provides application portability that allows companies to run their application in whatever datacenter their business demands.
AppScale implements the Google App Engine APIs using proven open source components, allowing users to move their App Engine applications to AppScale unmodified, while providing the same scaling as App Engine. The AppScale Customer Success team worked closely with the developers at this global fashion company to get their GAE application running flawlessly on AppScale in Amazon Web Services.
Chico's uses a standard three-stage environment for deploying their application (dev, staging and production). They have a small staging site to test the latest version of the application which gets updated regularly with data from the production application. Once the app is vetted, it can easily be deployed on the production site. Since tests are all in AWS, the volume with the database is simply replicated for fast sync with the test site.
The process of getting the application up and running on AppScale is easy and had minimal impact on their lean IT department, allowing them to focus their time and resources on other projects.
“AppScale provides true portability for Google App Engine applications, allowing companies to run their apps within mainland China or in any datacenter they choose.”
Graziano Obertelli | VP Engineering
AppScale provided this global fashion brand with a solution that no other company could provide: complete portability for their App Engine application. Their supply chain application is now running in production in AWS, and is used daily by over 600 users. During peak hours, the application receives over 100 requests per second from users around the world.
As part of the Managed Service offering, the AppScale team manages and monitors the AWS infrastructure, and on the AppScale platform, the application is able to scale as needed to sustain seasonal load. To ensure 24x7 operation, AppScale implements several practices:
- We use our monitoring product, HawkEye, to monitor the internal performance of the platform.
- We manage remote backups of the application and data, ensuring that the desired data retention policy is enforced.
- We provide a “maintenance mode” feature that allows the companies developers to easily put their app in maintenance mode.
The business result is that this Fortune 1000 retailer now has an application that allows all of their vendors (including those in China) to collaborate and manage the supply chain. They also have the peace of mind that should they ever need to deploy their application in another public cloud or on their own infrastructure, they can do so with minimal effort because of AppScale.