Digitalist Sweden's (previous Wunderkraut) mission is to improve the business of their customers with digital tools, providing end-to-end digital services from developing strategy, providing consultancy and training to service design, development and support. They have 150 staff across 9 countries serving some of Europe’s best-known brands and forward-thinking governments, and their solid processes, business focus and great communications are as important as their technical knowledge in making these projects a success.
Some of the best available digital tools they use include Agile business development methods, agile project management and open source software. What makes them different though is their consultative, collaborative approach. They use their experience to help their clients define the right questions before starting work on the answers, building a clear strategy with them. They work in long term, highly collaborative relationships with their customers, forming ‘one team’ that operates in a borderless way across the organisations. Their agile approach means that they meet the deadlines, stay within the budget and reach the goals of a project — three things that are sadly rare in digital projects. Their customer testimonials show our repeated success at this.
What is Digitalist?
Digitalist is a leading European web agency focusing on bringing value to online investments through agile development and open source technologies.
We help companies with the 4 stages of a website lifecycle.
- Simplified: Motivate, Prepare, Develop & Improve your site.
- To do this with a high amount of quality and a fast time to market we offer hosting for our clients.
Drupal is a very mature, secure and flexible framework for building and continually improving online businesses. Drupal is Open Source which means that its free to use and to change.
Who are the people behind the project?
Wunderkraut is an entrepreneurial driven company and all owners also work as employees in the company. We have a strong focus on Agile methodologies and we also have a strong belief in Open Source software.
Who were you previously hosted with and what was the challenge?
We have worked with most types of vendors like local ISP´s, Larger IT infrastructure vendors, Inhouse IT Departments and Cloud solutions like Amazon and Linode.
The main challenge is always the lack of understanding of the process behind taking care of a site. Therefore we have moved most of our stuff to the cloud before we found Elastx.
The worst case is always the internal IT departments where people think that they are saving money since they already have the hardware and the resources. It always ends up in costly and complicated processes and results in expensive workarounds. That often leads to bad performance and low levels of security.
ELASTX Jelastic PaaS are now powering many of Digitalist's client sites. What notable improvements have you seen?
The key benefits for us:
- Real and competent people behind the product
Can you share a typical environment set-up with us?
We have a LAMP stack adopted to Drupal with:
- Nginx(proxy cache and load balancer),
We are also working on a Jetty container to support horizontal scaling of Apache Solr. (today we use a reserved instance)
How many hours/resources have you saved each day since adopting the platform?
We have seen a 50% reduction of build times on our development server, since it scales its resources when they are needed. We get the performance when we need it!
We can also limit the number of build environments since one environment can scale when it’s needed. Before, we had to have a lot of instances just to distribute the load on peak hours. That meant more costs in terms of instances, but it also meant that we had to spend more time on managing the environments.
How has the support been compared to previous providers?
The simple answer: A lot better! ELASTX are really dedicated and you really get attention when you need it. They also have been able to provide us with knowledge on a deeper level that we haven’t found in any other company we worked with.
Why does Drupal perform so well when it’s powered by ELASTX Jelastic PaaS?
Drupal is built on PHP. That means that under a heavy load and when your caches are cold you are really dependent on CPU. There are many ways to cache things in Drupal and therefore you work with several components to support this. (Opcode caches, Memcache, Database caches etc)
Drupal’s flexibility and every sites’ unique set of requirement means that every site has their own kind of characteristics in terms of resource usage. The standard solution so far has been to throw enough resources on a “box” and hope that it works. With ELASTX you don’t have to worry about this, it will scale where and when its needed. Of course, you will have to watch out for components that use a lot of resources (since it costs more), but its a lot better to do that than trying to solve a problem while your site is down.
Any plans to move other Digitalist clients to the platform?
Yes, we plan to move as many sites as possible to ELASTX cloud platform. We still have to improve some things in our platform to really support all clients. It’s easier and more fun to maintain and all our clients using it are so happy over the increased performance!
Lastly, what new features would you like to see on our platform?
A performance shared file system solution. It would also be nice to control the local firewalls (to support communication between our management servers and our instances).