Specsavers is not just a big retail business — it’s the world’s fastest-growing optometry retailer.
Originating in the UK, they’ve grown to more than 26,000 employees worldwide, and operate more than 14,000 stores located across Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Spain.
Specsaver’s UK-based team chose Anchor to take over the hosting of their online retail business in Australia. Since this was an established venture, it was important that we could provide an innovative solution that was not only cost-effective, but also delivered a higher degree of uptime and performance than their previous provider.
With a track record of explosive growth internationally, it was vital to ensure the new infrastructure could scale up and support rapid growth, while providing a high degree of uptime and performance. The business sells its products to customers in Australia and New Zealand, so Anchor’s local support team presence was also a deciding factor.
The Anchor Solution
Whether it’s web infrastructure or bridges you’re building, if you’re seeking reliability, it’s important to keep things as simple as possible. With this in mind, our focus was on providing a solution that could deliver a relatively small configuration initially to address the immediate need, with the capacity to rapidly scale both horizontally and vertically, as required.
The Anchor team began by deploying a high-grade server chassis from Supermicro, featuring redundant power and networking. The initial configuration catered to immediate storage and RAM needs, with the ability to upgrade as traffic increased.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux was chosen as the operating system and a standard PHP+MySQL stack was used to serve the web content. In addition, Anchor setup MySQL replication to allow the content to be pushed back to a development environment.
Another important requirement from Specsavers was to provide a private channel for data to be transferred between the UK headquarters and the Australian server. This was achieved through the use of a VPN (virtual private network) between the sites, backed by our standard 24×7 monitoring to ensure that everything remained available and running as intended.