ORM - ITV and Channel4

A digital service agency takes full advantage of cloud hosting

ORM is a fully integrated, digital service agency based in London. During the past 11 years ORM, has grown and developed into a hugely successful organisation, helping a wide variety of well known clients gain a significant foothold in the rapidly changing digital world and its technologies.

ORM has delivered many highly creative online solutions for its clients including Channel 4 TV, ITV, and Monitise and astute technical bodies such as the IET (Institute of Engineering and Technology; putting them on the digital map and ensuring their net presence keeps pace with a rapidly changing market.

Complex digital world
Keith Nation is Technical Director for ORM’s digital operations, “The digital world is complex, ever-changing and potentially confusing for many. The reason we have been successful with major brands in global marketplaces is because we understand how to build and enhance brand value in what is an ever changing digital space.”

Already famous
Keith said, “To ensure our success we link up with key partners to assist in our project delivery, and few are more important than our hosting partner Rackspace® Hosting.” Keith added, “I worked with Rackspace previously as Technical Architect for Oyster Online, and I was responsible for introducing them to ORM when I joined the company. Their main reputation has always been in the provision of superbly reliable servers and stable, secure infrastructure, with a remarkable technical back-up service they have aptly named Fanatical Support®. We have made very good use of their hosting services for our client ITV, where we run media streaming operation to help promote their programming content to a global audience.

Support beyond the norm
Keith went on to say, “Hosting websites is predictable with Rackspace. We know that we can build, upload and manage the sites in the full confidence that the Rackspace support team will ensure nothing untoward happens to cause problems for the online audience. You know you have the best team behind you every step of the way which gives you confidence that you can get the job done. The benefit of hosting with Rackspace is that you get the best sales advice and technical support people from the outset. They come with vast knowledge and an unmatched work ethic as standard. Certainly the experience with ITV revealed a willingness to always go that extra mile. We needed to set up video streaming servers to run in conjunction with the website and Rackspace provided extensive technical support, advice and backup that was well beyond the norm.”

The very best of both worlds
Keith revealed, “As I said at the start, the market changes rapidly in this new digital world, and it is of little surprise that we are now venturing into the cloud. We know that for some projects you have to have a dedicated server, for security or stability reasons. For others traffic is subject to spikes and far less predictable. The issue here is you have to pay for the maximum requirement regardless of the fact that you don't need it all the time. This is not cost effective.”

Hybrid hosting
Fortunately, Rackspace has developed the perfect solution. A hybrid hosting package combining dedicated servers for mission critical applications and a cloud server to handle the variable traffic. This provides the best of both worlds; A main site with a 100% network uptime guaranteed and 1 hour hardware fix and the total security of a dedicated environment, linked to a cloud server with infinite scalability, but only paid for when you need it in high traffic situations: This is the perfect scenario for sites associated with time-limited events and campaigns. Cloud servers are highly flexible; setup can be achieved in minutes, which makes them ideal for test and development and for discretionary projects. In addition Cloud storage is highly efficient for archives, backups and serving static content - with the added benefit of content distribution via Akamai.”

Improved performance, reduced costs
Keith went on to say, “By utilising both solutions we have improved the overall performance of the sites as well as achieving significant cost savings. Our clients’ mission critical websites are not affected by spiky, unpredictable traffic or bandwidth heavy content distribution and website users cannot tell the difference.

Keith revealed, “From an agency standpoint, cloud hosting is absolutely perfect for short term campaigns. You don’t have to make a decision on a server specification or compute any bandwidth requirement, and you don’t even need to sign a contract for a year to cover a 3-month campaign! (Though to be fair to Rackspace, I know that they offer short term hosting contracts for microsites on traditional hosting platforms). From our viewpoint the arrival of open source, virtualised servers in the cloud is the perfect hosting solution. You move in when you want to. You can use as much or as little space as is required for the campaign, and the server is scalable and bandwidth infinitely expandable to meet the demands of the audience. This means we no longer have to worry about catering for demand peaks and ensuring we have the adequate server power to meet the inevitable spikes that can be caused by huge TV audiences.”

Rock solid cloud
Keith Nation admitted, “I am aware that some people have had concerns about virtual technology and security, but from our perspective the cloud is absolutely rock solid (now there’s a contradiction in terms!), and Channel 4 was among the first of our clients to take advantage of the new hosting platform with a sponsored film package featuring Renault cars and an online film quiz.”

Meeting the legal needs
Channel 4 was delighted with the outcome. Jade Raad, the Sponsorship Account Manager at C4 said, “Performance of the websites we produce and the security of the competition data are paramount. ORM worked closely with our IT and legal team to ensure that the Rackspace Cloud was a suitable environment that adhered to our stringent web policy. Channel 4 and our network film sponsor Renault were both very pleased with the results this sponsorship microsite produced over its 9-month life-span."

Keith summarised, “It goes without saying that standalone cloud will not be the perfect hosting solution for everyone, but from our standpoint its use for short term campaigns and for cost conscious clients makes perfect sense. Naturally, you don’t get the same levels of support that you receive with traditional hosting, but I know I can relax in the knowledge that the same Rackspace Fanatical Support team is always in the background to offer practical help and advice should it ever be needed.

Easy access
Keith added, “Getting into the cloud is easy. Small users will love the simplicity of set up. A web based GUI (Graphical User Interface) allows quick site set up with little technical knowledge and being infinitely scalable and open source without expensive overheads adds to its immense appeal. That’s pretty much all there is to it! If you are looking to venture into the cloud then I would certainly recommend Rackspace as your hosting partner.”

Cloud hosting pioneers
David Kelly is Managing Director of Rackspace EMEA, “We are proud to be pioneers of cloud hosting technology in Europe and to be among the first professional hosting companies to offer full and hybrid cloud hosting packages that still provide high levels of security, uptime and performance. ORM was among the first of many Rackspace clients to adopt the cloud as a business hosting medium in the UK, and their experience has underscored the incredible commercial opportunities that open source, infinitely scalable, virtual technology can bring. We are very proud to be pioneers and have huge confidence in the future growth and development of this massive technological change.

If you need an agency partner that can help you navigate your business into the cloud then ORM’s experience makes them an ideal choice. Call them on +44 (0) 20 7939 9540, email hello@ormlondon.com or visit their website at www.ormlondon.com.

For a complete guide to cloud hosting please call the Rackspace team on 0800 988 0100 or visit the cloud hosting section of our website at www.rackspace.co.uk/cloudhosting

Want to learn more?
Call us on 0808 274 2690

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