Hand & Stone Spas Breathe Deep on AWS

With close to 500 franchises throughout the USA and Canada, 17 year old spa company Hand & Stone has been on the leading edge of the growing wellness and self care category. Voted Forbes 2019 Franchise of the Year, technology has been a key component to their success. Hand & Stone franchisees have access to a robust toolkit to support their growth including ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), spa management software, and point of sale SaaS.

Hand & Stone Grows with Foghorn and AWS

Technical Knots to Massage

While Hand & Stone had been well served by their data center over the past two decades, the exciting growth of the business was resulting in growing  hardware constraints, especially for their physical equipment that ran their ERP solution. With a hardware refresh on the horizon and an eye towards the future, their IT team dreamed of an opex solution with scalability, elasticity  and agility that was closer to their end users. 

A digital transformation on such a scale would promise to be complex. Hand & Stone’s ERP system was integrated with hundreds of POS systems around the country. Each location would need API integration. As well, their business intelligence system was highly reliant on large amounts of RAM for performance and was running a single analytics flat file index. In order to optimize their BI systems, Hand & Stone wanted to re-architect the storage back end of the system.

With their business continuing to go skyward, a migration to the cloud would enable Hand & Stone to innovate at scale and rightsize their infrastructure. IT could be a profit center instead of a cost center. Their competition would continue to be kept at bay as they delight more customers and realize their ambitious expansion plans.

Planning, Testing, Implementing

Hand & Stone engaged Foghorn to guide their IT team towards the most elegant solution that maximizes performance and minimizes cost. Our FogOps Team, armed with deep AWS architecture and migration experience, designed a blueprint for a holistic AWS environment that could host their Accumatica ERP system, the Boomi API integration system, and BI reporting system.  

Due to heavy reliance on RAM for existing compute, Foghorn ran extensive testing on the new design to gauge performance, as well as costs. After extensive testing, it was determined that migrating to a multi-index Qlik back end decreased the size of indexes, and solved the cardinality issue that drove the requirement for such reliance on so much RAM. This design solved the scalability issue, as well as cost anxiety.

AWS Technology Provided the Backbone for Digital Transformation: 

  • VPC was used as the base networking foundation for the solution, as well as VPN connectivity. 
  • EC2 Windows servers were used to host the Accumatica application. IIS was configured as a prerequisite for Accumatica. 
  • ALB was used as a front door to Accumatica. ALB was also used as an HTTPS front door to Qlik servers. This simplified certificate management and session management.
  • Managed MS AD was integrated with Accumatica for directory services, authentication and authorization.  

Stress Free Cloud Experience

Hand & Stone’s AWS environment was designed using AWS Best Practice architectures, and implemented as IaC with Terraform. Applications were thoroughly tested for performance, and to make sure EC2 instances were right sized. With performance assurance, applications were effectively migrated and the system cutover to production. 

“We had a great experience with Foghorn’s AWS migration and implementation team. They were extremely professional and exceeded my expectations,” shares Brock Clayton, Hand & Stone’s Chief Information Officer.  “Once the solution was implemented, we had in depth training sessions. We were left with an implementation that was easy to manage and built with disaster recovery in mind. I will use Foghorn for my next AWS project.”

This successful migration allowed Hand & Stone to immediately retire their existing hardware. They would no longer need a hardware refresh, nor worry about outages associated with aging hardware. By transforming the data store behind Qlik and partitioning into multiple analytics indexes, Hand & Stone has a more scalable, resilient, and cost effective BI solution. Their business has the agility, elasticity, scalability and security to delight their franchisees and their customers to ultimately bring less stress and more tranquility to the world.

The Foghorn Difference

Foghorn Consulting is an AWS Premier Partner with DevOps, Security, and Solution Provider Competencies. We were founded in 2008 with a mission to ensure that cloud computing initiatives deliver maximum value for their customers. Based in Silicon Valley, we provide domain expertise in strategy, planning, execution and managed cloud services to high-growth and enterprise companies seeking to grow their business using the latest cloud technology. Our team of highly certified DevOps engineers, SRE’s and cloud architects bring over 150 years of collective domain expertise to ensure cloud initiatives are a success. 

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