Established in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, Virgin is one of the world’s best known brands. The investment group employs 60,000 people across its international operations and is active in a multitude of industries, including mobile telecommunications, travel, financial services, leisure, music, holidays and wellness.
As a result, the Virgin Group comprises a number of brands and entities, each with its own website and identity. The most important URL for the group is Virgin.com which is an information site that directs users to other relevant domains, such as Virgin Unite, Virgin Startup, and Virgin Way. This URL is accessed by millions of international visitors and therefore needs to be 100% available all the time, especially during peak traffic periods.
Consult and Create
Cloud computing, managed hosting and colocation expert Pulsant has been working with Virgin for the past five years, hosting several of its websites and effectively functioning as an extended part of the project team. Pulsant collaborates closely with Virgin Management Limited, the organisation responsible for the brand identity, tone and messaging of all Virgin companies.
“The sites, including Virgin.com, are hosted on Pulsant’s enterprise cloud platform which was specially developed to meet the diverse needs of the company. Requirements included top-notch security, 100% uptime, and reliability”.
Natashia O’Brien– Enterprise Client Manager, Pulsant
“Initially the websites were hosted on dedicated managed servers”, added O’Brien, Enterprise Client Manager, Pulsant. “Through a period of consultation with Virgin and its design agency, Beyond, we suggested a move to enterprise cloud which took place in the last quarter of 2013”.
Integrate and Activate
The enterprise cloud platform brings additional scalability and flexibility to Virgin’s operations. The framework, called The Virgin Cloud, was designed and created to address the needs of Virgin’s host of websites and therefore can be rolled out to any of the group’s website should the need arise. Pulsant hosts this framework on its infrastructure and layers it with managed services.
“Part of our approach is to ensure that we fully understand our customer’s business outcomes so that we can guarantee that our technology solution will meet their needs in the best way possible. By working closely with our customers, from helping them define their requirements, through to implementation, allows us to leverage our knowledge and expertise in delivering optimised technologies that drive those business outcomes”, said O’Brien.
The latest addition to the enterprise cloud infrastructure is Virgin Unite – a non-profit organisation that supports entrepreneurship and innovation. It occupies several virtual servers on The Virgin Cloud and enjoys a host of managed services, such as load balancing, security and ensuring the best connectivity between sites, that Pulsant provides to support the technology.
Support and Evolve
Apart from ensuring maximum uptime and security of the sites, the infrastructure also needs to make sure that the individual websites are able to cope with any traffic spikes that occur as a result of marketing campaigns, tweets from the company founder or any other activity that drives a massive amount of international visitors to a particular URL.
Virgin Management Limited enjoys a hands-on approach from Pulsant with both the Account Manager and Support Team playing a vital role as part of the project team and spending time on the customer’s site. In addition, Pulsant is also involved in a lot of the day to day tasks, effectively acting as an extension of the Virgin Management Limited team. As a result, the Pulsant team has an excellent understanding of the business and its strategy and is perfectly poised to assist Virgin in defining and meeting its hosting requirements.