About the Company
As the world’s largest beverage company, Coca-Cola is a global leader in the beverage industry, offering over 500 brands in 207 countries, 1.9 billion servings per day, 750 products in North America alone, and running over 100 promotions every year.
The Business Challenges
During Super Bowl 47, Coca-Cola ran one of its largest digital marketing campaigns, hosted on CenturyLink. The Super Bowl commercial presented a “you call the ending” feature based on online user votes. The company felt confident about its preparations for the campaign, securing extra hardware and testing for ten times the expected traffic.
However, in the middle of the second quarter, web page times slowed and traffic was much higher than anticipated. All of the company’s servers were saturated, and they were spinning up new servers in real time, but nothing helped them catch up with the amount of traffic participating in the campaign, resulting in a poor user experience. This forced the company to examine the way they were operating and look towards the public cloud.
Making the Case for the Cloud
To make the business case for the cloud, Coca-Cola’s IT had to focus on price, reliability and time to market. Their initial estimates showed cloud as 10% more expensive than current costs, but when the team brought in 2nd Watch to help with operations, the final cost estimate showed savings that were very significant for like systems. 2nd watch collaborated with the company’s IT team on how to rethink how it operated to achieve cost savings, including things like turning off test, staging and QA environments when not in use, leveraging automation, running elastic environments and rethinking architectures. This cost savings estimate proved out the business case and accelerated the cloud migration of their other workloads.
The company went through a vendor selection process, evaluating vendors based on its needs of managed capabilities, automation, auto-scaling, price, support for workloads, technical support, metered billing, security and technical excellence. After completing a vendor analysis and confirming its selection with the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, its IT team and executive team chose 2nd Watch and Amazon Web Services to help with its migration and AWS managed services.
Challenges & Solutions
The company had several goals in mind for moving to AWS, including auto-scaling to handle unpredictable traffic spikes – as with its need to migrate its gaming application, which experienced millions of requests per day and hundreds of requests per second at its peak, – access to new platforms like Chef and Puppet, full visibility into environments without manual setup, metered billing and reconciliation, secure and isolated environments, zero-downtime deployments and a self-serve DevOps model for its agencies. It also needed a way to control access to AWS among its numerous agencies.
2nd Watch had solutions for each of those goals that were scalable for the business and operating model. Now Coca-Cola has migrated its North American sites to AWS with the help of 2nd Watch. The company started its migrations with simpler, static sites in order to learn from those before moving flagship programs using an agile approach. The company was able to migrate the workloads to AWS in only 2 months with little refactoring with the help of 2nd Watch. Now all of the company’s North American consumer facing websites are hosted and managed by 2nd Watch and powered by AWS, additionally resulting in successful Super Bowl 2014 and 2015 digital marketing campaigns.
Coca-Cola realized 40% operational savings and 80% reduction in help-desk tickets thanks to the AWS migrations and its new DevOps model with full agency accountability. The company now has simple auto-scaling on all environments and full isolation for each site.
To learn more, watch Digital Marketing Platform Architect, Michael Conner’s AWS re:Invent 2014 presentation on Coca-Cola’s migration to AWS.