Don Disfraz uses the OVHcloud Private Cloud to flexibly scale its infrastructure for campaigns, and sell fancy dress costumes across Europe.
OVHcloud & Don Disfraz
users per day
during campaign periods
on infrastructure costs
Don Disfraz is a Spanish company that specialises in fancy dress costumes, party accessories and decorations, sold online in both Spain and Europe. It is Spain’s biggest fancy dress shop, with a catalogue of more than 65,000 products.
Roberto and Pilar Dominguez are brother and sister, and grew up surrounded by the fancy dress costumes rented out at the shop their parents ran. In 2007, they decided to use their 30 years of experience in the sector to launch their own company. They opened a shop and a small warehouse, and a year later they began branching into online sales, so that they could sell products across Spain.
Little by little, their project took off. 10 years later, their shop is now more than 600m². Every day, their warehouse ships orders across Europe, and they can deliver to customers in just 24 hours. Their online sales have skyrocketed. These sales now form 95% of the company’s revenue, which makes Don Disfraz a leading company in online fancy dress sales.
Since launching their digital project a decade ago, Don Disfraz has used OVHcloud as an infrastructure provider. They initially used OVHcloud services via a third-party company, then became direct customers.
During the project’s initial stages, Don Disfraz’s e-commerce platform was based on just two dedicated servers — one hosting the application, and the other hosting the database. Operating in a sector such as this, with seasonal peaks, it can receive up to 4,250 orders per day during busy periods. The company’s original infrastructure of two dedicated servers therefore limited its growth.
It needed to plan and prepare its environment well in advance of peaks, in order to increase its allocated resources — a method that proved costly.
Extensive planning was required to schedule campaigns and manage traffic spikes, which meant that Don Disfraz had to invest enormous amounts of time and money replicating physical servers to adapt its infrastructure.
Juan García, Director of Technology at Don Disfraz
Don Disfraz already had its own Systems department. When they wanted to redesign their infrastructure, their priority was to tackle the scalability issues they experienced with dedicated servers. The main objective was to gain the flexibility offered by a virtualised infrastructure with distributed services. This would enable them to effortlessly manage traffic spikes during seasonal campaigns. The delay between requesting and allocating new resources would be minimal. Furthermore, the increased security and flexibility offered by a virtualised infrastructure convinced the company to opt for it.
Due to its sector’s seasonal nature, Don Disfraz needed a scalable, flexible infrastructure that it could use to adapt to each campaign’s requirements and traffic spikes with speed and agility. This need for flexibility meant that the company would need to completely redesign its infrastructure.
When the Systems team began to review the design for their new architecture, they were not sure which solution they should opt for.
OVHcloud’s Technical and Sales teams offered us a number of options, and we could test the solution we chose before we purchased it, so that we could check it worked properly for us. They gave us a lot of advice before we made a decision, so that we could get the best product for our needs. They were also really flexible when we initially tested it, and gave us a lot of technical support to ensure we tested it properly. This all played a vital part in our decision-making.
Juan García, Director of Technology at Don Disfraz
Finally, after we tried out the OVHcloud Private Cloud for free, our team of system administrators adopted it. It’s a private cloud with fully-dedicated hardware, which gives us the option of adding resources billed by the hour. Its virtualisation environment is based on VMware, and managed by OVHcloud.
The e-commerce platform is available in four countries, but is still based on a single Private Cloud solution. To direct traffic based on its geographical origin, private cloud access from each country is directed by a load balancer. With the potential offered by the NSX software-defined network solution developed by VMware, and available on our private cloud, a load balancer configured without maintaining sessions on a round-robin mode ensures an optimal balance. We can face traffic spikes of up to 1,500 concurrent users per channel, i.e. a total of 4,000 web users.
Behind these load balancers, there is a private access layer for data with Apache and PHP-FPM front-ends, hosting the e-commerce application Magento 1.9. This layer is structured to provide unlimited horizontal scalability. This way, when the infrastructure receives an influx of 240,000 visitors per day, it can quickly replicate the number of front-ends several times, in order to handle this traffic spike. The IT team at Don Disfraz created a “demilitarised zone” (DMZ) with a content server, where NGINX delivers all of the online store’s static content (multimedia content, CSS, js, etc.) in optimal time.
Then the e-commerce website’s back-end is located on an independent virtual machine, which can be accessed from the Don Disfraz offices via VPN. Another virtual deployment machine acts as a main axis for its integration environment, and deploys continuously.
Finally, Don Disfraz set up a private vSwitch to link two lower layers with the largest virtual machines. These machines host the database, Redis server and Apache Solr to cache sessions, and the website’s search engine. This architecture not only improves response times, but also guarantees that the architecture’s vital data is isolated. This way, all sensitive data remains completely private and secure. In this system layer, an NFS layer exchanges common static content files between back-end and front-end networks, as well as the demilitarised zone.
To guarantee that it can recover all of its data if required and ensure business continuity, Don Disfraz uses the Veeam Managed Backup solution, which is based on Veeam Backup & Replication technology. This solution is managed by OVHcloud, and can be used to seamlessly restore a malfunctioning virtual machine in just a few minutes. With this setup, the company has backup copies of all the most important servers in the infrastructure, which guarantees a very short recovery time in the event of any service interruptions. Even in the worst-case scenarios, there would only be a few minutes of downtime.
Don Disfraz chose to sign up for Business-level technical support. This means that the company has a direct, personal contact in both our Technical and Sales teams, guaranteeing a faster response time. “All it took was one technical issue for an entire campaign to fall apart”, explains Juan García, Director of Technology at Don Disfraz. “When this happened, Business-level support meant that we were quickly delivered replacement hosting solutions. With a direct contact, and responses in just a few minutes, everything went really smoothly. The result was worth the investment. And that’s exactly what it is — an investment, rather than a cost.”
As well as using OVHcloud services, Don Disfraz signed an agreement with another service provider to get a content delivery network (CDN) that would deliver content across a wide geographical range, since the company delivers products to several countries in Europe.
Our sector is very seasonal, so we were absolutely certain that we’d need total flexibility in how we scale our infrastructure. And I can say without a shred of doubt that OVHcloud’s Private Cloud is exactly what we need, because we can quickly scale up and down without any limitations, and get lower costs.
Juan García, Director of Technology at Don Disfraz
The architecture, built by Don Disfraz and powered by the OVHcloud Private Cloud, can be used to quickly and securely scale up an infrastructure at specific times. The infrastructure can be scaled out without any limitations. Rendering time can be multiplied to a considerable degree in just a few minutes, without any impact on service.
Regarding productivity, the team managing the infrastructure at Don Disfraz has significantly improved its scale-out times during campaigns. Team members can make these changes in just a few hours, rather than spending days analysing and preparing the systems required, as they had to do with their previous physical system.
With its new infrastructure, Don Disfraz has managed to reduce its costs by 40% per year, and improve the user experience, with response times reduced by 60%.
“In the company, we work on new projects that normally launch in Q2 every year. We are reviewing international development paths and finalising our B2B project, which will be launched soon with the name Costumalia. We are currently selling via Amazon, and we also believe that it is important to be present in other marketplaces,” explains Roberto Domínguez, Director of Don Disfraz.
“The e-commerce sector is constantly evolving, and growing at a regular rate. The ability to adapt to new trends is a vital part of staying on the market. All of these projects and much more were a success due to the flexibility offered by our current infrastructure, and OVHcloud’s ability to quickly adapt to emerging technology. As a result, the team managing our infrastructure can offer new improvements every quarter, like new SDDC packs, the migration of our content delivery network to OVHcloud now that their solution is mature, and much more.”
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