Minimal time spent maintaining a global digital infrastructure

Minimal time spent maintaining
a global digital
infrastructure

Thousands of online orders managed each week, from all over the world

Thousands of
online orders
managed each
week, from all
over the world

Successful expansion into new international markets and sectors

Successful
expansion into
new international
markets and
sectors

The background

As a fast-growing online retail brand, offering a wide range of stylish clothing for men and (more recently) women, Frank & Oak required an infrastructure that would allow them to adapt quickly to a fast-paced seasonal market, and allow the company to expand in a controlled, efficient and cost-effective manner.

OVH Private Cloud has played a key part in this growth, providing the required power, flexibility and scalability across all existing and new locations in which Frank & Oak operate. Company co-founders Ethan Song and Hicham Ratnani, and VP of Technology Martin Helie, sat down with us to discuss the unique challenges facing the e-commerce sector and why they believe virtualisation is the key to meeting them.

The challenge

Since launching in 2012, Frank & Oak’s main challenge has always been scalability. There are two aspects to this. Firstly, upscaling the company’s infrastructure, as it continues to expand its customer base and enter new international markets. Secondly, rapid up- and downscaling to meet the natural seasonal fluctuations of the online retail market. This means flexibility, and the ability to deploy new resources whenever and wherever they are needed, is vital to their long-term plans.

From the beginning, Frank & Oak depended on a fleet of physical servers, which provided the required power, but eventually proved unable to keep up with the company’s rapid growth. In fact, managing the servers required a considerable amount of time which could have been devoted to business growth activities.

Complicating things further, as a first-class, omni-channel experience for all customers is a key part of Frank & Oak’s company vision, any infrastructure solutions would need to be implemented without any service disruption. High availability was crucial.

The solution

Frank & Oak opted to move their whole infrastructure to the OVH Private Cloud, fully embracing the possibilities offered by virtualisation. To further enhance their geographical reach, the vRack was used to connect solutions hosted across OVH’s entire global network of 28 datacentres and 33 points of presence. This would not only allow resources to be effortlessly deployed and redeployed to suit evolving customer requirements across all regions in which Frank & Oak operated at the time, but would also provide a solid foundation for future expansion into new markets.

To provide even more scope for future growth, VMware vSphere was implemented, so Frank & Oak could manage their new infrastructure with complete autonomy, while still ensuring their primary focus could remain on the customer experience. With vSphere, new virtual machines can be mobilised with just a single click and up-and-running in just five minutes, through the OVH Control Panel – an ideal solution for managing the e-commerce sector’s seasonal fluctuations.

The result

This new level of control and efficiency has helped Frank & Oak successfully enter new markets in Asia and Europe, supported the roll-out of their womenswear range, and allowed them to expand their brand into the retail sector. Based on these early successes, the partnership between Frank & Oak and OVH looks set to continue reinventing the e-commerce sector, helping set a new standard for the online customer experience.

“As an e-commerce business, it was important for us to be able to scale according to demand, and our increasing need for performance. OVH Private Cloud allows us to do this very, very easily... We spend much less time managing our infrastructure than we used to.”

Martin Helie, VP, Technology, Frank & Oak