Alertacall build ingenious contact technology, using Rancher to manage containers across sites and push new features faster.
Alertacall is a fast-growing business used by social housing providers, local authorities, and private customers throughout the UK. Services include Housing Proactive, a cloud-based platform for social housing providers to manage properties and communicate with residents, and CareStamp, which helps families determine whether a care worker has arrived to an appointment on time. Alertacall’s core product, OkEachDay, enables users to confirm their well-being from the comfort of their own home, with a single button.
High availability requirements for an influx of sensitive data
Alertacall receives tens of thousands of individual signals each day, and this sensitive data must be secure yet available around the clock. By analyzing these signals, Alertacall is able to understand a customer’s habits and behaviors, their engagement with the service and most importantly, if their behavior changes. As their customer base continued to grow, the company began aggregating large amounts of data at a quick pace, placing a strain on their IT infrastructure.
“Product adoption has been growing rapidly, and with that the demands on our IT infrastructure has increased as well,” said Phil Powell, CTO of Alertacall. “With the work that we do, it’s simply not an option to have downtime, and I knew we needed a solution that would scale with us, allowing Alertacall to remain an agile, fast and responsive. That’s when we started looking into containerization.”
Managing containers across multiple sites
Powell and his team started experimenting with Docker, but had a few reservations. “At the time, we were concerned about scheduling and deploying containers, but in return also worried about needing to introduce loads of DevOps requirements to our team members,” explained Powell.
Given the high availability requirements for the company, Alertacall hosts their services and products across various locations and providers; while a portion resides in the cloud, much is housed on their own services within multiple datacenters in the UK. “Rancher provides us with the ability to seamlessly manage our containers and services across multiple sites, locations, and providers.”
Scaling services while shortening time to market
When moving to Docker, Alertacall also ran into challenges scaling their services, with service discovery, and with monitoring. Handling these issues, explained Powell, could have taken weeks, if not months, of man-hours from his staff.
“Rancher solved these problems right away,” said Powell. “Their ability to streamline these processes has increased productivity and decreased time spent on projects. Rancher has allowed us to bring new features to market quickly, as we can now have an idea for a great feature, work on it, and have it deployed the same day.”
In addition to easing container management, Alertacall uses Rancher to train new developers. “I can get a developer who is new to Rancher and containerization up to speed quickly. Rancher’s simplicity makes it incredibly fast to onboard,” says Powell.
Delivering Innovative Technology
“We love Rancher because it fits into our culture of innovation, and our belief in open-source technology,” says Powell. “It allows us to focus on what’s important, which is developing and fostering products and services which are innovative and do social good.”
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