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 hours windows thousands of actuaries would eagerly check for their results causing a large amount of concurrent users. 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
- 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, the offering allows us to go way beyond even what a traditional managed hosted company would do and support the full Drupal stack, from the architecture level all the way through to support custom Drupal modules.