FinOps optimisation reduces Lush cloud consumption by $180,000 per annum

When you’re working with a trusted partner to manage your IT infrastructure in the cloud, no news is often good news.

But if you never hear from your partner, how can you be sure that they’re working as hard for you as they possibly can?

The challenge

Lush is one of the boldest and most innovative cosmetics companies in the UK, with a heavy focus on ethics and environmentally conscious beauty products. Its online store, uk.lush.com, is a vital part of the business, generating £977m in revenues in 2019.

“The eCommerce store has been absolutely essential to Lush’s success, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Rob Reid, Principal Engineer for Lush. “In hindsight, that’s why we partnered with Claranet in 2017 when we migrated from our previous cloud provider to Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

“They handled our migration in just 22 days, and the level of their expertise meant we knew from the start that they would be a long-term partner for us.”

The more sophisticated you are with the cloud, the less you pay for it.”

Prabhat Handoo
Senior Cloud Specialist at Claranet

Since the migration in 2017, Lush has been very happy with the performance of its store. But the team at Claranet have still proactively looked for opportunities for continuous improvement. Updates to apps and services – as well as new apps and services – are released frequently, offering improved security, performance, scalability, and cost savings.

“Generally speaking, the more sophisticated you are with the cloud, the less you pay for it,” says Prabhat Handoo, Senior Cloud Specialist at Claranet. “That means always looking to rationalise your environment as much as possible, and embrace cloud-native apps and services.”

“I’ve been so impressed with Claranet’s focus on continuously improving our cloud environment.”

Rob Reid
Principal Engineer at Lush

The solution

The team at Claranet reviewed Lush’s cloud infrastructure and identified several areas where upgrades and updates could be made to optimise costs.

“We call this FinOps – financial optimisation,” comments Prabhat.

The work that was identified as part of Claranet’s FinOps assessment included:

  • Upgrading Lush’s Terraform version from v0.8.8 to v0.12.9, providing significantly improved resources and features
  • Rationalising Lush’s managed instance groups, reducing the number of instances by 33%.
  • Implementing preemptible instances in Lush’s production environment for further cost savings and improved reliability.
  • Implementing CloudSQL to automate failover instances, improving reliability and uptime.
  • Replacing Gluster nodes to streamline shared storage with minimal risk of outage.
  • Upgrading Lush’s Debian OS from v8 – for which support was shortly due to terminate – to Debian 10, improving security and performance.
  • Implementing component-specific images to improve boot times for new instances, enabling Lush to react faster to high loads.
  • Decommissioning unused resources and removing external IPs for an additional cost-saving opportunity each month.

As the optimisations highlighted by the FinOps assessment was extensive, the Claranet team was careful to avoid working at peak times to minimise the impact of any outages that might occur.

“I’ve been so impressed with Claranet’s focus on continuously improving our cloud environment,” Rob comments.

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“We migrated to GCP with them several years ago, but that was just the start. That’s because they are proactive in looking for opportunities for us to improve our cost base and leverage the benefits of a cloud-native environment.”

“With Lush and Claranet there is strong collaboration – and that delivers the best results.”

Rob Reid
Principal Engineer at Lush

The result

It’s early days, but Lush is already starting to see $12,000 - $15,000 per month in savings.

“It was really reassuring to have this proposal put to us by Claranet,” Rob recalls. “It showed me just how proactive they are in looking after us and making sure our IT infrastructure is futureproof.”

The project has also underlined the value and the benefits of customers and providers working in partnership. “At Claranet our engagement approach means we are closely aligned with our customers and are often regarded as an extension of their team,” says Prabhat.

Rob adds: “I’ve been in the industry for 14 years now, and in that time I’ve seen so many infrastructure projects fail because customers simply hand things over to their service provider and walk away. But with Lush and Claranet there is very strong collaboration – and that delivers the best results.”

Of course, the real proof is that Lush’s eCommerce site continues to be live, stable, and ready for its customers.

And Lush knows that Claranet is ready to work hand-in-hand with them to keep things that way, long into the future.

BLog | Cloud Economics