AGU accelerates digital transformation to strengthen infrastructure

By migrating to Sitecore on AWS, the AGU improved the reliability, flexibility and personalization capabilities of its platform.

AGU Industry Education, Non-Profit Challenge

The AGU was delivering tens of thousands of pieces of content across 70 WordPress sites that were not easy to manage or monitor.

Solutions Cloud, Cloud Optimization, Applications, Application Management & Operations, Application Modernization, Digital Experience, Security, Application Security, Detect & Respond Platforms Applications, Sitecore Experience Platform, Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Security, Rackspace Security Essentials

Professional & Managed Services

Managed Services, Fanatical Experience

Our customer

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) is a non-profit organization that supports 130,000 members ranging from enthusiasts to experts worldwide. It aims to advance geoscience through study, exploration and research covering everything from outer space to the inner core of Earth.

Every year, the AGU publishes approximately 8,000 scholarly articles in 24 journals covering subjects related to Earth, oceans and space. It also hosts the biggest annual conference of its kind: the AGU Fall Meeting. This meeting is seen as a key event allowing the geoscience community to come together to learn, share and network. And it provides career support for its members.

Through its Ethics and Equity Center, the AGU fosters diversity, inclusivity and responsible conduct. By leveraging its broad and inclusive partnerships, the AGU aims to create solutions that are ethical and unbiased. It was founded in 1919 and is now based in Washington, D.C., in a net-zero energy renovated building.

“We did a significant amount of research on many companies that provided hosting and knowledge around Sitecore. Rackspace Technology brought everything to the table that we were looking for.”
Michael McFadden, Technical Program Manager, Infrastructure and Programming, AGU

The obstacles they faced

The AGU had an unwieldy Linux-based infrastructure that was failing to meet its needs. In addition, the AGU had to support more than 70 WordPress sites and manage the aging tens of thousands of pieces of content. The current solution was unable to provide a personalized and responsive experience. Updating web pages was neither quick nor easy for the content editors.

This complex infrastructure was difficult to scale and lacked the flexibility that the AGU required to fulfill its goals.

Deep expertise in architectural best practices, performance monitoring and support for Sitecore was required. The AGU needed help in optimizing the Sitecore platform on AWS to meet their specific needs and be able to leverage all the appropriate capabilities to gain insights.

The AGU also required a robust security solution to protect against cyberthreats. A pro-active approach to detecting potential cyberattacks was necessary to ensure threats are found and remediated quickly.


“Rackspace Technology has always been committed to our success, there is no doubt about that.”

Jay Brodsky, Chief Digital Officer, AGU

How we helped

The digital transformation journey had been underway for some time beginning with a migration to the AWS cloud. Rackspace Technology was chosen as a partner to complete the project.

To simplify everything, 70,000 pages of relevant content were condensed into one content management system on Sitecore. Following this, a fully scaled and highly available XP1 Sitecore platform was implemented across multiple environments in line with Sitecore best practices.

The full stack of Sitecore technology provides enhanced content delivery services for front-end traffic. Specifically, the XP1 platform allows for dynamic personalization, analytics capturing and robust editing features, providing end-users with up-to-date information while providing the AGU with key insights into user patterns and experience.

An improved process that incorporated DevOps across the environment was also put in place. The underlying platform was now more stable and offered new methods and endpoints for developers.

The migration was completed on-time and considered a success by the AGU, which now had a website that was stable, reliable and easier to manage.

The next logical step was to implement a robust managed security solution across the organization. The Proactive Detection and Response (PDR) Service from Rackspace Managed Security Services was chosen as it provides the AGU with continuous monitoring and protection against advanced persistent threats. PDR utilizes a combination of leading technologies and data analytics to actively search for threats and immediately remediate them using pre-approved actions.

70,000 pages of content condensed into one content management system.

What we achieved together

A robust infrastructure was built leveraging Sitecore on AWS allowing the AGU to deliver its extensive content to its global audience through its various channels.

By working with Rackspace Technology, the AGU was able to condense 70,000 pages into one content management system, making it easier to manage and monitor. With the latest Sitecore capabilities the user experience has improved, along with the availability of analytics and insights to help the AGU continue evolving. Dev staging is now a part of the highly available production environment. Updating web pages is quick and easy providing flexibility to the content editors.

The on-time completion of the migration then led the AGU to bolster the security of its online assets with Rackspace Managed Security Services, ensuring that infrastructure is protected against cyberthreats.

The collaborative partnership with Rackspace Technology continues through the provision of 24x7x365 support, platform management and the sharing of best practices.

About Rackspace Technology

Rackspace Technology is a hybrid, multicloud solutions expert. We combine our expertise with the world’s leading technologies — across AI, applications, data and security — to deliver end-to-end solutions. We have a proven record of advising customers based on their business challenges, designing solutions that scale, building and managing those solutions, and optimizing returns into the future. 

As a global hybrid, multicloud technology services pioneer, we deliver innovative capabilities to help customers build new revenue streams, increase efficiency and create incredible experiences. Named a best place to work, year after year according to Fortune, Forbes and Glassdoor, we attract and develop world-class talent to deliver the best expertise to our customers. Everything we do is wrapped in Fanatical Experience® — our obsession with customer success that drives us to help each customer work faster, smarter and stay ahead of what’s next. 


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