CUSTOMER'S BUSINESS: Integrated marketing agency, creating campaigns and building sites for major companies
CHALLENGES: Small team of developers who should spend time on software, not managing servers; needed a
solution for corporate website hosting and e-commerce
BUSINESS OUTCOME: Cut their hosting bill in half; easily handle spiky traffic; extra level of security for their clients
Founded in 1961, the Dorset-based Bright Blue Day is the number three integrated marketing agency in the UK. As an integrated agency, Bright Blue Day handles both traditional media and new media for its clients, which include Vodafone, HP, Sony, Visa, and BlackBerry.
Bright Blue Day moved its client sites to the Rackspace Cloud from a dedicated host at the start of 2011. The agency has about 60 employees, including five software developers.
“We had become very interested in the Cloud, as we’d had issues before on dedicated servers,” explains Chris Rowe, senior developer at Bright Blue Day. “We would have traffic spikes on our sites, and the server couldn’t handle it. We liked the idea that on the Rackspace Cloud, you could quickly fire off another server, and we could also reach Rackspace support if we needed anything.”
For Bright Blue Day, Cloud Sites was a good option for many of their smaller sites. “But with Cloud Sites, you can only configure so far,” says Rowe, and the sites for one major client were going to require some extra planning and configuration.
Loch Fyne Oysters is a popular Scotland-based retail company, with a sister chain of 38 seafood restaurants throughout the UK. The website caters to the online sales of oysters and other seafood. For the Loch Fyne account, Bright Blue Day needed a flexible and powerful hosting solution.
“It’s one company, but there were three sites that needed to work together to share files,” says Rowe. The site incorporated two different use cases: corporate website hosting, as well as a highly-trafficked e-commerce business.
Bright Blue Day also needed specialists to manage the servers, and support to provide for Loch Fyne’s sites’ availability. “We’re a relatively small team of developers, and the idea of having to manage servers is just beyond what our team is able to do,” says Rowe. “Software updates and patches aren’t something we can really handle.”
Bright Blue Day’s Cloud footprint is a fairly straightforward one. They have 20 different clients hosted on Cloud Sites, and Loch Fyne on a 2GB Windows Cloud Server with managed service level. The Loch Fyne sites all live on the same Cloud Server, and the online shop’s credit card transactions operate through a third-party payment gateway. The e-commerce site sees about 3,500 customers a day.
Because he’s using managed Cloud Servers, Rowe hasn’t really had to think about his Loch Fyne servers much at all. “I haven’t done much with web farming, and I haven’t had to change the size or anything. We’ve been on the managed cloud for four months, and it’s been running smoothly, with no problems so far.”
Rowe said that he would recommend the managed Cloud Servers to other businesses without hesitation. “The migration help was really useful. We had a few issues migrating, and they were very helpful making the setup work on the new server.”
“The Cloud also gives us the ability to change quickly,” says Rowe. “If we’re running a campaign that ramps up quickly, we can easily add another instance or increase the server size."
The managed level of support is a major plus for Rowe. “If there are issues, it’s nice to know there’s someone to go to 24 hours—that if there’s a problem you don’t have to rely on your own knowledge alone. With Rackspace, it’s nice to have the reassurance that someone else is looking after that side of things, so you can focus on building your own software.”
For Bright Blue Day, being able to count on a managed level of service isn’t just a nice cushion—it’s crucial to ensuring the best possible experience for their customers, and in turn, it’s central to their business. “As an agency, the managed service level gives us an extra level of security for our clients,” explains Rowe. “The managed service is really useful to us because we are an integrated agency; we’re not purely digital. It’s nice to have another expert when we’re launching digital campaigns."
Rowe has been able to call on different kinds of Rackspace support, depending on the issue. “Sometimes I just use the live chat service just to talk to someone, for a quick fix. Other times it’s something a Racker has to think about, so I’ll submit a ticket, and a Racker always responds to it pretty quickly. One time a Racker rang me up and used a remote desktop to show me how to do something. It was really useful.”
For Bright Blue Day, Rackspace was a clear winner for their bottom line. “Since moving to the Rackspace Cloud, we’ve saved quite a bit of money,” says Rowe. “We’ve cut our bill in half.”
By using the managed Cloud Servers, the agency also doesn’t have to hire a systems administrator, and its software developers don’t have to handle server issues. Finally, adds Rowe, “Rackspace is more familiar with the problems that are likely to occur, even if we had our own employee who handled servers.”
In the future, Rowe plans to expand his cloud footprint. “I’d like to use Cloud Files for backups, and Cloud Servers for developing. And if we have another big customer, we’ll put them on the managed cloud.”
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