Case studies How PointerBP found relief from maintenance in new partnership

How PointerBP found relief from maintenance in new partnership

Pointer Brand Protection

About Pointer Brand Protection

Pointer Brand Protection was founded in 2008 by three friends hired by a local law firm to scan an online marketplace for counterfeits. The team manually sifted through thousands of product listings to identify the biggest infringers and investigated the sellers by conducting test purchases and contacting them directly.

Eventually, they figure out the product inventories, estimated sales, and connections between user accounts across websites. This data was sent over to the law firm, which could then instigate legal action for the brand and take counterfeit products off the market.

After months of tedious manual investigation, they soon realized that this process could be done much more efficiently and effectively. That’s when Pointer’s brand protection software was born.

Our business is brand protection. We monitor the internet for intellectual property infringements and enforce against these on behalf of our customers. We do this on three primary fronts: e-commerce sites, websites, and social media platforms.

Each day our systems ingest large quantities of data. Our custom platform allows brand protection specialists with legal backgrounds to search through and filter the data to find the counterfeiting, and, once found, to enact the needed steps to remove it. Our primary platform is big data-esque. We collect, store, analyze, and manage a large, ever-growing amount of data. The data is then utilized in a smart, efficient manner to out-manoeuvre the criminal element we are in contest with.

Previous challenges

Through the years, we have managed our own infrastructure—buying servers, co-locating them, renting VPS’, and all of this maintained by our in-house development team.

Building and maintaining our infrastructure as a small but growing company was challenging while keeping our expenses in check was tantamount. Our developers are primarily PHP back-end programmers and managing infrastructure was a side-task. Whenever infrastructure needs arose, time spent managing servers would eat into our development capacity.

Furthermore, our previous solution was not scalable. We were not in a position to scale-up quickly, obtain high availability, and expand to multiple data centres. As we grew, we needed to find a partner who would provide the infrastructure layer so that we could focus on developing our services.

We undertook a rigorous search. We assessed hiring a local company to build and support our own private cluster, the leading European cloud providers, as well as the likes of Google and Amazon. In our search, UpCloud rose as the frontrunner with their clean, structured proposal process, competitive pricing, an established reputation, and similar in size and ambition to ourselves.

We did our homework, having calls with existing UpCloud customers, to learn that all were very satisfied with UpCloud. Everyone also said that when it comes to performance UpCloud is at the very top of their game.

Hosting on UpCloud

We crunch large amounts of data and were accustomed to the bare metal performance in our previous solution. It was important that the new solution would perform at least as well. I am happy to say that the UpCloud solution has been performing even better!

Our technology is the backbone of our business and infrastructure is the backbone of our technology. We wanted to make sure we were working with highly-skilled, available experts who could understand what we need and deliver it in a fast, efficient manner.

We were accustomed to running our infrastructure on a shoestring budget and sought a solution that shared our frugality. In our search, we did an apples-to-apples cost comparison of our previous solution to the alternatives being assessed. Only UpCloud was able to meet our needs at the same cost as our previous solution. Essentially, UpCloud allowed us to keep within our current infrastructure budget while taking over the infrastructure management layer.

We have migrated our core platform to the new solution. All of the technology-based processes needed to deliver brand protection services to our customers are running on UpCloud.

In practice, our data processing services are containerized and built upon a clustered group of multi-core servers all running MaxIOPS. We employ automation tools such as the UpCloud API and Terraform to provision and manage servers all of which are situated behind load-balancing and set up for high-availability.

Improvements

Throughout, we have been very impressed with the professionalism, knowledge and responsiveness of the UpCloud account management. We have no doubt that we made the right choice.

The UpCloud services are noticeably faster. When we migrated our platform to UpCloud, the increased responsiveness was obvious for our regular users. On the private cloud infrastructure, we do not need to worry about noisy neighbours while being able to commit to a set level of resources for an agreeable price.

In our previous setup, our development team had to spend valuable time managing the infrastructure layer. With UpCloud, we know that the hardware management is in trustworthy and experienced hands.

In the past, we were able to log support tickets when things were going wrong, but had very little in terms of account support. With UpCloud, we have significantly more access to the account managers. The account managers are very knowledgeable, solution-focused, and responsive. It feels like much more of a partnership than with any previous provider.

Future plans

As our business grows, we intend to go to a multi-data centre solution. UpCloud provides the infrastructure and support to make this happen. We are also planning to implement automatic scaling going forward.

We would like to see UpCloud provide additional features such as object storage, software-defined networks and a load balancer service. For the moment, we are using custom-built software load balancers.

Learn more about high-availability with HAProxy in the guide below.

How to install HAProxy load balancer on Ubuntu

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.