Flowers and gifts rain from the cloud
UK flower and gift specialist makes full use of Rackspace cloud hosting to ensure maximum web performance even during the busy times
Prestige Flowers™ was founded in 2010 and has rapidly grown to become the UK’s number one online florist. The company specialises in providing exceptional quality flowers and plants as well as exciting gifts. It has an enviable reputation in the industry for high quality and excellent customer service, all of which is backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee policy.
Forced to rethink hosting strategy
David Thompson is Web Development Manager at Prestige Gifting, “When we started the business it was based on a Virtual Private Server (VPS). This proved to be a good solid starting point but very quickly became totally inadequate for our needs. The service and response proved difficult and our database requirements alone proved to be too much for the server to handle, so we had to completely rethink our server solution."
One provider stood out in the cloud
David revealed, “This is when we moved to Rackspace® Hosting. Rackspace is one of the companies that everyone in our web development team had been aware of for many years. When we sat down to plan out our new server architecture, the company that first came to mind for all of us was Rackspace. Some of us had had experience with Rackspace previously and as such knew the strength of the company. We had read excellent reports on their reputation, and the combination of managed cloud and 24-hour fanatical support underscored the decision. We started out with a single dedicated cloud server and we immediately noticed a marked improvement in website response times as well as overall site uptime.”
However success breeds success and the company soon outgrew this setup. With help from the Rackspace team Prestige has migrated the database and other company brands to separate servers, which has helped increase availability. This has also enabled the strategically separate intensive applications to be moved away from the core front-facing sites reducing any potential performance impact.
David was keen to point out, “Today all of our development takes place in the cloud. This has made it easier for our developers to access their code no matter where they are, and to expedite the process of going from development to live.”
Zeit und Geld sparen
David added, “The benefits to our company in both time saved and therefore money saved offsets any potential costs experienced developing in an online environment. Another add-on benefit we have experienced has been the superb resilience in our hosting solution. By having a cloud based platform we no longer have to worry when we see our server usage reaching the pre-defined safe upper limits. Previously it was an arduous task for us to scale our servers and involved a very lengthy process that could take days if not weeks to implement, probably meaning that the crisis had passed before anything could be introduced.”
Reaping the benefits
David went on to say, “Now we find that we can start the scaling process in less than five minutes and leave the hypervisor to do its job and complete the process extremely quickly. Then all we do is add the new server to our load balancer and start reaping the benefits straight away. So peak periods like Valentine’s Day, Mothering Sunday, Easter and Christmas can actually be pre-planned and new cloud servers spooled up to instantly deal with the increased online demand. This makes us look good, as response is always excellent and orders are taken and confirmed very quickly – no tedious
waiting for screens to refresh or queues to pay. The real benefit is we can switch off any extra servers when the demand is less, saving us money – impossible to achieve with conventional enterprise level hosting. And, of course, you only pay for what you use – no additional long-term contracts”
Reliability and Speed
David reported “The main impact has been the 100% network reliability and speed offered by Rackspace. This has had more influence on our business than we could have imagined. Not only have we noticed a marked increase in orders but we find customers are calling our customer services team less
frequently because the site is responding in a timely fashion and pages are not timing out, confusing customers as to whether or not their orders were placed correctly. A further benefit is the fact that Prestige’s SEO rankings have improved since moving to Rackspace, which we put down to an
improved page rank, in part, caused by the massively improved time to first byte and page load speed.”
David continued, "We are not sitting on our laurels. After Christmas 2013 we began the migration of all our sites to performance servers and have currently moved our main brand, Prestige Flowers, to a performance based server and will be repeating the process for our remaining sites. Performance servers are working out to be far cheaper than our old solution, while offering much more power, enabling us to future proof our scalability solutions while also saving money. It's a win-win solution as far as we are concerned.
Fanatical Support at all times
Since moving to Rackspace our IT staff can concentrate on other important tasks, safe in the knowledge that we can simply submit a ticket or pop on to Rackspace’s live chat, confident that our issue will be resolved in a timely manner. We can also employ people who are more specialised in a specific
area of IT; previously we would have had to employ staff who understood the entire server architecture and the way everything worked – hard to find and potentially expensive.”
24-hour support helps us sleep soundly
David observed, “To maintain efficiency we need maintenance tasks to be performed at very specific hours of the day thus reducing any website downtime and potential lost order volume. To achieve this we make full use of Rackspace’s around the clock support teams to schedule essential maintenance and ensure it is carried out when we need it. This has saved us having to ask our own IT staff to work at very unsocial hours in the middle of the night, keeping everyone fresh for work the next day.”
David summarised, “Rackspace has provided us with an unparalleled level of customer service and support and offers extremely good value for money. The name Rackspace rings at the forefront of hosting companies and having Rackspace power our web hosting needs has helped us to build
our reputation and guarantee that we truly offer the best online shopping experience to every one of our customers.”
If you are looking for Flowers or Gifts for any occasion take a look at the superb offers from Prestige: www.prestigeflowers.co.uk and www.prestigehampers.co.uk
For an online delivery of the latest hybrid cloud and managed hosting options take a look at www.rackspace.co.uk or call the team on 0800 988 0100 for a FREE chat about the infinite hosting possibilities that are now available.