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Discover how CloudSigma and Webscale Enabled Dynamic Autoscaling for a Swiss Spatial Data Portal

Customer Profile

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EBP is a leading, internationally active enterprise with planning, construction, consulting, IT, and communications business units. EBP executes consulting projects in the fields of security, water, environment, energy, climate as well as software development projects. CloudSigma works with their IT consulting department headquartered in Switzerland.

Their customer CCGEO (Conference of State Centres for Geoinformation) has established a consolidated infrastructure for the storage and publication of harmonized spatial data for Switzerland. EBP was responsible for the initial two-year pilot of the project including additional supporting systems for the processing of the data. The pilot for the so called GeoDienste portal included infrastructure provisioning, the installation of data processing applications (with automatic scaling) and all the required maintenance and support work. The data processing application itself is based on open source software components and was developed by Sourcepole AG.

CloudSigma enabled EBP to fulfil the project requirements, offering the necessary technology and dynamic scaling solutions needed to develop in a short time a cloud infrastructure solution which is dynamic and can flexibly react to load and request volume fluctuations automatically.

“The efficiency and ease with which you can scale up infrastructure resources at CloudSigma is definitely one of the most critical aspects for us today.”Christian Baracchi, Project Manager @ EBP

The Challenge

The specifications of the project raised several challenges for EBP.

The solution had to be dynamically scalable which turned out to be the biggest challenge when building the infrastructure for running the application. EBP already had a product suitable for online web stores or similar applications but they had to develop a new product to address the requirements of this specific application.

For the dynamic scalability, EBP was looking for a solution that could cover the following success criteria:

  • be able to clone, start, stop and destroy servers and attached drives in the cloud
  • include a “rules engine” to allow for auto-scaling triggers and limits
  • have an easy to use console for configuration, management and monitoring.

After conducting a proof of concept, CloudSigma in cooperation with Webscale Networks was able to cover all the necessary requirements for the project. The other cloud providers that were considered by EBP proved to be either too expensive or could not provide the required technology.

“Having several cloud providers in the radar, we came to CloudSigma. We had to fulfill our client’s requirements – the data should not leave Switzerland and the solution had to be dynamically scalable. CloudSigma covered all the necessary requirements and had the required know-how so that the application could function in the desired way.”

The Solution

For EBP the main reasons for choosing CloudSigma as a cloud provider were the Swiss location, the highly available technology, the good price and the support during the most challenging initial phase of the project. For the latter a technical specialist from CloudSigma was at the client’s disposal and met with EBP team on site to discuss the project scenario.

In terms of technology, the biggest challenge, the dynamic scaling, was enabled through the close cooperation with our load balancing partner Webscale Networks and their product CloudMaestro. CloudMaestro easily handled all of the primary success criteria, allowing the customer to be up and running with CloudMaestro in a very short period of time.

“CloudSigma and Webscale invested a lot of time and effort to develop the optimal solution in a timely manner in order to cover all of our requirements.”Christian Baracchi, Project Manager @ EBP

Beyond the basic requirements for success, CloudMaestro was able to handle the less obvious requirements with ease as well, ensuring that the overall soluion would be a success as they transition the system to production. For example, each server in this solution is composed of web applications and web services that may be slow to start on a new server. The scaling solution provided by CloudMaestro handles this case without issue, waiting until each new server is ready to process requests before allowing any new server to join the scaling cluster. The rules engine that triggers application scaling is under the customer’s complete control. This allows the customer to create separate rules for testing versus production and easily tune the production rule set to achieve the exact responsiveness that they desire. Finally, through the CloudMaestro API, the customer is able to obtain consolidated log records across all of their application servers in an industry-standard format.

“The support we got from both teams during the first few weeks, even months, was of great importance for us and helped us easily make our final decision.”

The Impact

The initial infrastructure consisted of five servers, including three base servers that are running all of the time plus two additional servers that are scaled out automatically as needed via the API. Server templates have been created to enable the start of new instances of the server automatically when required.

Today the production environment is built on five constantly running servers, two front-end servers for load balancing, two database servers and one job server. There are two additional environments – an integration system and a test and development system which run on two additional servers and one more monitoring server. This makes eight servers in total for the whole base environment with auto scaling the front-end servers to cover peak load conditions.

CloudSigma enables EBP to scale the application with ease and therefore to continuously grow the CCGEO platform, so that it brings even more value to its end-users.

“We started with a few topics with spatial data, which are currently available through the platform. In the future, approximately 70 topics will be provided by the 26 cantons on geodienste.ch. This means there will be more users over time and more resources will be needed correspondingly.”

Another key aspect for EBP to continue their work with CloudSigma is the excellent support and the timely tackling of any technical issues.

“At the beginning we were still a bit sceptical if everything will function as expected. But then with the time, even when there have been any small disruptions, these have been tackled in a timely manner and there has always been a root cause analysis for any bigger issues. We haven’t experienced any outages for a long time now.”

“The price-performance-ratio is definitely good, the quality of support is excellent. We are overall happy with the services of CloudSigma.”Christian Baracchi, Project Manager @ EBP

The Future

In a nutshell, EBP has been satisfied with the performance of CloudSigma and with the overall cooperation. Being an internationally focused company, they plan to benefit from CloudSigma’s growing network of locations. CloudSigma is always considered by them when it comes to new infrastructure with specific requirements in the
cloud.

About Vanya Nikova

Vanya is leading the Global Customer Development Team at CloudSigma. Beside that, she is responsible for a number of big data and big science partners and projects at CloudSigma. She has a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Mannheim, Germany with 10 years of work experience in sales and consulting services.

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