Delivering Inspiring Retail Experiences with Rancher | SUSE Communities

Delivering Inspiring Retail Experiences with Rancher


“As our business grew, we knew there would be economies in working with an orchestration partner. Rancher and Kubernetes have become enablers for the growth of our business.” – Joost Hofman, Head of Site Reliability Engineering Digital Development, Albert Heijn

When it comes to deciding where and how to shop for food, consumers have a choice. And it may only take one negative experience with a retailer for a consumer to take their business elsewhere. For food retail leader Albert Heijn, customer satisfaction and innovation at its 950+ retail stores and e-commerce site are driving forces. As the top food retailer in the Netherlands (and with stores in Belgium), the company works to inspire, surprise and provide rewarding experiences to its customers – and has a mission to be the most loved and healthiest company in the Netherlands.

Adopting Containers for Innovation and Scalability

Not surprisingly, the fastest growing part of Albert Heijn’s business is its e-commerce site – with millions of visitors each year and expectations for those numbers to double in the coming years. With a focus on the future of grocery shopping and sustainability, Albert Heijn is at the forefront of container adoption in the retail space. Since first experimenting with containers in 2016, they are now the preferred way for the company’s 200 developers to manage the continuous development process and run many services on e-commerce site in production. By using containers, developers can push new features to the e-commerce site faster – improving customer experience and loyalty.

Before adopting containers, Hofman’s team ran a traditional, monolithic infrastructure that was costly and unwieldy. With a vision of unified microservices and an open API to support future growth, they started experimenting with containers in 2016. While they experienced uptime of 99.95 percent after just six months, they faced other challenges and realized they needed a container management solution.

In 2018, Hofman turned to Rancher as the platform to manage its containers more effectively as they migrated to an Azure cloud. Today, with Rancher, their infrastructure is set up to scale, as the user numbers are expected to grow dramatically. With Rancher automating a host of basic processes, developers are free to innovate.

High availability is also a critical need for the company – because online shopping never sleeps. With a microservices-based environment built on Kubernetes and Rancher, developers can develop, test and deploy services in isolation and ensure reliable, fast releases of new services.

Today, with a container-based infrastructure, the company has reduced management hours and testing time by 80 percent and achieved 99.95 percent uptime.

Read our case study to hear how, with Rancher, Hofman and the team have embraced containers as a way to focus on innovation and staying ahead of the competition.

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