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Customer Story

Digital Print Leader Transforms Hosting to Enhance Growth

Switching to Google Cloud Platform allows smartphoto room to grow while remaining cost-effective and secure

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The smartphoto group is one of the most important European players in the digital photo processing sector. From its production department in Wetteren in Belgium, it serves more than four million customers throughout Europe every year.

Under the name smartphoto it operates as a B2C e-commerce company and is the European market leader with hundreds of different photo products, and has more than 25 years of experience delivering photo products by post. Its B2B division Nayan is one of the market leaders in e-commerce distribution in Europe, offering 'e-commerce as a service' (EAAS) for international brands looking for growth.

Company growth constrained by traditional platform
Transfer software to cloud computing platform
Utilize Lift and Shift methodology to conduct migration

Under-Utilized Infrastructure

To enable the growth both economically and geographically, smartphoto needed to bring its existing IT infrastructure and Microsoft-based applications to a secure, high-performance cloud while remaining cost-effective.

The company’s fast-growing user base across Europe had been served by a traditional co-located hosting platform based on Windows, MS SQL, and .net. This infrastructure was sized for peak loads during certain periods of the year, such as the holiday season, leading to severe under-utilization during the rest of the year.

This way of working was likely to cause further technical issues and constraints in the near future. With significant investments required, the company knew it needed a more solid technical grounding.

Google Cloud Platform Came Out on Top

“Cloud computing was the obvious solution for the vast majority of our business and technical challenges” noted Stef De Corte, smartphoto CEO. After evaluating several options, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) was chosen for its technical performance, pricing structure, and technological foresight. Based on its expertise and experience, Xebia was selected as the partner to support this transition.

GCP provides the technical infrastructure smartphoto needs to run its Microsoft and .net cloud software reliably, fast, and at scale. Google’s flexible and innovative pricing with sustained and committed use discounts allows smartphoto to optimize cost in a variety of ways.

“With their market leadership in big data analytics as well as in machine learning GCP had the edge for us over other cloud providers. Xebia were the perfect partners to help us make the most of it.
Stef De Corte CEO at Smartphoto

Guided and Informed Transformation

A series of intensive hands-on workshops were held by Xebia straight away, consisting of planning sessions, architectural design, technical training, and solution validation. This allowed the smartphoto team to quickly become proficient in Google Cloud Platform.

To reduce risk, a progressive country-by-country roll-out strategy was determined, conducting a “lift & shift” of the current infrastructure in the first phase. The second stage included autoscaling, more fundamental improvements in the architecture alongside making smartphoto more cloud-savvy.

The majority of the migration was conducted independently by smartphoto’s team, with regular and flexible input from Xebia. This advice and architectural guidance included hands-on help and support with technical issues when required.

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