Kogan sold on OpenStack cloud

The retailer is using Rackspace's OpenStack-based Hybrid Cloud offering to drive its online operations

"If our office burnt down today," says Goran Stefkovski, "we would be running the business from the cafe next door tomorrow."

It seems an appropriate sentiment from Stefkovski, given that he is the director of technology at Kogan, the online electronics retailer whose founder, Ruslan Kogan, has waged a very public war of words with bricks-and-mortar retailers (most notably Harvey Norman's chairman, Gerry Harvey).

Behind the scenes, the infrastructure running Kogan's online presence is powered by Rackspace's cloud, based on OpenStack.

Rackspace and NASA started the OpenStack project, a collection of open source software that can be used to build private and public clouds, in mid-2010.

Since then the project has picked up steam, with major vendors, including HP, Dell and IBM coming on board. The project now encompasses in excess of half a million lines of code, according to the OpenStack foundation.

Kogan's customer-facing website is built on Rackspace's Hybrid Cloud offering, which launched in Australia in June.

"The public cloud component hosts our application services and allows us to automatically scale our website infrastructure to accommodate our rapidly growing customer base and spikes in traffic," Stefkovski says.

"We also use the cloud servers for prototype projects."

Kogan's infrastructure is entirely cloud-based, Stefkovski says.

"Even our individual development environments are moving into Rackspace’s Sydney cloud," he says.

Open Source Spotlight - OpenStack: Building a more open Cloud

"This allows our engineers work on our software from anywhere in the world within the same environment as the live site and means they don’t have to set up individual environments on their local machines."

Like a lot of relatively young, online-focussed companies (Kogan was founded in 2006), Kogan Technology has always used cloud hosting; however, switching to Rackspace has delivered more "programmatic flexibility".

"One of the key motivations was the ability to combine enterprise-dedicated hardware with programmatic interfaced cloud servers – enabling us to maintain high availability and instant scalability at a low cost," Stefkovski says.

Prior to a wholesale transition to Rackspace Hybrid Cloud, Stefkovski's team successfully deployed a few smaller projects to the provider's services.

Stefkovski said that the cloud provider's reputation for customer support played a big role in Kogan going with Rackspace.

OpenStack itself also holds some appeal for Stefkovski. "OpenStack is an open source project, meaning it gets the scrutiny of thousands of developers and security experts who are constantly improving the project," he says

In addition, both Kogan's e-commerce platform and OpenStack make heavy use of Python.

"This alignment makes it easier for our software engineers to interface with the provisioning and management of cloud servers," Stefkovski says.

Tags open sourcekoganKogan Technologiescloud computingrackspaceOpenStack

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1 Comment

Daryl Antony (Common Code)

1

There were great discussions about this at #pyconau http://2013.pycon-au.org/programme/miniconfs/openstack

We'll be interested to develop the capabilities for local development (machines) here at commoncode.com.au

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