Takeaway pizzas make up a large chunk of the restaurant industry and one of the big players is Dominos Pizzas. Dominos has been increasing at a remarkable rate in recent years with 60 or so shops opening every year. In addition, online orders have gone from 20% in 2008 to 50% in 2012. Dominos uses a managed hosting system to scale its operations.
Of the 50% of orders which are made online, 20% come from Android or Apple apps, according to Dominos CIO Colin Rees. Rees was speaking at a Cloud Expo and mentioned that whilst security and support had been the focus of scrutiny, the issue of capacity had been somewhat overlooked.
This issue of capacity is especially important when taking into account the nature of the takeaway industry: It is very ‘peaky’. The fact that Dominos has offers on certain days and that there are peak demand times (weekends) means that servers can become somewhat overloaded. Fortunately, these peak periods are fairly predictable, but even so, Rees explained that using the Cloud was crucial to the smooth-running of Dominos.
Adopting the cloud ensures that Dominos has the capacity for high demand when it is needed, but that it doesn’t have to pay for it during quieter periods of the day. Rees explained that “Before Christmas when the weather was bad we knew sales would increase and we would need more capacity,” but that by doubling the number of processors in the server, they were able to overcome a potential overload of the server. Dominos uses a consultancy firm in order to calculate when possible peak times will occur.
One of the problems is that where apps and software (to facilitate Pizza orders in this case) are redesigned and changed to keep up to date, they may also need more resources to run. As such, the demand may increase beyond a company’s server capacity causing downtime and thus a lot of money. Flexibility is therefore key, and something which makes this solution ideal.
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