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Ulta Beauty shifts e-commerce site to cloud foundation

Ulta NYC
Ulta Beauty is teaming up with Google Cloud.

The nation’s largest beauty retailer is transforming its digital retail operation with Google Cloud technology and services.

Ulta Beauty is redesigning its digital store for an upcoming launch to offer a highly personalized customer experience. To support this upgrade, Ulta Beauty sought a modern, containerized platform, an agile infrastructure to support rapid application development, and managed services to reduce operational burden on its staff.

The retailer, which began moving away from its legacy e-commerce platform that ran in its own on-prem data centers in 2019, is implementing Google Cloud, Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), and Google Cloud’s Anthos cloud-based managed services solution. Anthos’ built-in traffic routing enabled Ulta Beauty to save several hundred thousand dollars in additional licensing fees.

[Read more: Ulta makes beauty personal]

Ulta Beauty is relaunching its e-commerce platform with multiple, distinct microservices to perform unique functions. This enables development teams to create and test new features and release fixes faster. Microservices can scale independently, but are interconnected and visible to one another, and can introduce new system complexities at scale.

The shift to Anthos cloud services, which are available anywhere, also reduces risk and the severity of errors by offloading platform availability to Google Cloud. Mean time to recover (MTTR) from errors is now measured in seconds instead of hours. Ulta Beauty can now trace errors more quickly to the clusters or pods affected, and can remediate them without impacting any other components, such as customer experiences.

“We replicated what five teams would have to do with a monumental effort to integrate vendors and services — and we did that as a single, cohesive unit. This technology accelerated our efforts beyond what we were able to achieve previously,” said Micihae Alderson, senior cloud architect, Ulta Beutyl, “With ephemeral container development environments on GKE, spun up on demand, we can deploy a new feature to a microservice in about 10 minutes — globally — a fraction of the time required in the past. And importantly, the risk factor in any update is drastically reduced with microservices.”

Over the next year, Ulta Beauty will leverage Google Cloud’s multi-region capabilities to improve application availability and disaster recovery in the event of a cluster failure. The retailer will leverage Anthos and GKE to seamlessly handle workload redistribution when infrastructure is unavailable.

As the company continues and deploying new e-commerce features, Google will continue to manage and administer its environment.

At the end of the fourth quarter fiscal 2022, Bolingbrook, Ill.-based Ulta Beauty operated 1,355 stores and 350 Target shop-in-shops.

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