AWS Case Study: Acquia
Acquia provides a wide variety of commercial products, services, and support that help organizations build and manage Websites on the Drupal open source social publishing platform. Acquia’s primary offerings include Acquia Drupal, which is a free distribution of key Drupal community modules to expand upon the basic install, and the subscription-based Acquia Network, which includes expert support and Website management tools. Acquia also provides cloud-based hosting for Drupal Websites, remote site administration, and professional training. The company is based in Woburn, Massachusetts, and is currently employing approximately 90 individuals.
Why Amazon Web Services
Acquia is using Amazon Web Services (AWS) to host its own infrastructure and to host its customers’ Drupal Websites. Acquia is currently utilizing Amazon’s resizable computing service Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for Web-based data storage and retrieval. The Acquia developers are using PHP and Ruby within AWS, in addition to several of the Amazon command line tools. Presently, Acquia has over 350 individual server instances on AWS.
One of Acquia’s well-known customers is the New York State Senate. The Senate recently transformed its online presence from an incongruent collection of static Websites, into a consistent and interactive Drupal Website with associated micro-sites for individual Senators. The CIO of the Senate’s new Website, Andrew Hoppin, asked Acquia to assist him in ensuring the Website’s reliability and to offer technical support for the Drupal platform.
Another prominent Acquia customer is the nonprofit news organization Mother Jones. The news organization’s previous website was not keeping pace with the amount and variety of its content, nor was the Website able to adequately engage with readers. Mother Jones decided to reinvent its website with Drupal and turned to Acquia for hosting, support, and remote administration services. In addition, one of Acquia’s primary responsibilities for Mother Jones is to use its monitoring tools to prevent problems before they occur in order to negate downtime and performance issues on the Website.
Robert Wise, the Systems Administrator for Mother Jones, says, “Thankfully, Acquia has diagnosed the systemic problems with the site, and we’re making good progress toward stable operations. We can better focus on our original vision – adding new features and functionality that will improve both the user experience on our site, and how Mother Jones content is made available across the internet. I’m happy to report that working with Acquia’s help, we’re fulfilling the goals we set out to fulfill.” Together with AWS, Acquia is successfully hosting and monitoring the Mother Jones Website, which averages more than 2 million page views every month.
Both Acquia and its customers are benefiting from the financial flexibility, service customization, and promptness of AWS. Dries Buytaert, Drupal project lead and founder and Acquia CTO says, “Acquia chose AWS because it was the fastest way to get a new hosting service to market. It also saves us the cost of adding staff specialists on networking and infrastructure build out. Customers love our ability to quickly scale their sites using the elastic scalability of AWS and to quickly create clone sites for load testing.”
To learn more about how AWS can help run your websites in the cloud, visit: http://aws.amazon.com/websites/.