AQuarterOf.co.uk describes exactly what to expect when you visit the colourful, zany website that features the charming and compulsive compilation of captivating, childhood confectionery - all those lovely sweetshop goodies that you thought had been rendered obsolete by the passage of time, and the loss of those lovely big glass jars in colourful old shop windows. The mouthwatering collection comprises everything you can remember and more. This fabulous, online, old-fashioned sweetshop was created by owner and MD, Michael Parker after a conversation with some friends and locals in a pub!
Bulls Eyes, Balls and Barley
Michael revealed, "Those of a certain age will undoubtedly remember fondly those Aniseed Balls, Barley Sugars and Bulls Eyes as well as the sour and tingly Sherbet Fountains, Flying Saucers and Kola Kubes; yet these are just a few of the memorable and massive old time confectionery assortment compiled by our team and displayed at AQuarterOf.co.uk."
Promotion prompts problem peaks
"The only problem we faced from day one was the dramatic success of the site", said, Michael Parker, Managing Director at A Quarter Of Ltd., Michael went on to say, "We received a lot of publicity when we first launched the site ten years ago. The high traffic rates inevitably overwhelmed the server, causing crashes and system downtime, losing us potential business as well as irritating those potential clients trying to regain access to their old childhood favourites. As a result of these teething problems we made some significant system changes; being advised by the hosting company at the time to increase the server capacity to accommodate the peak traffic. This cycle occurred a few more times and required the associated capacity increases, which worked reasonably well until Feb 2012, when the site slowed down horribly as a result of a guest appearance on ITV's The Alan Titchmarsh Show. It was very clear then that we needed to do something more significant to ensure site uptime and safeguard our future capability to handle increased interest and peak traffic surges, but also to avoid over provisioning to meet occasional high demand."
Colin Ogilvie, Head Developer at AQuarterOf Ltd. revealed, "The answer was clearly in the cloud. It was the perfect solution for a website requiring maximum server flexibility; and all we needed was to find the right hosting partner." Colin added, "Our search quickly identified Rackspace Hosting as a potential provider. We'd already experienced Rackspace in the past, from a brief foray using a virtual Windows server. It's also a name that has been around for a long while and has a very good reputation for excellent support and platform stability. Rackspace also came ‘highly recommended' to our IT department by another Rackspace customer, which meant that we had some genuine ‘from the horse's mouth' information as a reference.
Ground rules for the clouds
Colin said, "When we set out the ground rules for our move to Rackspace, we had some very clear goals about what we wanted to achieve. A great deal of time was put in to researching the various cloud hosting options available to us; looking at the price, support and scalability of the solutions. It was on these points that Rackspace came out firmly at the top of the list."
Guaranteed uptime and Fanatical Support
Colin summarised, "Reputation, price, technical ability, technology, high security, high speed, guaranteed network uptime and the ability to get support as and when we needed it were all highly critical to our future success – certainly if our website or platform infrastructure goes down, being a purely online business, that does not help us at all – so the dedicated support from Rackspace is essential.
Spin up a server
Colin added, "Now that we have migrated our website to Rackspace, and it's been running on the cloud platform for a bit, we are already experiencing first- Jars of childhood memories hand the list of benefits on which we made our decision. The primary reason for leaving our previous hosting provider was because it was unable to cope with the demands put on it when the website received massive publicity. It's now a simple task to spin up a new server to cope with a likely peak in the event of PR or promotional activity. Importantly, it's just as easy to spin it down again if it's not needed – meaning that we only pay for the actual hosting that we use."
Candy in the clouds
"This is the first foray into the cloud for www.AQuarterOf.co.uk", concluded Colin, "and it is something that we will definitely investigate further for any new projects that come up. We are now using Rackspace Cloud Files for storage and backup of some of our data, which means that if we need it, it is instantly accessible to our servers. We are also looking at Cloud Files to serve content from a CDN in the future. We make use of the Load Balancing platform for access to our balanced webservers. The biggest impact that Rackspace has had on the business is the ability for us to grow relatively quickly and easily – with the provisioning time for new servers being quite quick - adding things to load balancers means we can increase site capacity almost instantly.
AQuarterOf's IT team has been able to focus on the core aspects of the business rather than having to worry about peripheral things – their core business is as an online sweetshop, which is where the focus has been in partnering with Rackspace – building a solid, dependable infrastructure to support the business without having to worry about many of the other technical aspects.
Colin Ogilvie said, "The relationship with Rackspace is perfect for our website. They are certainly more like business partners than service providers, and we are delighted with the success of the project. I would certainly recommend Rackspace as a hosting partner to anyone who relies on their website for business.
To rekindle your schooldays, take an online trip down memory lane and gaze through the front window of the sweet shop at www.AQuarterOf.co.uk – you will be overwhelmed by the considerable collection of childhood confectionery you may have thought had disappeared forever!
To discover more about Rackspace Business Hosting visit the website at www.rackspace.co.uk or call the sales team FREE on 0800 988 0100, for a friendly chat about the latest developments in cloud hosting technology including the latest hybrid cloud.