When Trek was formed in 1976, its founders had an ambitious vision: to build the world’s best bicycles. Flash forward to today and that vision has become reality. Trek currently sits at the top of the bike industry, making and selling a huge range of race-proven road and mountain bikes, as well as urban and touring bikes.
Trek works with 5,000 worldwide independent retailers that sell Trek bikes. To help these shops manage inventory, place orders, and process customer purchases, Trek offers a retail management system called Ascend. Ascend was hosted through a data center provider, but this arrangement was becoming more expensive for Trek because big business growth was driving the need for more servers and IT staff. Another challenge: the company’s server hardware was showing its age, and installing new servers in the center took 2–6 weeks, not nearly fast enough to keep up with demand.
To address all of these issues, Trek decided to look at cloud-computing solutions. Although it considered a cloud offering from Amazon, Trek decided to go with the Windows Azure platform, which provides separate infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environments. The company engaged Microsoft partner Skyline Technologies to assist in migrating Ascend services to Azure. The plan was to move existing Ascend workloads to the IaaS environment as virtual machines, and then later move them to the PaaS environment.
Trek soon discovered that the Azure PaaS ramp-up time was short, and moving applications and workloads to Windows Azure was smooth and fast. It also saved money. “Let’s say there was no IaaS offering in Azure. Trek would have had to rewrite the services on PaaS. That would have been additional overhead that the company now doesn’t have to recoup,” says Kenny Young, Practice Director for Skyline Technologies.
Trek is also seeing healthy data center savings from going to the cloud. So far, the company has saved $5,000 monthly in data-center hosting costs. And once all Ascend workloads have been moved to IaaS, Trek will eliminate its data center operations altogether, saving an impressive $15,000 each month.
Windows Azure is also meeting the company’s need for scalability. In fact, because Azure easily scales to meet increased workloads and different deployment scenarios, Trek engineers can add new virtual machines in just two hours, instead of the 2–6 weeks it took before.
With Windows Azure, the Trek Ascend team can now focus on what matters: giving customers features that provide real value. “We are extremely pleased with our selection of the Windows Azure platform,” says Adam Salvo, DevOps Manager at Trek for Ascend. “The capabilities, performance, scale, and cost enable the Ascend team to do more with less.”
- Reduced development cost
- Reduced IT support cost
- Increased scalability