Fastly > Case Studies > Blackpepper's Journey: Scaling E-commerce Services with Fastly

Blackpepper's Journey: Scaling E-commerce Services with Fastly

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Technology Category
  • Analytics & Modeling - Computer Vision Software
  • Sensors - Camera / Video Systems
Applicable Industries
  • E-Commerce
  • National Security & Defense
Applicable Functions
  • Logistics & Transportation
Use Cases
  • Traffic Monitoring
  • Transportation Simulation
The Challenge
Blackpepper, a leading e-commerce services provider based in Auckland, New Zealand, faced a significant challenge during the 2020 pandemic lockdown. The firm experienced an exponential increase in traffic, with volumes surging by up to 400 times from the previous year. This sudden surge posed a risk to their operational excellence, and the firm needed to find a way to handle the increased traffic sustainably. Additionally, Blackpepper was also grappling with a wave of denial of service (DDoS) attacks targeting Australia and New Zealand, necessitating a bolstered security posture. At the time, Blackpepper's operations relied on an on-premise data centre and a range of in-house developed applications and tools, including a bespoke Web Application Firewall (WAF). They were also using an external content delivery network (CDN) to serve videos and images to each website. However, their existing vendor was unable to meet the demand for a CDN that delivered everything for their customers' websites, not just visuals.
About The Customer
Blackpepper is a leading e-commerce services provider established in 2001 and based in Auckland, New Zealand. The firm helps a range of household brands reach millions of customers each month through its hosted ecommerce and digital platforms. The Blackpepper team works with well-known fashion brands, including Glassons, Hallenstein Brothers, North Beach, Hush Puppies, and Superette. During the 2020 pandemic lockdown, Blackpepper experienced a surge in traffic volumes, increasing by up to 400 times from the previous year. This posed a significant challenge to their operational excellence, and they needed to find a way to handle the increased traffic sustainably while also bolstering their security posture against a wave of DDoS attacks.
The Solution
Blackpepper needed a single provider that could handle everything from content delivery and image optimisation to security. After careful evaluations, they chose Fastly for its highly configurable approach and speed of deployment. Fastly was not a new name to Blackpepper as they had worked with Fastly solutions in the past and were aware of their capabilities. The additional capabilities of DDoS and bot protection offered by Fastly made it the best solution to meet Blackpepper's requirements for providing speed for their fast-paced customers and protection against attacks while stopping malicious traffic. Once Fastly was in place, Blackpepper immediately enjoyed significant technical and business benefits. Images could be processed and uploaded to customer websites much more quickly and with fewer manual steps required. Blackpepper could propagate changes to websites with new materials at much faster rates than previously possible. Fastly also simplified the way Blackpepper runs front end code, giving them greater visibility than before.
Operational Impact
  • The implementation of Fastly brought about significant operational improvements for Blackpepper. The firm was able to easily make changes to the underlying infrastructure, a task that was very difficult to achieve previously. This proved very useful during their migration to AWS. Despite having 80 sites in production, Blackpepper gained much better visibility into what was going on within the infrastructure at all times. The support received from Fastly, both during the deployment and since, has been second to none. The team successfully migrated the image and video traffic for all customer websites onto Fastly’s network over a smooth five-week period. Looking ahead, Blackpepper plans to focus on edge computing and how this developing area can be put to work to assist clients, with Fastly's continued support.
Quantitative Benefit
  • Fastly enabled Blackpepper to process and upload images to customer websites much more quickly, reducing manual steps.
  • Blackpepper could propagate changes to websites with new materials at much faster rates than previously possible.
  • Fastly's solution allowed Blackpepper to handle 2.5 billion requests for images and video every month, significantly improving website performance.

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