Skinny’s site is built on SilverStripe open source software. To get the best performance they chose a managed platform engineered and optimised specifically for this software. Designed by the company behind the SilverStripe open source software project, it meant Skinny also benefited from years of experience running SilverStripe production servers. "Given our site is built on SilverStripe software, it made sense to trust the company behind it to run and protect our site too. Using AWS cloud hosting and SilverStripe Platform management helps us get the best performance out of our SilverStripe site" - Nick Fitt, Skinny Online Systems Support Manager.
Skinny needed a solution that could handle peaks in traffic caused by tactical marketing campaigns without incurring unnecessary additional costs from overprovisioning. Specialising in pre-paid mobile they quickly recognised that a similar “pay as you use” approach to infrastructure was the smartest solution.
Driven by Amazon Web Services (AWS), SilverStripe Platform offered a robust and reliable hosting solution that elastically matches visitor traffic on-demand. This meant that Skinny’s site isn’t slowed by peaks in traffic and they only pay for what is used. Harnessing AWS to prevent paying for excess capacity was the logical choice for Skinny. Paul Touhey says, "As a growing business ourselves it was an obvious choice to select a platform that has the flexibility to seamlessly expand with demand whilst ensuring we are only paying for what we need".
With the AWS auto-scaling feature Skinny’s marketing team can confidently run tactical promotions without any concerns of the site running slowly or crashing. Designing Skinny’s infrastructure involved a myriad of decisions. Skinny were able to leverage SilverStripe Platform’s technical experts who tailored the infrastructure set up to best optimise the system configuration. SilverStripe Platform helps you get the most from your AWS infrastructure and provides Skinny with a future proof solution which can grow with their needs.
The SilverStripe Platform team’s AWS expertise helped us get the best from our infrastructure set up, which was a huge advantage. In one example, the SilverStripe team helped identify a particular page that was being loaded a huge number of times leading to us needing more capacity than expected. The team recommended a solution to change the infrastructure so this page would be served externally from the main website server. It was great to have the team diagnose the problem and solve this to optimise our AWS set up.
– Nick Fitt, Skinny Online Systems Support Manager
Expert support team
As part of SilverStripe Platform, Skinny also benefits from an expert support team that knows SilverStripe open source software inside and out. This team constantly monitors Skinny’s site and responds to issues. This means that Skinny’s small IT team isn’t further stretched trying to resolve issues themselves or respond after hours. The dedicated SilverStripe Platform team are alerted by automatic monitoring, and operate 24/7 to prescribed service levels. The team are SilverStripe specialists that can quickly assess issues and solve them permanently. Nick Fitt sees this expertise as a key difference, "The strength and knowledge of the SilverStripe Platform team set it apart from other platforms. This expertise was a real benefit to our initial redevelopment project. Now that the site has launched this continues be a strength as we know our site is in safe hands and any issues will be quickly resolved".
For example, a P1 (critical) incident that occurred on Skinny’s site was resolved and the site back to normal within 20 minutes. A proactive full fix was presented to Skinny within 1 hour and 24 minutes. With the site functioning again, Skinny scheduled the proactive fix to be deployed at 1 am when the traffic was lowest and customer disruption would be minimised.
Keeping Skinny.co.nz secure
As well as sales, Skinny’s customers use the site to manage their accounts. Therefore it is vital that the site is kept secure from malicious attacks. As Nick Fitt explains, "Security is crucial and the Platform stood up to testing by third party assessment before launch. It’s great to know that our site will continue to remain secure as the SilverStripe Platform team are monitoring security advisories and proactively patching to prevent vulnerabilities".
When the POODLE security threat was discovered, Skinny’s site was quickly patched within 24 hours, limiting the chance for a malicious attack against this vulnerability. Skinny can be confident that their important business channel will be kept secure and protected by SilverStripe Platform.
Taking care of the “housework”
Any website needs a certain level of regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly. Skinny also needed a solution that could cover this. Without attention to upgrades and general code maintenance, a site can quickly become vulnerable as technology advances. Without regular upgrades, Skinny staff would also miss out on new features as software is improved. Skinny decided to add Code Care to their SilverStripe Platform. This additional service takes care of SilverStripe software upgrades and bug fixes for their custom code. This means the development teams working on Skinny’s site can stay focused on building new features while avoiding having to hire additional resources to cover ongoing maintenance.
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