Black Friday and the peak holiday shopping season was approaching and management at a large national retailer did not want a repeat of last year's disaster when millions of customers shopping via web browsers and mobile apps nearly crashed the system. Performance suffered and sales were lost as online customers quickly moved on when the network tried to channel all requests through a single instance of an application housed in one virtual space.

The retailer needed a simplified way to build their clouds, quickly deliver new applications, and balance workloads across millions of simultaneous users for more efficient performance.

The solution? Containers and Kubernetes. IIS recommended VMware Tanzu Architecture on Dell EMC VxRail to deliver an open source cloud application development platform. The solution would create and deploy multiple identical services to meet demand from networked and mobile users.

Containerization involves encapsulating or packaging up software code and all its dependencies so that an app can run uniformly and consistently on any infrastructure, eliminating bugs and translation errors when code is transferred to a different operating system. In short, it allows applications to be written once and used everywhere on any device. Containers are "lightweight", meaning they have a small compute footprint. They use a shared operating system and are portable. Smaller in capacity than a virtual machine, containers require less start-up time and power, and far more containers can be run on the same compute capacity as a single VM.

Kubernetes (K8s) is an open-source system for automating the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications from a single infrastructure. It groups and replicates containers, allowing IT administrators to quickly rollout or rollback cloud-native applications as needed. Kubernetes spreads the load from millions of simultaneous customer transactions over multiple services, or containers. It can automatically scale and provision more containers as needed based on CPU usage to support the surge in traffic expected during Black Friday and the holiday shopping season.

The Tanzu Architecture for VxRail (TA4V) is Dell EMC's implementation of Kubernetes. It enables businesses to manage their current virtual infrastructure while they migrate to a multi-cloud containerized strategy on the same platform. As a result, VMware Tanzu allows businesses to focus more on cloud adoption and building cloud-native applications to accelerate their digital transformation with Kubernetes-like orchestration. VMware Tanzu on Dell EMC VxRail is integrated with full stack solution options, from a flexible reference architecture to a fully automated turnkey solution, so businesses can adopt Kubernetes their way. Tanzu on VxRail helps make a cloud-native strategy easy by leveraging consistent infrastructure and operations to support faster application development, scalability, and lifecycle management that ensures companies are using the latest tools and features.

After containerizing their apps and using TA4V to orchestrate automated deployment, the retailer realized:

  • They were able to update specific services without taking an entire app off line.
  • Higher availability and redundancy. When an outage occurs, users can access the service from another container for a seamless, "always on" experience.
  • Updates and additions of new nodes to existing clusters could be executed in a non-disruptive fashion in as little as 15 minutes, whether the need is to provide additional compute and storage to support application development, or to roll a new app into production.
  • They could speed Kubernetes adoption across the enterprise by addressing Day 1 and Day 2 Kubernetes operations burdens using a complete, easy-to-upgrade Kubernetes runtime with pre-integrated and validated components. It also enabled IT to run the same K8s across data center, public cloud, and edge for a consistent, secure experience by all development teams.
  • Developers can build applications faster. Tanzu offers a self-service catalog of open-source building blocks such as application components, databases, and runtimes. Developers can also maintain the visibility of applications in production for faster troubleshooting.

Now the retailer enjoys reduced costs as well as a competitive advantage in the market by delivering more user friendly and accessible applications to the buying public faster, making the shopping experience more enjoyable even on the most intense days.

As a Dell Technologies Platinum partner, IIS offers expertise in VxRail Infrastructure systems powered by Dell PowerEdge Servers. Our proven assessment strategy will help guide you in making the best decision for your organization. Reach out to the IIS sales team for more information on how you can automate the deployment and provisioning of virtual assets through VMware Tanzu to improve your bottom line.

Jay Singh

Written by Jay Singh