London,UK - 17 January, 2013 – Rackspace® Hosting (NYSE: RAX), the open cloud company, today announced that it has been selected by Action for Children to help the organisation tackle big data challenges and scale up its IT infrastructure on demand.
Action for Children is one of the UK's largest and most prominent charities. It has been looking to re-engineer its data operation and position itself for the future. Key objectives included cost effective management of web traffic spikes and better data analysis to provide deeper insights into customers and fundraising activities.
The organisation needed to retain a portion of dedicated hardware on site to host sensitive data. However, it decided to create a hybrid solution incorporating open cloud hosting to provide the agility to accommodate data spikes.
"With Rackspace we knew that we could achieve true public, private and hybrid portability. Additionally, by using an open platform such as Rackspace Open Cloud, we could take a long term approach, ensuring that we avoided vendor lock-in around pricing or technology roadmap restrictions. This gives us the freedom to keep innovating, moving to new technology solutions and models as they are developed," said Darren Robertson, Digital Communications - Data Scientist for Action for Children.
Economies of Scale
Action for Children also needed to ensure that its website could cope with major spikes in traffic. For example, when Stephen Fry tweeted about the charity, five million followers were encouraged to visit the website. This type of activity can crash a website if the right kind of backbone is not in place.
"Moving to the cloud completely eliminates the expensive processes required to support these spikes in the past. Rackspace provide us with the ability to scale up and down according to demand while managing costs," said Robertson. "We need to be able to scale quickly at any time of night or day and, unlike Rackspace, few vendors provide the support to lets us operate this way. This is why I am glad that we have planned our big data cloud-based future roadmap around the Rackspace open cloud platform."
Deriving Insights from Big Data
Action for Children needs to understand and manage the needs of multiple stakeholders including customers, donors, fundraisers and potential foster parents. Years of interactions with these groups has left the organisation with vast data sets. Rackspace is helping Action for Children manage this 'big data', combining the speed and affordability of cloud computing with advanced software, to provide more accurate and extensive insights than traditional data analysis.
These insights are enabling the charity to create a bespoke online experience for its diverse user groups. "We needed to be able to personalise the web experience for each user so that we don't, for example, ask students and multinational CEOs for the same kind of donation. We are following Rackspace's roadmap for big data so that we can engineer a new level of contextual user awareness into the way our IT system works," continued Robertson.
"Action For Children has adopted an open cloud computing platform for future flexibility which will support current big data innovation challenges," said Taylor Rhodes, Managing Director, International, Rackspace. "The organisation will now increase its ability to monitor and analyse where it is having the most positive impact regionally, so we are confident that Action for Children's next steps forward will reap benefits for the organisation as a whole and for those it seeks to help."
Über Rackspace Hosting
Rackspace® (NYSE: RAX) is the open cloud company and founder of OpenStack, the standard open-source operating system for cloud computing. Headquartered in San Antonio, Rackspace delivers its renowned Fanatical Support® to more than 200,000 business customers, from data centers on four continents. Rackspace is a leading provider of hybrid clouds, which enable businesses to run their workloads where they run most effectively - whether on the public cloud, a private cloud, dedicated servers, or a combination of these platforms. Rackspace has been recognized by Bloomberg BusinessWeek as a Top 100 Performing Technology Company, and is featured on Fortune's list of 100 Best Companies to Work For. For more information, visit www.rackspace.co.uk.
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