Comic Relief

Armakuni && Pivotal - Perfect Partners

For the 6th year in a row Armakuni built and deployed the Comic Relief donation platform, this year using platforms deployed, scaled and secured by Pivotal!

The platform, as it has done every year, collected every donation it was asked to and enabled Sport Relief to keep it's promise to help people live happier, healthier, safer lives!

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Continuously delivering continuous delivery

(A talk given at London Continuous Delivery meetup group, July 2017 - Continuous Delivery and Platforms / PaaS - meetup.com/London-Continuous-Delivery/events/240687132/)

The rise and acceptance of Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a key tool in accelerating the journey to continuous delivery of your apps into production with the regularity your business requires. However, all too often the deployment and maintenance of the platforms themselves are dogged with the practices and delays that the CD of apps are all too familiar.

This session will serve as both an introduction and overview of the power of PaaS platforms, in this case Pivotal Cloud Foundry, with a selection of both application and platform case studies, continuously deployed all the way to production, in business critical and highly regulated environments.

Whether you're dealing with apps or globally distributed platforms, we hope to demonstrate that small batch sizes and continuous deployment are not only achievable but essential; no more 2am releases, no more working the weekends during "maintenance windows"

Red Nose Day at Scale — Google Next 2017

Each year, Comic Relief raises tens of millions of pounds to fight poverty. A significant proportion of this is received electronically over the 7 hours of primetime television coverage. A few minutes of downtime during this period could mean missing out on millions of pounds to help those that need it most. In this panel discussion from Google Next London 2017, speakers from Comic Relief, Pivotal and Armakuni share their experiences of building, scaling and running a mission-critical multi-cloud solution on Pivotal Cloud Foundry and Google Cloud Platform.

Speakers: 
Zenon Hannick, CTO, Comic Relief
Tim Savage, Director, Armakuni
David Laing, Engineering Director, Pivotal
Tom Grey, UK Head of Customer Engineering, Google;

Armakuni partner with IBM Cloud to help Comic Relief

Armakuni taps IBM Cloud to help Comic Relief achieve transaction perfection

Imagine organizing a huge televised donation event like Red Nose Day, where you need to handle hundreds of credit card transactions every second, and it must work perfectly.

That’s exactly why the charity organization Comic Relief turned to the folks at Armakuni to ensure that its donation platform would never fail during these critical moments. Launched in 2012, Armakuni is a software development company specializing in full stack build, delivering everything from infrastructure to code. And now, they’re using IBM cloud technology to deliver the best possible solutions for their clients.

Before Armakuni stepped in, Comic Relief’s donation platform struggled to handle large donation events.

“They would see these large spikes in traffic, more than 250 donations per second, and that only happens once a year,” Armakuni director Ben Dodd says. “That extreme spike of traffic generally lasts all of 15, 20 minutes. But if the platform fails, those people will not come and donate again.”
Like many businesses and organizations today, Comic Relief’s aging platform had been built for the previous decade’s technical landscape. Software and hardware were heavily siloed, and changes were slow and costly. Testing the platform to see how it would handle the night of a televised event was a three-month process. A drastic overhaul was desperately needed. But charities traditionally don’t have a ton of room in the budget to spend on IT. On the other hand, they can’t afford to lose donations as a result of a failing platform.

It was time to bring in Armakuni, which knew exactly what the organization needed. Armakuni got to work building a new donation platform using Cloud Foundry, and for a while it was delivering it on its own, which can be an intensive process. Recently, after realizing the need to move to a more established, reliable, hosted Cloud Foundry, Armakuni migrated onto IBM Bluemix.

“Bluemix is probably the best Cloud Foundry provider in terms of the working solutions, the support, and reputation,” Dodd says.

So, what does the Comic Relief donation platform look like today? Armakuni delivered the platform in a fast-feedback development environment as well as a Bluemix-enabled architecture that drives experimentation and innovation. Perhaps most importantly, there is now a reliable deployment and testing strategy, which allows developers to perform zero-downtime deployments during event peaks.

“As the first project at Comic Relief to use continuous delivery, it revolutionized our approach and defined the blueprint for all other technology projects,” Comic Relief CTO Zenon Hannick says.

Comic Relief has renewed confidence in its donations platform and its ability to perform during nationally televised campaigns like the UK’s Red Nose Day. The charity can now handle more than 400 credit card transactions per second and has shrunk the project staffing from 50 to just four members, a reduction of 92%.

“We find ourselves able to focus on developing innovative campaigns safe in the knowledge technology will not be a limiting factor,” Hannick says.

Without the need for dozens of people to maintain and look after a clumsy IT infrastructure, Comic Relief can go back to doing what it does best—delivering world-class fundraising events that change and save lives.