Comic Relief Goes Cloud Computing with the Help of Riverbed Technology
Every two years, one of the biggest events in the UK fundraising calendar is Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day. The charity raises tens of millions of pounds in donations through its website, which is its primary fundraising and donation portal. It is therefore crucial to have full functionality during peak periods, and to ensure there is absolutely no downtime.
In 2009, the charity’s IT team looked to improve on its 2007 performance, but in doing so faced a critical business decision of how to upgrade its IT infrastructure. The challenge was to create a virtual web infrastructure that handled the different types of traffic, which continuously peaks and bursts during the seven hour TV show, and to maintain 100 percent uptime while reducing the amount of hardware running all year round.
“The charity realized that its needs were moving beyond the limitations of the hardware they had, and were keen to take advantage of the latest and best technology to increase its capability and efficiency,” explains Charlotte Melén, Comic Relief’s Web Technology Manager.
Cloud was the logical choice
Carrenza helped develop Comic Relief’s web and donations platforms using technology donated by the likes of Riverbed®, Cisco, HP, Oracle, and VMware.
“Our aim was to reduce the 15 racks of hardware that were on all year round, but that outside the big campaign were hardly used. So it was logical to move to virtualized machines, which enabled us to run six server racks containing 60 to 80 virtual machines. They supported the web payment front end, which was also used by 12,000 call center operators to take donations,” Melén says.