Lafarge was ranked 6th in the Carbon Disclosure Project and entered the global Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 2010 in recognition of its sustainable development actions. With the world's leading building materials research facility, Lafarge places innovation at the heart of its priorities, working for sustainable construction and architectural creativity.
With a presence in over 70 countries, Lafarge had a need to manage a website for each one. With varying website loads, they wanted the ability to add or remove servers accordingly. High performance from their websites was also needed, as well as a robust environment in which to develop, test, pre-produce, and produce websites. They decided to move their websites to Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Why Amazon Web Services
Dominique Moulin, Corporate IT/IS/IT Manager for Lafarge Group, explains why Lafarge chose to work with AWS: "Elasticity was one of the key drivers. The ability to instantaneously add or remove instances in order to follow our website loads was critical to us." François Dufraisse, New Technologies Manager for Lafarge Group, adds: "Achieving good performance was also very important for managing our websites. Lafarge has presence in more than 70 countries. Across all those countries, public websites are managed with AWS. We are also using AWS for development, testing, pre-production, and production environments of those websites. So far we have been successful using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)."
Dominique Moulin and François Dufraisse are now evaluating Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) with potential further extensions to other applications and usage within the group. François Dufraisse says, "With Amazon VPC, we could extend usage of AWS to some of our internal applications or intranets."
To build their solution, the development team used Java/J2EE, WebSphere, Oracle, Linux, and Riverbed. During development, the team learned two important lessons. First, says, Dominique Moulin, "It is important to be well supported by a skilled company able to manage website operations on AWS. Our choice was EDIFIXIO." Second, due to software sensitivity to Intel's chipset, the team had to check the chipset for each created instance.
Currently, the group's corporate website and 22 country websites are online. François Dufraisse says, "Thanks to the flexibility of AWS, we are better prepared to cope with peak periods during special events like quarterly results of the group." Dominique Moulin and François Dufraisse plan to use AWS for other applications and business units (20 other country websites are in progress). Dominique Moulin notes, "Using AWS lead us to move from capex to opex with better scalability, improved responsiveness, and greater flexibility as a result."