has scooped a gong for retail project of the year at the Techworld Awards with its e-commerce experience project carried out with IT services provider Adapt.

Adapt worked with, which connects customers directly with suppliers so that they can buy designer furniture at a significant discount, to design a dedicated, scalable, private cloud infrastructure that has enabled the online retailer to achieve a 40 percent improvement in performance compared to its previous solution.

Woman looking at website. Image credit:
Woman looking at website. Image credit:

It also allows the retailer to focus on its business. Jonathan Howell, CTO at, said in his testimonial for the Techworld Awards entry: “It’s good to know, as we focus our efforts on innovation and doing new things, that Adapt is looking after the infrastructure and it’s one thing I don’t have to worry about.

“We want to be able to deliver consistency, whilst still being innovative and unique to our online audience. Scalability that can sustain business growth is central to our evolution both now and in the future.”, which was launched in 2010 by entrepreneur Ning Li, is now 100 percent virtualised and using a managed service provider like Adapt has allowed the firm to stay ahead with the latest technologies. The retailer’s in-house IT team is supported by Adapt’s UK-based engineers 24 hours a day.

According to Adapt, the cloud infrastructure provides with the agility to meet planned and unplanned peaks in website demand, with the retailer now only paying for the software and network capacity it uses. Its bandwidth usage ranges from 1Mbps capacity to 10Gbps depending on factors such as a television advertising campaign.

The technology the infrastructure uses includes VMware’s hypervisor technology to handle the virtualisation, and storage comprises NetApp’s SAS with SnapMirror technology providing backup of data and configurations. It also uses pairs of Brocade switches and Cisco firewalls to control traffic and protect the platform. The cloud services are provided from two data centres for disaster recovery purposes. beat off competition from retail project finalists Business Magnit, Kempinski Hotels and Hillary’s to win the Techworld Award, which was presented to them by editor Mike Simons at the ME Hotel in central London last Thursday.