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How Google Kubernetes Engine Enables Retailers to Optimize Black Friday/Cyber Week Sales

The Silent Generation is known to lament the loss of The Golden Age of Radio, longing for the days where everyone would gather around in the living room to listen together. The advent of television rapidly rendered that wholesome pastime obsolete. That’s the cost of technological advancement — the end of certain traditions.

But there are some traditions disappearing at the hands of technological progress that aren’t worth crying about. Take Black Friday, the American pastime where people leave their family’s Thanksgiving dinners early to line up at stores overnight to take advantage of sales available the following day, which sometimes end in infamous stampedes as soon as those doors open.

Luckily, technology has facilitated the creation of Cyber Monday. It’s the television to Black Friday’s radio. It allows people to take advantage of those steep discounts the Monday following Thanksgiving that previously were attainable only in-person, from the safety of their own home. No disappointed family members or trampling necessary. It actually expanded to become an entire Cyber Week in recent years, encompassing Black Friday and the several days that follow.

Last year, Forbes reported in-store shopping during Black Friday declined 1.7% year-over-year, whereas online sales experienced 23.6% year-over-year growth. And the conversion of in-store to online sales is only expected to increase over the coming years. Retailers no longer have to worry as much about crowd control, at least in the physical sense. Instead, they must prepare their digital infrastructure to handle enormous, unpredictable peaks in activity.

But it would be a poor use of retailers’ capital expenditures to invest in permanent digital infrastructure that can process Cyber Week’s annual spikes. That’s where the cloud comes in. Retailers can introduce elasticity to their traditional IT environment by using resources in the cloud as they need them in granular increments down to the second. While Cyber Week is difficult to predict, last year many analysts’ sales predictions, especially in the days following Black Friday, were blown out of the water. Infrastructure scalability is critical for surviving this unpredictable online shopping surge.

Historically, in order to rapidly extend a traditional IT environment to the cloud, a retailer would need to virtualize their traditional workloads using the same hypervisor leveraged by their cloud provider. In the retail industry, more often than not, IT consists of a hodgepodge of different infrastructure platforms of widely varying ages, both proprietary and cloud-based. Modernizing legacy systems using the same virtualization vendor is prohibitively costly and/or complex. Luckily, there is a rising technology that simplifies application transportability and saves users from vendor lock-in.

Enter containerization. It’s a method for building an application with all of its configuration files, libraries, and dependencies, so it can run seamlessly across all types of traditional and virtualized environments, no matter the type of hypervisor. One of the most popular orchestration platforms for creating, managing, and scaling containers is an open-source offering originally created by Google called Kubernetes. Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is a managed, production-ready environment for deploying containerized applications.

GKE is an indispensable tool in a retailer’s Black Friday/Cyber Week arsenal because it streamlines the toughest challenge presented by the week: load balancing. GKE helps retailers build scalable container clusters, so applications can respond rapidly to changes in business demand, which optimizes performance and minimizes cost.

In April, Google revealed Anthos, a comprehensive cloud platform architecture that lets users build, deploy and manage hybrid applications across multiple environments. The game-changing platform enables users to run containerized workloads in Google Cloud Platform (GCP), on-premise, or even in other cloud environments, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. Anthos is rolling out its features rapidly and GKE has a key role in the expanding of the Anthos platform since containerization is the foundation of the service.

But how do you ensure success with hybrid-cloud? Just as a retailer would invest in additional security for its stores on Black Friday, they should also engage a trusted partner to help them implement the latest technologies to optimize sales opportunities during this week-long event.

For retailers that are looking to take advantage of GKE and Anthos, Maven Wave is the clear choice of partner, given our expertise and reputation as a longtime Google Cloud Premier Partner. We hold eight total Google Cloud Partner Specializations, and we’ve been named Google Cloud North America Services Partner of the Year for the past two years.

Maven Wave can help you take advantage of the benefits of GKE Anthos in several ways:

  • We help clients plan where and how to take advantage of hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments.
  • We work with you to develop an infrastructure that allows you to securely deploy Anthos and connect various data sources to your applications running on Kubernetes.
  • We can migrate your applications to containers that allow them to work in this new environment.

Before you can take advantage of all of the benefits of this groundbreaking new technology, you need to ensure all of the proper pieces are in place for it to run effectively. Our experts are offering a complimentary webinar, “5 Steps to Getting Hybrid-Cloud Ready with Anthos” on November 21 at 1:00 pm EST. Register now.

November 5th, 2019

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