05:10 PM
Connect Directly
Repost This

Cloud Success Stories

Six Flags and Yelp reveal how they've made the public cloud work for their businesses.

InformationWeek Green - Feb. 6, 2012 InformationWeek Green
Download the entire Feb. 6, 2012 issue of InformationWeek, distributed in an all-digital format as part of our Green Initiative
(Registration required.)
We will plant a tree for each of the first 5,000 downloads.

Where Cloud works

Lots of IT organizations are taking a hard look at public cloud services. Two cloud users, Six Flags Entertainment and Yelp, gave us a look at problems they're facing adopting these services and the value they're getting from them.

Picking the right service for your business need is a process loaded with pitfalls. For example, will your public cloud provider's data service match the needs of your application? Will your provider have enough network bandwidth to guarantee quality service, or will it fluctuate widely when other users' activities hog the bandwidth?

Consider how Six Flags Entertainment is using cloud services. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of its Six Flags Over Texas park this year, the company cut the online ticket price, announcing on its blog: "Yup, less than $20 will get you into the park's first weekend." (The usual online admission price is $40.) To get this price, customers had to buy their tickets on the Six Flags website. Both the blog and the website are hosted on Rackspace's pub- lic cloud service, where Six Flags uses servers shared with other Rackspace customers, pays based on usage, and can quickly add capacity to meet demand.

Prior to using Rackspace's cloud service, a promotion like this would have required expensive newspaper, radio, and TV advertising. Six Flags runs 19 theme parks across the country that more than 25 million people visit a year, and it makes extensive use of the Rackspace public cloud service. Besides its website and WordPress blogging, Six Flags hosts three Facebook applications, email marketing campaigns, and other "public" information there.

Rackspace's public cloud has a multitenant infrastructure where customers pay by the hour. The cloud "has the flexibility to be fired up quickly," says Sean Andersen, director of Six Flags' interactive services. It's easy to change things and bring in partners, he adds.

What Works In The Cloud

The company also uses Rackspace's equipment dedicated to Six Flags' use, because it considers that more auditable, private, and secure. Transactions, including ticket sales, accounting, and back-office systems, as well as analysis of sensitive business data, are kept at Six Flags' own data center in Grand Prairie, Texas. Data that must be audited to meet compliance requirements and information that's deemed sensitive to the $976 million-a-year public company's business are kept out of the multitenant public cloud and held either on its dedicated servers at Rackspace or in its Grand Prairie data center.

To read the rest of the article,
Download the Feb. 6, 2012 issue of InformationWeek

The Cloud You Didn't Know You Had

Our full 2012 State Of Cloud Computing report is free with registration.

This report includes 29 pages of action-oriented analysis, packed with 20 charts. What you'll find:
  • All cloud all the time? Check out our cost and ROI analysis
  • Ratings of nine inhibitors to cloud adoption
Get This And All Our Reports

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Agile Archive
The Agile Archive
When it comes to managing data, donít look at backup and archiving systems as burdens and cost centers. A well-designed archive can enhance data protection and restores, ease search and e-discovery efforts, and save money by intelligently moving data from expensive primary storage systems.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 - 2014
Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators.
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.