Case studies How Barabra took control of their cloud hosting solution

How Barabra took control of their cloud hosting solution

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About Barabra

Barabra is a digital agency. We create and produce digital marketing solutions from ideas to results. We combine creative and business-oriented thinking with our solid technical skills. The result is an honest and productive partnership with our clients. We live and breathe digital, but think omnichannel.

Barabra is a part of Heku Group, a full-scale marketing agency with a wide variety of services ranging from print & digital design and concepting to film and video production.

We were looking for cost-effective solutions to run a variety of different web projects including campaign sites and company websites. UpCloud turned up in a list of potential candidates.

Previous challenges

As digital campaigns usually have a fixed lifespan, the campaign hosting options need to reflect this. Previously, we generally used preconfigured virtual servers that hosted multiple campaigns simultaneously on the same server but had no options to scale the servers ourselves. That meant the servers were regularly over-provisioned to be able to handle the occasional traffic spikes from popular campaigns. As multiple campaigns were hosted on shared server instances, any downtime also affected multiple campaigns.

We required a certain degree of flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Preferably a single provider that suits most of our use-cases while giving us a full access to our servers. Data centre location was also an important factor for many of our clients. Having one in Europe was a specific requirement, preferably in Finland.

Hosting on UpCloud

We use Linux-based server instances and utilize the automatic scheduled backups that UpCloud also provides. The snapshot feature has proven to be a useful tool as well. It’s an easy and fast way to store a quick snapshot before making big changes to the existing configuration, for example.

We generally use our own server templates that we manage ourselves. Most projects are deployed on their own dedicated cloud servers. In some cases we simply clone an existing server, depending on the project. As we run a large number of servers, UpCloud’s tagging feature comes in handy to filter servers according to clients. Mass operations also allow us, for example, to reboot all development servers simultaneously to save time.

Improvements

We’re able to adapt to different situations much better than before thanks to being in full control of our software stack. Having the ability to activate and deactivate instances on-demand has proven very useful when dealing with campaigns. It’s easy to shut down a server once a campaign ends, while retaining all data, and restart it again if the campaign is repeated at a later date.

Scaling the server is now a much quicker process. We’re also able to scale on our own without suffering from lengthy periods of downtime. This means we’re better suited to unexpected traffic. Moving to the on-demand model has helped us to control costs as well. We’re now able to shut down instances when necessary without the need to cancel hosting plans separately.

Future plans

We are looking into working with the UpCloud API and have started a project in that area. Our goal is to be able to manage our instances more efficiently with Ansible.

Usage reports are something that we feel could benefit from additional detail, especially regarding costs per single server instance.

Find out more about creating custom templates in the guide below.

How to Create Custom Templates with Packer

Locations

Helsinki (HQ)

In the capital city of Finland, you will find our headquarters, and our first data centre. This is where we handle most of our development and innovation.

London

London was our second office to open, and a important step in introducing UpCloud to the world. Here our amazing staff can help you with both sales and support, in addition to host tons of interesting meetups.

Seattle

Seattle is our 4th and latest office to be opened, and our way to reach out across the pond to our many users in the Americas.

Singapore

Singapore was our 3rd office to be opened, and enjoys one of most engaged and fastest growing user bases we have ever seen.