Swedish fashion retailer leverages Citrix ADC to support its move to an agile, DevOps, development approach
Competition in fashion retail is fierce, with customers demanding a seamless experience across all channels, physical and digital. Lindex, one of Europe’s largest fashion retailers, is familiar with the challenges. It has nearly 500 stores in 18 countries, an award-winning website and distribution agreements with third-party sites like Asos.com.
The business had enjoyed considerable success with its previous website and omni-channel approach but was increasingly aware that its design architecture was constraining its ability to respond to the market.
“Success in online retail is all about speed,” says CTO Florian Westerdahl. “We need to deliver fast performance and service for customers, and we need to be fast to market with new features. That means testing hypotheses, keeping what works and quickly changing what doesn’t.”
“That’s quite different from the culture of a traditional business,” Westerdahl continues, “so we knew we faced a big challenge, trying to change everything.”
Working with Platinum Citrix Solution Advisor Xenit AB, Lindex designed its next-generation website to be built on an agile microservices architecture in a containerized environment using Kubernetes. Lindex leveraged its existing investment in Citrix ADC, using Pooled Capacity Licensing to share Citrix ADC bandwidth across hardware and virtual versions of ADC.
Westerdahl also introduced a DevOps methodology, placing his infrastructure technicians inside the development teams.
“We explored other cloud-native load balancing solutions, but they were very basic in comparison to Citrix ADC,” Westerdahl says. “We’ve spent years learning Citrix. We are very comfortable with the solution and very knowledgeable about the platform. So, it’s of huge value not needing to learn an inferior load-balancing technology. We could just immediately apply our investment in knowledge and hardware.”
Currently, Lindex operates a hybrid environment with much of its infrastructure (including Kubernetes) on-premises, but increasing amounts sitting in the cloud. With Pooled Capacity Licensing, Lindex can continue to use its Citrix ADC hardware while also deploying Citrix ADC CPX services within Kubernetes.
As Westerdahl explains, “With pooled capacity licenses, we’ve unlocked flexibility to the cloud. Where Kubernetes goes, the Citrix load balancers will follow.”
The combination of Lindex’s new DevOps culture and the ability to use Citrix directly within its containerized architecture improves the company’s agility and its speed of response.
With load-balancing and security services functioning closer to deployed microservices, response times are faster for customers. New services can be deployed easily and the system can be scaled automatically to meet demand fluctuating demand.
As Westerdahl notes, “Our containerized architecture stops us building monoliths and it secures our scaling. We’re building services, now, and those can be updated or changed without impacting the overall functionality of our platform. With Citrix and Kubernetes, we’re not just developing a website. We’re building a platform for digitalizing all channels.”
Lindex’s use of containers means it is easy to migrate containerized services from on-premises to cloud, between clouds or simply to scale them automatically. Citrix ADC provides the tools simplify migration, automate services and secure all apps and APIs.
Xenit’s Simon Gottschlag adds, “Citrix has enabled Lindex to create a DevOps culture because of the tools it provides. Deploying Citrix ADC within Kubernetes containers means that it integrates with developer workflows. They can work more freely, publishing directly from Kubernetes and being assured that security is taken care of by Citrix. Lindex has been able to move from physical hardware to containers while maintaining its investment in knowledge.”
Westerdahl says that one of the biggest benefits of the move to a DevOps and containerized approach is that it gives Lindex the ability to adapt to the future.
“We might be a fashion company first, but we’re also a fashion tech company,” he says. “We need to stay innovative and, in this case, the innovation is the platform itself. The Citrix / Kubernetes project has attracted a lot of attention and it feels like we’ve moved from being a legacy company to being at the bleeding edge.
”He continues, “We know the current business model won't remain as it is. And, we also know that one new model is not the answer; there will be many. So, everything comes back to how fast you can adapt. Containers will be a key enabler for the company. Introducing new features is one thing but having the ability to adapt to a changing world is the real killer feature.
”Citrix is central to Lindex’s evolving future.“
Although everything is changing here, Citrix ADC evolves to meet completely new needs,” Westerdahl says. “Citrix is our most trusted platform and it’s a great comfort for us to see it always follow us into new ground.”