RedBalloon floats into the cloud with Amazon

Ecommerce site hosts data with provider in order to meet traffic spikes

Site crashes are a thing of the past for ecommerce website RedBalloon since a migration into Amazon Web Service’s cloud took place in early 2012.

Speaking at Gartner’s IT Infrastructure Operations and Data Centre Summit in Sydney, RedBalloon development and technology general manager Paul Keen told delegates that website uptime is critical because the company acts as a booking agent and margins are low.

RedBalloon makes money from consumers booking experiences such as a ride in a jet plane. An increased number of sales take place during specific periods such as Xmas, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day. In December 2012 it made over $1 million in online sales.

When the company went out to the marketplace for a cloud provider, Keen said it had some criteria - price and local support. Eventually, Rackspace, Amazon Web Services and Telstra were left in the running.

“We went with Amazon because they met the criteria,” he said. “They have a lot of local support and technically I think they are a year ahead of everyone else in the marketplace.”

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Instead of buying more servers, RedBalloon migrated its image assets and data into Amazon’s content delivery network (CDN) so the provider could manage it for them.

The ecommerce site also has the option of going multi-region with the cloud. For example, Keen said that if one of Amazon’s Regions goes down, RedBalloon can be up and running again within 15 minutes.

He added that employing cloud technologies can also have disaster recovery benefits; if an office is closed due to a fire or other occurrence, people can continue to work from home if they are relying on resources delivered via the cloud.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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