SOASTA leverages Rackspace® Cloud Servers to test Olympic sites.
CUSTOMER'S BUSINESS: SOASTA simulates high-volume web traffic to test web and mobile app performance.
CHALLENGES: The company needs to spin up thousands of servers a day across the globe.
BUSINESS OUTCOME: Cloud Servers powered by OpenStack has meant an “explosion of capacity and locations” for the company.
Founded in 2008, SOASTA simulates high-volume web traffic to test site and mobile app performance. For the past two years, The Wall Street Journal has named them one of America's top 50 hottest companies.
In order to simulate real-world international traffic, SOASTA provisions an enormous amount of servers worldwide. In testing mobile apps and web sites for the London Olympics, the company has found Rackspace Cloud ServersTM invaluable.
Four years ago, SOASTA introduced Cloud-Test, which enables companies to analyze their sites' and apps' performance in response to simulated traffic bursts. Tom Lounibos, president and CEO of SOASTA explains, "Before then, you couldn't really simulate traffic, because you needed hundreds - if not thousands - of servers to simulate the web traffic and mobile traffic that we get on websites today."
The cloud allows SOASTA to mimic real-world web traffic by provisioning servers across the globe. The scalability of the cloud means that SOASTA's application needn't have thousands of dedicated servers to perform its task, as servers can be provisioned - and paid for - on an as-needed basis. Lounibos says, "Our use case is different than most cloud customers, who might need three, four, five servers at any given time, and would need them for a year, for example. We need bursts of large capacity, in some cases 100, in some cases 500 or 1,500 servers. We also need them from all kinds of locations around the world, because we're simulating people downloading songs, and sending e-cards, buying a ticket to the Olympic Games. In any given day, we may be provisioning thousands of cloud servers around the world, from 17 different providers, from up to 49 different locations."
Though the company works with numerous providers, Rackspace is among its preferred ones. Lounibos says SOASTA's relationship with Rackspace has "been a terrific one from day one. We knew right away that we could not do what we do on a daily event from a single provider, so it was imperative for us to have a multi-cloud relationship with multiple vendors. When I met [Rackspace President] Lew Moorman and [GM of Rackspace Cloud Builders] Jim Curry and some of the team at Rackspace, I was completely impressed. Rackspace has been a significant provider of cloud servers to us over the years."
When it came to testing a number of websites for the London Olympics, SOASTA turned to Rackspace. "Right now we're very active with Rackspace, with the London Olympic games," Lounibos says. "We are testing anywhere between 10 and 15 different sites, preparing them for the Olympic Games, including the London Olympic Committee, several ticketing agencies and such, so we use Cloud Servers from Rackspace to run our test on, and it's been really a great relationship."
Fanatical Support® has been a big win for SOASTA during Olympics crunch time. “We had a little bit of a problem last week, trying to get the amount of capacity we needed,” he says. “I called Lew up, and within 15 minutes, we had guys working on the problem, and it was solved and we were able to do the test in the same timing that we’d wanted to. I was so personally appreciative of Lew and the team jumping on this. You do that for every customer, from what I can tell.”
Dave Murphy, SOASTA SVP of Delivery, concurs. "The Rackspace support has been phenomenal," he says. "When we were first working with the OpenStack API, we had a few questions, and we'd get them answered very quickly."
Lounibos sees Rackspace's addition of OpenStack as a source of greater opportunity in the future. "We're really excited about Rackspace's commitment to OpenStack. What OpenStack does for us is give us options - and really powerful options, because so many companies are now moving toward OpenStack. We see this as an explosion of capacity and locations, which are very important to us. We think OpenStack is a very powerful player in the cloud community, and will be the future of cloud computing as we go forward."
SOASTA maintains a relationship with a number of providers, and Lounibos views the Rackspace use of OpenStack as a move that honors the need for case-specific options. "I really believe in the Rackspace view that there should be options," he says. "We're all part of a family within the cloud, and we think that our relationship with Rackspace is a very tight-knit element of that family."
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