Delivering cloud-based hosting and infrastructure of new digital platform for world-leading V&A

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Preparation and scaling for unpredictable re-launch traffic of new V&A digital platform

  • Two-week turnaround to live platform re-launch
  • Reduced running costs for Ruby on Rails application, hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Infrastructure and support scaled and in place for online visitor growth

5,000

Page CMS supported

2

Weeks to live launch

Support and infrastructure for world-leading digital platform

Founded in 1852, V&A (the Victoria and Albert Museum) is the world's leading museum of art and design, with over 60,000 collection items on permanent display. Following the delivery of a new digital platform, their Digital Media team required a partner to ensure this remained live during the critical website re-launch phase, along with efficient, scalable cloud-based infrastructure and ongoing support for the future.

“The aim is for our website to bring the V&A to life online. With our new site ready for relaunch, it was time to invest in our digital infrastructure and support. Unboxed came highly recommended to us by our development partner.”

Kati Price, Head of Digital Media, V&A

Ruby on Rails application deployed to AWS for peak traffic levels

Our team began by deploying the application to AWS, ensuring accommodation for extra capacity at peak traffic levels. Meeting new levels of traffic demand was a key activity of preparation for V&A’s high profile relaunch. We evaluated a number of methods for the infrastructure build, selecting AWS CloudFormation to manage the AWS resource and CodeDeploy to co-ordinate application deployments.


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“It was critical to scale for the unknown with a relaunch of this size as traffic peaks can be unpredictable. By hosting on AWS, we are able to take advantage of the elastic usage model, saving project budget and running costs during times of lower traffic.”

Andrew White, CTO, Unboxed

Reducing the server load, automatically deploying

Cloudfront, a Content Delivery Network, was implemented, reducing the load of the system’s front-end Content Management System (CMS) servers. The CMS was then separated from the front-end, ensuring an extra layer of security, and S3 selected for the backup and recovery of media and catalogue uploads — vital for support of the 5,000-page CMS. Automatically deploying to a preview environment when merging pull requests reduced development time.

A supported and scalable digital platform successfully relaunched

With the relaunch of the V&A’s digital platform a success, we are now responsible for the ongoing infrastructure services and application support. Multiple servers behind Elastic Load Balancing now allow for zero downtime deploys and AWS autoscaling is used to reduce running costs during lower capacity periods. The V&A is now in a position to continue growing their digital presence.

“We met our target by having all necessary infrastructure in place to support the relaunch, as well as the ongoing support in place for our digital growth strategy, in just two weeks. With the new website now launched, it’s a very exciting time for the V&A.”

Kati Price, Head of Digital Media, V&A