CHALLENGES: Domino’s needed a hosting solution that offered the security of dedicated servers and the flexibility of cloud.
RACKSPACE® SOLUTION: Rackspace Hybrid Cloud
BUSINESS OUTCOME: Rackspace allows Domino’s to transition appropriate workloads to the public cloud gradually while maintaining a dedicated footprint.
With more than 800 stores, Domino’s is the UK’s leading pizza company. Thanks to innovative web and mobile apps, online and mobile sales account for more than 50 percent of Domino’s overall revenue, which has itself increased 34 percent since last year.
To accommodate this and future growth, Domino’s UK entrusts almost all of their infrastructure to a hybrid cloud solution that allows them to be highly available, maintain performance during peak loads, and save money in the process. This solution also enables Domino’s to migrate appropriate workloads to the cloud gradually, with lower risk, while retaining the performance and security benefits of dedicated servers.
When Colin Rees began as Domino’s IT director, the company hosted its infrastructure on-premise. He immediately saw an opportunity to work with a specialist that could help the company focus on its core business. “Over 50 percent of our business comes from online or mobile channels, so it is absolutely critical to us,” says Rees. “If that service fails, we upset lots of customers and lose a lot of business. I was very aware that to maintain our current growth trajectory, and to keep improving our customer experience, we needed a reliable hosting solution. One my first actions as IT director was to outsource our data center.”
Rees moved all of Domino’s UK infrastructure except print servers to Rackspace. “There were so many companies that run data centers much better than we ever could, and it freed up all of that resource and effort to do things that better benefit the company,” Rees explains. “There were a lot of really good hosting companies out there, but we felt the culture of Rackspace was an energetic, fast-moving, service-focused match to our own culture.”
Rackspace also offered a diverse portfolio that meant Domino’s could build a dedicated footprint while also having the option of expanding into cloud in the future. Rees says, “We wanted the very best of both worlds. Our hosting solution had to offer the exceptionally high level of security and configurability that only comes with dedicated managed hosting, but also provide the instant scalability and economy of cloud hosting when we need it. The answer was found with Rackspace Hybrid Cloud, a solution that ticks all these options and more.”
Now, Rees says, “We run pretty much everything that supports the business at Rackspace: our commerce platforms, our mobile platforms, all of our dev/test platforms, all of the systems that support DPG as a corporation, our finance systems, et cetera. The only thing we really host locally is print servers.”
Rackspace allows Domino’s to transition appropriate workloads to the public cloud gradually while maintaining a dedicated footprint. “For us, the cloud is a journey,” Rees says. “Cloud is an important technology, but we wanted to build our experience and understanding of it in a low-risk way. At the moment we are running all of our dev/ test services on the cloud, and we’ve been doing that for about a year now. The logic behind it is to build our knowledge and confidence in the cloud platform before we migrate our production services over to that platform, which we are just starting to work on now.”
“We’re going to be experimenting later this year with moving our commerce platform more and more onto the cloud.” Eventually, Rees says, “I can’t see why we cannot move as much as 80 percent of our total workloads to the public cloud, including business-critical apps and mobile workloads. If we can take advantage of cloud infrastructure and scaling, I can see a) a lot more flexibility, and b) good cost reduction.”
Rees says, “The real benefits will start to accrue when we begin to take full advantage of the on-demand scalability of the Rackspace Cloud for developing new smartphone or tablet applications, or scaling up by adding new virtual servers to handle the increased traffic demands of a huge digital marketing campaign.“
The transition might be gradual, but this conservative approach doesn’t preclude an exciting vision for the future. “I think cloud helps drive innovation, it helps remove some of the little barriers that slow IT down in organizations. The options are endless,” Rees says, “and the result is that our online business offering can grow effortlessly to meet the needs of an increasingly tech-savvy and pizza-hungry audience.”
Domino’s relies on Rackspace to provide the guidance they need to explore those possibilities. “I’m very happy with the support we get, particularly from our account manager and all the tech leads,” says Domino’s infrastructure manager Michael Chute. “They spend quite a lot of time educating us about what products are out there and how we can use them. They’re very good at making us aware of what’s out there and how we can best do what we’re doing. I’m quite confident that we can make more use of cloud and get the support to do it.”
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