From Riding on Rails to Riding Camels
Christopher Hazlett, Head of Back Office Engineering and Sean Smith, Lead Engineer, Distribution, at Gilt Group
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Gilt Groupe, the US leader in flash sales, built our initial infrastructure like many fast growing start-ups – we used Ruby on Rails. Ruby on Rails did everything, from displaying products to managing the entire lifecycle of inventory, purchasing to fulfillment. This worked well when we had a single Distribution Center and a few orders. However, we grew quickly, adding Distribution Centers and a lot more code along the way…organically. Each DC not only had it’s own protocol for communication (FTP, SFTP, HTTPS) but they each also had distinct formats (CSV, Pipe Delimited, XML), and communications semantics. In this session, we will discuss how to move from a fragmented set of integration technologies built with Ruby on Rails to a simple, common approach to integration that can easily normalize many different types of incoming messages from partners and DCs into canonical data models, reformat and transmit them into any formats and protocols needed by any partner. It was built using Scala, Camel, MongoDB, and Apache Zookeeper. We will share lessons learned in the process of switching communications for a 24/7 international operation, and how Camel was used to eliminate technical debt that had grown over time.
Christopher Hazlett is in charge of all back office systems and teams at Gilt Groupe (including financial, inventory management and warehouse communication systems). With over 12 years of experience in the industry, he has made a career out of refactoring legacy systems. At Gilt, he is responsible for the complete re-architecting all of the back-office systems, setting the architectural direction and managing the teams doing the work.
Sean Smith is the Lead Engineer on the Distribution Engineering team at Gilt. He’s in charge of the first project at Gilt to implement Camel and the day-to-day management of the millions of messages to and from Gilt’s systems and our distribution centers