The lifeblood of The Daily Caller (DC), a news site founded by Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel, former policy director to Vice President Dick Cheney, is breaking news. If the site is down for an extended period of time, readers will go elsewhere – perhaps for good.
After the site went down for 11 hours due to a physical hosting infrastructure that was unable to handle bursting traffic, DC’s technology strategist, Patrick Kuo, knew they had to update their infrastructure. Before turning to cloud services, DC used a traditional server environment. Applications ran segregated on dedicated physical servers. The site would crash when traffic peaked – a major problem since the news business by nature sees traffic peaks every day.
The solution was to migrate to a cloud computing environment built on the VMware virtualization platform. DC and VMware partner Virtacore worked to craft a solution that loads site pages fast – DC wanted a three-megabyte page to load in four seconds or less – and delivers reliable uptime during peak demand.
The site is now designed so that “shallow” transactions touch only a “shallow” part of the infrastructure.
“If you’re a reader seeking simple delivery of content, it’s coming from the very first layer. If you’re interacting with the site and creating comments, you reach down a little further; but also, the number of readers interacting at that level is fewer – 80 percent of the traffic stops at the first layer – so performance is still very fast. The fewest number of end users are at the very deepest layer, the editorial staff and development people,” Kuo said.
Shortly after DC moved to the virtualized architecture, speed and availability were put to the test. The publication broke a series of news stories that attracted an unprecedented number of visitors – a typical month’s worth of traffic within 48 hours. The infrastructure held up just fine, with no outages or even delays.
Emailvision, a provider of email marketing solutions, wanted to automate the way its sales team generated new contracts and purchase orders. Even though the company used Salesforce.com for Customer Relationship Management, the sales team was still manually generating new contracts and POs manually using Word and Excel. This process was time consuming and error prone.
As with many other businesses that have already invested in cloud or SaaS offerings, before bringing on yet another one, Emailvision needed to be sure that the new solution would be able to integrate information, functions and more across services and firewalls and between SaaS platforms and the company’s own on-premise solutions.
Emailvision eventually set its sights on RunMyProcess, a provider of platform as a service (PaaS) solutions. The RunMyProcess platform makes use of business process management (BPM) concepts to provide structured workflows and integration tools with more than 1,200 connectors for various applications.
Using the RunMyProcess platform, Emailvision designed a service that automatically creates a contract in Word and a purchase order in Excel whenever a new customer or new business is added to Salesforce.com. The documents are then emailed by the RunMyProcess platform to the sales person in charge of the account for validation. Emailvision estimates it has saved on average 15 minutes for each of the 300 proposals done monthly.
Based on this success, Emailvision has begun a second, more ambitious project to connect information flows between Salesfore.com, Sage ERP software and Campaign Commander, Emailvision’s SaaS email platform. According to Pascal Charrier, VP Global Services, Emailvision, the value of the RunMyProcess platform is its “ability to create a bridge between different systems that don’t communicate.”
If this list were numbered by order of importance, cost would come in at number one or two. However, I’m saving it for last, since so many of the cloud customers listed above included cost at the top of their lists of priorities.
Customers of Symantec.cloud, Vyatta, Digitech Systems, Virtacore and RunMyProcess all included lower costs as either a top concern going into the buying process or as one of the most significant benefits afterwards. According to a study by IT trade organization CompTIA, the transition to cloud computing is accelerating because of a desire to reduce capital expenditures.
In fact, lowering costs was cited by 85 percent of end-user respondents to the CompTIA survey. As the economy continues to struggle, the lower costs associated with cloud computing should further spur adoption, even as companies cut back on pretty much everything else.