Cloud Web Hosting Case Study - Alliance Disposables Scalable eCommerce Platform

Customer Profile

Alliance Disposables is one of the leading suppliers of non-food catering equipment in the UK. Their headquarters are based in Cheshire with 12 branch sites across the UK and Ireland. Greystone has been Alliance’s IT partner for over 12 years and has been instrumental in managing and supporting the rapid expansion of all aspects of their IT systems.

Business Issue

Alliance runs a large e-commerce website, which was previously hosted on several large “Do it all” servers, which hosted the website, database, and resources such as images and brochures. This setup was hard to maintain, update, and secure, as all changes needed to be replicated across all servers manually and failing over between the servers was a lengthy and involved process.

Alliance wanted to update to a modern web solution, which allowed for quick iterative updates to the website, while also being highly available, and scalable to allow for busy periods.

IT Solution

Greystone in its capacity as an AWS (Amazon Web Services) partner was able to design and build a highly scalable, highly available website using AWS cloud services. We built a new deployment system from the ground up using multiple AWS services for a tightly integrated service that allowed us to quickly update, scale, and secure the Alliance Disposables e-commerce website.

The core solution comprises of a central highly available backend database with several frontend web servers that auto-scale to match current demand, essential for busy periods like Black Friday. While all static content like images and documents are held in S3 storage and served through a content delivery network to enhance performance and global availability.

Technology Used

  • AWS EC2 (Servers).
  • AWS ELB (Load Balancers).
  • AWS S3 (Document and image Storage).
  • AWS CloudFront (Content Delivery Network)
  • AWS Route53 (DNS).
  • AWS CodeDeploy (Code Deployments).
  • Bitbucket (Code Repository and Pipelines).

Results and Benefits

Due to the highly-available nature of the new website infrastructure, sales are never missed as customers are always able to access the website, no more maintenance pages or “error site not found” messages. Also due to the highly agile structure of the site new features and bugs are fixed or implemented much quicker and more consistently.

This means Alliance’s customers have a better experience and are more likely to return and use the website for repeat business.

A word from Alliance...

Greystone have provided Alliance exceptional IT development and support for over ten years. The business was originally a single office with about 10 staff when we were introduced to Greystone and is now an 8 site national company with over 300 staff. The support service that Greystone provide is friendly, professional and reliable, and has been flexible to the demands of our business through a period of rapid growth and change

Paul Bonson - Alliance Disposables Ltd