Rated People

RatedPeople.com is the UK’s largest online trade recommendation service. It was founded in 2005 with the mission of connecting homeowners with the best local tradesmen. The infrastructure that RatedPeople.com had in place was stored in several locations, and was limiting business growth because it was becoming old, and difficult and expensive to maintain. RatedPeople.com wanted to migrate to Amazon Web Services in order to leverage the increased stability, high availability and enhanced deployment capability that it offers. They also hoped to increase the resilience of their infrastructure and develop a more sophisticated disaster recovery strategy.

“After analysing our infrastructure and development resource spend, it became clear that we had been spending too much time firefighting aged bare metal infrastructure and release processes. This was holding back our ability to release our code quickly and safely. We knew we wanted to virtualise our infrastructure as code, on a platform that could meet our needs for reliability and rapid growth.

I approached Cloudreach with a very tight deadline, and they helped us turbocharge our move to AWS, and in particular ECS. We completed a project previously planned over 5 months in just 6 weeks. Since making the move to AWS, we now release singular codebases in a blue green deployment from CI in minutes, rather than complex interdependent hour long deployments”

Evan Morgan CTO

The Challenge

There were tight deadlines for the migration, and only 6 weeks in which to plan and migrate the website, blog and all supporting applications for RatedPeople.com. The project required a drastic change in how server configuration was approached at Ratedpeople.com: every existing server became a docker container with its particular configuration placed under version control.

The Solution

RatedPeople.com knew that Cloudreach had completed similar work successfully in the past, and reached out for a consultation. They selected AWS to benefit from advantages such as high availability and scale, and in order to move away from their end-of-life hosted hardware. The move to Docker containers and Amazon ECS was motivated by their ease of deployment, flexibility and portability.

Cloudreach:

  • Advised and aided Ratedpeople.com in re-architecting and modernising the infrastructure and sections of the application according to best practices for AWS deployments.
  • Provided and Developed a number of AWS CloudFormation templates to allow for repeatability when deploying different environments (e.g., Pre-prod, dev).
  • Deployed Docker containers into AWS’s EC2 Container Service, a centralised, scalable and fast container management service.
  • Helped redefine the existing Continuous Deployment process to use AWS ECS and Auto-Scaling.
  • Up-skilled their internal team on Docker and AWS technologies.
  • Advised on how to approach and manage some aspects of cloud governance, such as backups and disaster response, in the post-migration phase.

The Partnership

We were able to deliver the project quickly and with a small team because of our deep knowledge of AWS. We acted as a connecting agent between the RatedPeople.com development and operations teams. During the course of the project we undertook spontaneous re-architecture in line with evolving requirements. As the project progressed, we worked with the RatedPeople.com development team so they would be able to deploy autonomously post go-live date.

The Outcome

  • RatedPeople.com improved the availability, elasticity and reliability of their whole platform, and were able to deploy a lot more often and more easily.
  • In December 2015 and January 2016 they released over 70 times, more than the other 11 months of 2015 combined.
  • Their average server side response times have been reduced by 50%.
  • The training and templates Cloudreach provided during the course of the project allowed RatedPeople.com to up-skill very quickly, and deploy new environments autonomously once the project was complete.

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