As Relay42 was orchestrating up to half a million events per second in busy periods, it needed a flexible and scalable infrastructure. Operating in the financial services industry makes regulatory compliance key for Relay42, as well as ensuring its platform capabilities can deal with customer demand as it expands globally.Solutions Cloud, Cloud Management & Operations, Rackspace Elastic Engineering, Public Cloud, Data, Data Management Platforms Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), VMware, Data, AWS Data
Dutch-headquartered Relay42 turns data into meaningful relationships for customers that include Air France-KLM, Heineken, Mazda and FedEx. Its data management solutions integrate AI and orchestration capabilities to enable brands to unify all customer data to predict behavior and engage customers, at any moment, with truly personalized journeys.
“Rackspace Technology is a support partner that — like us — is always looking ahead, moving with the times and bringing its customers with them. I value that kind of alignment immensely.”
Enabling the future of customer experience
Relay42 counts among its customers some of Europe and Asia’s most well-known brands from a diverse range of industries, including Air France-KLM, Heineken, Mazda and FedEx, which it serves from its offices in Amsterdam, Singapore and London.
Relay42’s growth has coincided with a transformation in the way brands differentiate themselves in the digital era when customer journeys take place across myriad online and offline channels. As Rogier van Nieuwenhuizen, CEO at Relay42, explained, “Customer experience has emerged as the primary source of differentiation for brands in the digital era. Our solutions equip customers to integrate data from online and offline sources to drive personalized and predictive, multichannel experiences in real time. In this way they can create meaningful and tailored moments at the individual level, even across a customer base of millions.”
For Relay42, orchestrating the journeys of half a billion consumers each year involves connecting thousands of systems to process more than 60,000 events per second, rising to 500,000 per second during busy holiday periods. And to make this happen, it relies on the AWS public cloud with Rackspace Technology® as its primary technology partner.
“Rackspace Technology provides essential input on our work to ensure we benefit from its experience with AWS best practices.”
A technology partner for speed and scale
Initially looking to shed the burden of managing its own infrastructure, Relay42 moved to the Rackspace Technology private cloud before migrating to Rackspace Public Cloud on OpenStack® and then fully onto the AWS platform.
In that time, Relay42’s requirements have evolved from a priority on uptime to a focus on speed and scale. “When we began the relationship, our internal KPIs were initially only concerned with maximizing uptime,” said van Nieuwenhuizen. “That was good enough then, and we have never fallen short with Rackspace Technology. But today we demand more, because we’re offering customers real-time journey orchestration. That means being able to send someone a personalized email, Facebook ad or SMS within two seconds of a particular data event being triggered, even if that trigger happens off the customer’s website.”
To enable this, Relay42’s hands-on engineering team integrates hundreds of systems by utilizing a huge range of AWS services and with the support of Rackspace Technology. On the compute and storage side, these services include EC2 and S3 instances with load balancing. For data streaming, the company relies heavily on AWS Kinesis and Kinesis Firehose. Meanwhile, it uses AWS SageMaker for machine learning innovations, the CodeDeploy and CodeBuild development tools, and AWS Inspector and AWS Shield for security.
At the same time, it leverages Fanatical Experience™ from Rackspace Technology to provide a complementary layer of support and development expertise. “We stay hands-on with our AWS services,” said van Nieuwenhuizen. “And we really value the ability to spin up, test and either scale up or phase out services as required, using automation and without impacting our solution’s uptime. But Rackspace Technology provides essential input on our work to ensure we benefit from its experience with AWS best practices.”
Rackspace Technology combines the power of proactive, always-on service and expertise with best-in-class tools and automation to deliver technology when and how customers need it. “When delivering real-time services, a 24-hour SLA is not good enough,” said van Nieuwenhuizen.
Rackspace Technology identified cost savings of $8,000 per month in the initial months of the pandemic for Relay42 using CloudHealth by VMware.
Keeping control of costs and compliance
By working with Rackspace Technology, Relay42 also has access to VMware’s CloudHealth tooling for automated cloud cost optimization. The solution enables Relay42 to precisely track cloud spend by cost center, tagging resources and services to create easy-to-use dashboards that show where both spend and CPU resources are being allocated. With this extra level of intelligence, it recently saved $8,000 per month on its compute spend without losing any performance.
Security and compliance is another area where the partnership with Rackspace Technology helps Relay42 feel in control. The company has a complex ecosystem in this regard, featuring multiple vendor solutions for vulnerability scanning and several security-related AWS services, and it has strict obligations that come with processing customer data.
The presence of a data protection agreement (DPA) with Rackspace Technology supports these obligations and more. The DPA has also proved vital to maintaining Relay42’s high levels of uptime and performance. That’s because the DPA allows the sharing of data around support issues in complete confidence, as van Nieuwenhuizen explained: “The DPA means that we can simply copy and paste the entire history of any issue into our support tickets, safe in the knowledge we’re staying compliant. So instead of worrying about what we can and can’t share, we can jump straight into engaging Rackspace Technology to help us solve the problem.”
Synergies for the future
Already active in 20 countries and growing every year, Relay42 aims to double the size of its European and Asian business in 2021 with support from the global footprint of Rackspace Technology. As part of the ongoing engagement, it also aims to continue its cloud native journey by further utilizing more services from AWS, and Rackspace Technology will help with the navigation of Relay42’s innovation strategy.
This will be a continuation of synergies that have always been present in the relationship between the two companies, according to van Nieuwenhuizen. “Relay42’s transformational culture mirrors that of
Rackspace Technology as we both constantly evolve to meet customer demands,” said van Nieuwenhuizen. “As recently as five years ago, customer journeys were relatively small-scale with limited touchpoints. Today, they happen at tremendous scale, and we are one of only a few companies that, firstly, anticipated that scale and, secondly, have been able to rise to the challenge.
“This is all made possible through AWS and the Fanatical Experience that Rackspace Technology delivers,” added van Nieuwenhuizen. “And they too have grown with us in that time, from a cloud provider to a full service, multicloud integrator providing relevant services in all possible clouds. That shows to me that Rackspace Technology is a support partner that — like us — is always looking ahead, moving with the times and bringing its customers with them. I value that kind of alignment immensely.”
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