Month: July 2019

Retailers need to start infrastructure preparations now to strike gold this Golden Quarter, says Claranet

Claranet issues warning to retailers to start making preparations now or risk losing customers.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become a fixture in the British retail calendar, and a much-needed boost to sales. As we reach the halfway point of 2019, Claranet has urged retailers to start preparing, stress-testing, and optimising their infrastructure now to ensure that they can withstand sudden surges in traffic in this year’s Golden Quarter.

Consumer spending on Black Friday and Cyber Monday continues to grow year on year; growth that is driven in large part by online spending, with many consumers opting to grab their bargains from the comfort of their own homes. Last year, UK consumers spent £1.49bn on online retail sites during Black Friday, a 7.3 percent increase from the previous year.

However, despite numerous high profile examples of Black Friday-related website outages in recent years, last year a number of retailers found that ecommerce platforms were straining under the pressure even before the main shopping event had begun. For some, this meant employing queuing technologies to cope with demand, which restricted access, hit sales and had a negative impact on customer satisfaction.

John Hayes-Warren, Head of Retail at Claranet, said:

Events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday play a huge role in increasing sales for retailers. They give an opportunity for smaller retailers to attract new customers, while allowing larger retailers to shift stock they have been sitting on. However, this rise in sales activity requires businesses to have the right back end systems to cope with large amounts of consumers accessing their eCommerce platforms. Despite this, we’re still seeing a number of problems being experienced by retailers.”

These are the sorts of issues retailers can ill afford, so now is the time for businesses to start capacity planning to gauge if their channels will cope with rapid surges in traffic, maintain page load times, and avoid web crashes. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are firm dates in the calendar, but flash sales on the back of social media influencer marketing are also a potential stress-point for retail websites.”

For Hayes-Warren, hybrid cloud is a natural solution to these challenges. However, cloud migration can be a complex process and not simply a case of lifting and shifting existing IT infrastructure. With this in mind, he suggests retailers need to move now if they are to make it in time for the 2019 Golden Quarter:

Cloud enables retailers to rapidly add more capacity and scale up as the amount of web traffic increases, which strengthens overall IT resilience and means businesses are adequately prepared for sudden bursts in activity. If this is coupled with a flat pricing structure that stays the same even in periods of peak demand, retailers have a predictable and cost-effective way to guarantee zero downtime.”

The most forward-thinking retailers are those who understand the need to reengineer their digital estates so that they can take advantage of these scalable technologies.”

Hayes-Warren concluded:

We now live in an age where customers expect a faultless online experience. When many wake up in the early hours of the morning on Black Friday, the last thing they want to experience is an error message pop up on their screen or the frustration of a painfully slow website. Preparation is key to getting the best out of the Golden Quarter: retailers who take the time to enhance their infrastructure and carry out all the necessary testing well before this period will be the ones that emerge as the big winners.”

Claranet achieves AWS Digital Customer Experience Competency status

Global technology services provider Claranet has announced that it has achieved Amazon Web Services (AWS) Digital Customer Experience Competency status.

This designation recognises that Claranet provides proven technology and expertise to help Digital Customer Experience customers by providing end-to-end solutions for all phases of the digital customer acquisition and retention lifecycle. These include content management and marketing automation to engage prospects and customers with the right experience, effective and secure commerce solutions to create a seamless buying experience, and data analytics solutions to support decisions and retain customers.

Achieving the AWS Digital Customer Experience Competency confirms Claranet’s position as an AWS Partner Network (APN) member, providing specialised technical proficiency and proven customer success with a specific focus on workloads based on content management, marketing automation, digital commerce and/or consulting practice. To receive the designation, APN Partners must possess deep AWS expertise and be able to deliver solutions seamlessly on AWS.

Charles Nasser, founder and CEO of Claranet, said:

We’re proud to have achieved AWS Digital Customer Experience Competency status. We’re committed to helping our customers achieve their technology goals by making the most of the agility, breadth of services and pace of innovation that AWS provides, and this recognition is indicative of our dedication in this respect.”

AWS enables scalable, flexible and cost-effective IT solutions for companies of all sizes, ranging from startups to global enterprises. To support the seamless integration and deployment of these solutions, AWS established the AWS Competency Program to help customers identify Consulting and Technology APN Partners with deep industry experience and expertise.

In recent months, Claranet worked with fast-fashion brand Oh Polly to assist its migration to AWS, as part of the company’s bid to overhaul its IT estate and address the issues it was encountering with its previous hosting solution.

Commenting on the project, Mike Branney, Managing Director at Oh Polly, said:

After some deliberation, we recognised that a cloud solution hosted in AWS would help address the load, flexibility and adaptability issues we were experiencing. We knew that Claranet has a positive track record with similar fast-fashion brands, making them a clear choice in helping us migrate to AWS. We were immediately impressed with Claranet’s understanding of the platform, as well as the wide range of expertise and skills they were able to show from day one.”

Raspberry Pi 4

I am now the proud owner of a single Raspberry Pi 4, with another 3 on the way. Obtained from ThePiHut. From initial viewing it is a fabtastic piece of kit, sporting the following specifications:

Key features include:

  • Quad core CPU @ 1.5GHz
  • Dual display supporting up to 4K resolution
  • WiFi
  • USB 3.0
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Available in three RAM sizes; 1GB, 2GB or 4GB!


  • Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 64-bit SoC @ 1.5GHz
  • 1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4-2400 SDRAM (depending on model)
  • 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz IEEE 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 5.0, BLE
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports; 2 USB 2.0 ports.
  • Raspberry Pi standard 40 pin GPIO header (fully backwards compatible with previous boards)
  • 2 × micro-HDMI ports (up to 4kp60 supported)
  • 2-lane MIPI DSI display port
  • 2-lane MIPI CSI camera port
  • 4-pole stereo audio and composite video port
  • H.265 (4kp60 decode), H264 (1080p60 decode, 1080p30 encode)
  • OpenGL ES 3.0 graphics
  • Micro-SD card slot for loading operating system and data storage
  • 5V DC via USB-C connector (minimum 3A*)
  • 5V DC via GPIO header (minimum 3A*)
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE) enabled (requires separate PoE HAT)
  • Operating temperature: 0 – 50 degrees C ambient

* A good quality 2.5A power supply can be used if downstream USB peripherals consume less than 500mA in total.

My plan is to build a 4 Node Docker Cluster.