About Australian Pharmaceutical Industries

Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API) is the parent company of Priceline Pharmacy, Soul Pattinson Chemist and Pharmacist Advice. API’s services include wholesale product delivery, retail services, marketing programs and business advisory services.

The Challenge

The MyAPI portal carries 30,000 products and supplies thousands of pharmacies across the Australian market in conjunction with their retail stores. The MyAPI portal represents 50 percent of the company's wholesale orders, worth more than $1.25 billion per year, making it the world's largest Magento instance by revenue.

MyAPI has become increasingly important as the company has nudged customers towards self-service rather than calling or faxing in their orders, however the scale and resilience of their legacy systems were limited. The MyAPI portal started to experience outages of up to 24 hours due to the limits of their on-premises environment resulting in significant customer service issues.

The Solution

Contino’s worked with API to create a solution that concentrated on three key value streams:

  • Complexity: reduce complexity and reduce infrastructure issues
  • Agility: reduce time to market for enhancements/changes to the MyAPI platform
  • Operational Excellence: moving to a more automated, scalable management model for the MyAPI platform

Contino designed and built a fully-hosted platform in AWS including CloudFront, S3, EFS, ElasticSearch ELB and using Direct Connect for AWS-to-on-premise data centre network peering.

The Business Outcome

The migration of MyAPI to the Amazon Web Services cloud marks the completion of a company-wide shift of API's websites away from multiple hosting providers and onto AWS. The company is now boasting cost savings of more than 20 percent, as well as stability and autoscaling benefits—a big change from a few years ago when it experienced 24-hour outages.

Dirk Bellmann, Applications Manager at API, commented: "[t]he only reason this did not move [earlier] was contractual. One of the benefits of AWS is you pay as you go - we used to be on a four-year contract". Bellmann said the company's previous hosting environment did not allow for self-service infrastructure changes, such as to deploy load balancers, spin up additional servers, or scale VM specs up and down.

Their site can now scale from its typical footprint of six servers across the three AWS locations in Australia to 40 or more instances during its biggest promotions.

Reference materials

https://www.itnews.com.au/news/hosting-outages-push-pharmacy-giant-to-aws-469310

http://www.api.net.au/about-us/