Etsy goes cloud native to better scale to seasonal demands

Popular online marketplace Etsy recently completed a two-year migration from 2,000 on-premises servers to Google Cloud. The Etsy website and mobile app provide an online shop window to makers of hand-crafted and niche goods, but with more than two million sellers on the platform by 2018, the in-house bare metal infrastructure was starting to creak.

Etsy was founded in 2005, well into the internet era but long before the explosion of public cloud services. The firm went public in 2015 and soon afterward made cloud migration a priority, so that it could scale its services without having to make big expensive hardware purchases up front, and to better leverage machine learning techniques.

In 2016 the company started to explore the public cloud market. Google Cloud stood out during the selection process thanks to Google’s desire to be more hands-on than its rivals. “They came in and took the opportunity to understand our business and our challenges and paired us up with actual engineers, not just sales reps,” Etsy’s chief technology officer, Mike Fisher, told InfoWorld.

A two-year migration

The two companies signed a five year deal in December 2017 and started work on the migration strategy at the start of 2018, with the aim of moving everything in two years.

Google Cloud had engineers embedded at Etsy’s Brooklyn office and in its Slack channels. The first stage of the project was the marketplace website application itself, which consists of the website, mobile APIs, web servers, API servers, and hundreds of MySQL databases in a monolithic architecture built on a LAMP stack.

The broad principles for the migration were: no large architecture changes, migrate as few systems as possible, and stay compliant.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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