Guaranteed uptime during exam time

Institute and Faculty of Actuaries

Ixis provide the ongoing Drupal support, maintenance and hosting for London based Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. The custom hosted solution needed to be able to scale and withstand several large spikes each year when the actuarial exam results are published. During these 2 hour windows thousands of actuaries would eagerly check for their results causing thousands of concurrent connections.

To achieve this we provided a load balanced solution with multiple layers of caching alongside additional servers needed for the functionality of the site. Technology highlights include:

  • High availability clusters using hardware Cisco load balancers and DRBD as a distributed storage system
  • Varnish for high performance HTTP acceleration and the Pressflow distribution of Drupal to support reverse proxy caching / optimise for MySQL & PHP5
  • Apache Solr to provide enterprise search capabilities and Apache Tika for extracting various data from attachments
  • Various optimisations to support a large scheduled import process for membership synchronisation
  • Integration of specific media types with the Rackspace content delivery network (CDN)

The benefit of Ixis supporting both the usual LAMP stack, alongside Drupal and any associated services has allowed us to be become a single point of contact for any site related issues. We don't believe in passing the buck with the offering allowing us to go way beyond even what a traditional managed hosted company would provide and support the full Drupal stack, from the architecture level all the way through to supporting custom Drupal modules. For more information see our Drupal hosting and Drupal support.

IXIS give us peace of mind with the quality of the web support they provide to us. Their excellent technical knowledge has optimised our website to respond to hundreds of students accessing their exam results within the same 30 second period! And as a bonus, IXIS staff are lovely people to work with.

Elizabeth Kerr
IT Procurement Manager

Since the initial contract Ixis have also been commissioned to provide additional consultancy and support for a staging environment and for developing bespoke Drupal modules.

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