Natural Insight

Summary

Natural Insight is a hosted/SaaS task management solution for merchandisers and retailers. As their business grew, so did their need for a fault-tolerant server load balancing solution that was both flexible and scalable. HOSTING and Natural Insight worked together to develop the right dedicated solution at the right price point for optimal growth.

Key Terms

Newark Datacenter – multi-server environment – Coyote Point Load Balancers –
Dedicated platform – high availability servers –
SSL offloading – sticky sessions

“We knew where we needed to go—we rely on HOSTING to be the expert. We throw things over the fence and they come back with the solution. This means we focus on doing software and they focus on the hardware.” 

Paul Carney,
VP Technical Services</>


“The Support Team has been excellent; they understood our customized environment, knew our servers and setup. When we migrated from Windows to Linux in a 6 week period, HOSTING assigned a high-level support person to be online or on a call every day. That was phenomenal.” 

Eric Pfleckl,
Director of Technical Services

Load Balancing Offers Scalable, Secure Growth for SaaS Provider

Background

Natural Insight is a hosted/SaaS task management solution for merchandisers and retailers. This web-based platform offers extensive tools for workforce communication and remote data collection, and brings “execution intelligence” to business organizations, which helps them reduce costs, accelerate speed to market and maximize performance. With Natural Insight, clients do not install software or do extensive programming—with the SaaS model, they can be up and running in less than 30 days.

Natural Insight relies on their IT infrastructure to help manage over 47 million survey questions, year to date, from 450,000 web surveys/tasks. In addition, Natural Insight captures over 30,000 images a month. In addition to all this data, customers are also running report queries, creating task assignments, task acceptances, or other communications within the platform.

As the client base expanded, there was a clear need for redundant, dedicated load balancers that would permit smart management of growing traffic while offering scalability to meet future needs—economically.

Challenge

Natural Insight’s application requires strict session persistence in order to meet client security requirements. Individual user sessions are identified by HTTP cookies, and a single session must be allowed to persist across both HTTP and HTTPS requests. As a result, in order to effectively load balance this application they required a server load balancing solution that supported SSL termination so that both clear-text and encrypted sessions could be correctly identified and switched to the correct server.

Solution

HOSTING had the perfect  Load Balancing solution for Natural Insight – the Coyote Point Equalizer. Coyote Point was selected due to its aggressive price point, product maturity and rich array of features. The solution proved to be an ideal fit for Natural Insight’s application.

“Coyote Point has been a great partner to work with. Their Equalizer platform allows us to deliver a feature-rich server load balancing solution at a fraction of the cost of their competition,” said Darrell Hyde, Director of Network and Security Engineering for HOSTING.

Since that time, traffic on the Natural Insights servers has doubled. Now averaging over 50,000 unique users a month, they have grown from a few hundred users a month to this 50,000 mark in just 4 years. The HOSTING solution offerings were a major factor in their ability to grow and service their clients’ needs.

Results

According to Paul Carney, Natural Insight’s VP of Technical Services, HOSTING helped them understand the many available options during this high growth time. “We were hitting the edge threshold of the shared load balanced solution. 500 concurrent connections is the shared, load balanced maximum and we were reaching over 1000. With current and planned growth we knew we needed a dedicated solution, and HOSTING worked with us to build the right one.” Along the way, remarked Carney, “HOSTING is always doing the right things.”

“HOSTING has provided us with a high level of service that enables us to provide fantastic consistent, reliable and secure service to our clients. We started with two dedicated servers 4 years ago and now process millions of pieces of data, images and PDFs each month. The HOSTING team has been invaluable in guiding us not only in the best solutions to meet our growing needs, but also provided the implementation steps to migrate from one platform to the next with minimal interruption.”