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The VW series that supports over 800 e-commerce websites cuts administrative personnel in half and improves customer satisfaction through flexible services
ECBEING has constructed over 800 e-commerce websites, making it a leader in the industry. To alleviate the growing administrative workload, they built around 300 servers in the cloud over the course of a year using the "IIJ GIO Component Service Virtual Platform VW Series". This enabled them to manage their infrastructure with half the number of staff that they had used previously. Another significant advantage was the ability to implement hybrid configurations combining on-premise equipment and existing assets. This also improved the flexibility of resources by making it possible to offer servers for shorter periods. Being able to provide infrastructure in quick response to e-commerce business growth has ultimately led to improved customer satisfaction.
ECBEING provides services for building and supporting the operation of e-commerce websites, focusing on the perspectives of customers and business operators. Their "ecbeing" e-commerce website construction software distills the marketing and business know-how they have cultivated through experience in running their own brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce websites. Since its release in 1999, it has evolved through the incorporation of feedback from a large number of users, and it has now been used in the deployment of over 800 websites, making it a leading industry solution.
Another major strength of ECBEING is the support they provide for e-commerce website operation. "Our expert support team assists with the creation of e-commerce websites that generate ongoing sales by attracting customers and utilizing design, analysis and operation in a PDCA cycle," says President Masaya Hayashi.
The stability of infrastructure supporting a system is another important requirement for e-commerce business. That is why ECBEING strives to provide stable server services featuring robust security and the ability to handle large volumes of traffic.
However, in the past infrastructure has involved on-premise solutions dominated by physical servers. There are now 600 servers in operation, and this is expected to continue climbing in the future as the number of users increase. As a result, administrative workload has grown enormously. "Preparing for the construction of server environments, adjusting resources according to seasonal fluctuations, and dealing with outages and other issues required a lot of time and effort, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to respond to the needs of our customers swiftly," says Server Service Division Manager Seiichiro Ikeda.
To handle expanding business, it is necessary to operate and manage infrastructure more efficiently. ECBEING chose the VW Series as their solution to this issue.
The VW Series involves building a dedicated VMware virtual environment on IIJ's "IIJ GIO"cloud ser vice. It enables asset-less private clouds to be constructed without requiring individual servers and storage to be purchased."This allows us to provide infrastructure tailored to the needs of customers without having assets on hand, while also outsourcing the management of equipment and leveraging the benefits of the cloud," says Mr. Ikeda, explaining why they opted for this solution. The high degree of flexibility was also a factor. The VW Series makes it easy to create hybrid configurations that combine the cloud with physical servers by integrating virtual platforms with on-premise equipment via local connection. "We maintain high reliability by continuing to use on-premise equipment for database servers that require high availability, such as those for major sites,"says Mr. Ikeda.
In addition to the integration of on-premise equipment, existing assets can also be utilized. ECBEING had been using appliance devices such as IPS before, but because individual devices could be installed in individual IIJ GIO racks, Mr. Ikeda explains, "We have been able to carry over our security policy by installing these as-is into the racks."
ECBEING began using the VW Series in January 2013. In a year they have already built around 300 VMware vSphere ESXi servers in the cloud. Their physical servers have been reduced to less than a quarter. They have implemented hybrid configurations that integrate on-premise equipment consisting mostly of database servers and brought-in devices such as IPS.
The ability to operate without assets has drastically reduced the administrative workload."The VW Series provides high performance that enables stable operation, and eliminates the need to transport and connect wiring to equipment. As a result, we can now operate and manage servers with about half the manpower," says Mr. Ikeda.
While reducing the administrative workload, it was also possible to cut the lead time for providing servers. In a physical environment this process starts with the procurement of servers, and requires a substantial amount of time for tasks such as configuring the environment and verification. "But now it takes about half the time to make servers available after receiving a request from a customer," says Mr. Ikeda.
The ability to offer a secure environment easily is another major benefit. The VW Series also makes it possible to use administrator privileges, as well as the VMware vCloud Director integrated management tool and the VMware vShield Edge security product. These enable multi-tenant environments that combine virtual platforms with on-premise physical environments. "Integrating e-commerce systems on a virtual server with databases on physical equipment allows us to build specific environments with resources allocated on a customer-by-customer basis. For e-commerce business that requires a high level of security, being able to build environments that combine virtual and physical resources is a significant advantage," emphasizes Mr. Ikeda.
The flexibility of their services has also improved. Previously services were based on physical servers, and it wasn't often possible to respond quickly when more resources were required. However, they can now take advantage of the flexibility of cloud solutions to procure the resources they need promptly when they are needed. "For example, when a major e-commerce website is running a campaign and higher access numbers are expected, it is possible to increase resources right away to handle this. This also prevents from losing business opportunities and enables infrastructure to be provided in step with business growth, so a wider range of options can be proposed to customers. We've already seen an improvement in customer satisfaction," says Mr. Hayashi, indicating how pleased he is with the result.
The infrastructure that supports systems is a crucial foundation for expanding e-commerce business. In this case, ECBEING dramatically improved the platform for providing services by migrating their major infrastructure to the VW Series. "We plan to take advantage of this to further polish our already strong package and marketing ability, and provide powerful support for e-commerce business to even more customers," states Mr. Hayashi emphatically regarding their future prospects.
Head Office: Shibuya Cross Tower Bldg., 2-15-1 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Capital: 200,000,000 yen
Employees: 200 (as of April 2014)
ECBEING provides e-commerce website construction services based on the widely-deployed "ecbeing" e-commerce package. They have earned a reputation for support that focuses on the perspectives of customers and business operators, and they support over 800 websites for mainly large and mid-sized enterprises.
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