Case Studies

Manheim Europe | Dealer Auction Ltd. Dealer Auction Ltd. is an award winning trade only online auction house selling cars solely from franchised main dealers. They are a subsidiary company of Manheim Europe Ltd. and handle over 5000 car sales each month.

What Dealer Auction said...

"We have worked with Optinium for a number of years. They are extremely knowledgeable and operate in a highly professional manner. They have always been responsive to our needs and the service has been excellent throughout.

Our working relationship has been enjoyable and productive and I would not hesitate to recommend them to other companies.”

Gavin Smith, Managing Director - Dealer Auction Gavin Smith
Managing Director - Dealer Auction Ltd.

The Problem

Dealer Auction had seen strong initial growth but had no internal IT department. With their exisiting hosting provider they had encountered a number of issues and had not received the support which they needed. Due to their expansion, the website was starting to show performance issues. Their website ran live auctions and so needed high availability and fast load times. They needed a totally managed, scalable model with high levels of redundancy to cement the foundations for their online presence.

The Solution

After some discussion with Dealer Auction about their specific needs, we decided on a dual Hybrid Server setup. Two dedicated servers each running a separate virtual machine which was replicated over to the other dedicated server whilst receiving that server's replicated machine. User sessions were balanced between web servers on the two virtual machines to alleviate stresses on the platform. The virtual machines were also replicated over to another datacentre in France for total geographic redundancy. Everything would sit behind our managed hardware and software firewalls with VPN access provided to Dealer Auction's developers.

Dealer Auction Server Setup Diagram

In the event of a hardware failure, one server would be still able to handle the site's traffic with minimal disruption of service. The benefits of running the website on virtual machines are twofold:
  • Scalability - virtual servers are no longer tied to the underlying physical hardware. Increasing disk space or migrating over to another physical server can be performed in a matter of minutes. This enables the virtual machine to scale alongside your business. Choosing to virtualise from the outset makes life considerably simpler in the long run.

  • Backups & Migration - the entire virtual machines can be easily replicated over to multiple remote destinations. Backups can then be taken using any standard backup utility and since the whole machine is backed up, reinstating it as a live server can be done much more quickly than if it were running as a traditional dedicated server.
It is worth talking a little more about the multiple levels of hardware redundancy in Dealer Auction's model. Each dedicated server is located in a physically diverse part of the datacentre and each is connected to a completely independent UPS system. If a power fault arises at least one server will remain online. The virtual machines are live mirrored to a remote datacentre in France, completely external to our own network. These live backups are constantly kept up to date and in the unlikely event of a catastrophic failure at the datacentre, can be running within minutes.

Although we have our own redundant name servers, to facilitate Dealer Auction's requirement for datacentre redundancy we used Amazon's Route 53 DNS service. Amazon's global network of DNS servers provides latency based routing and extremely rapid DNS failover systems.

Finally, we managed the entire setup for them. With no IT department, Dealer Auction wanted to focus on running their business with the hosting side taken care of. We liaised with their developer and responded to technical problems rapidly to maintain the high availability and quality of service their website needed. The entire infrastructure and application is monitored 24/7 by our NOC.

Solution Summary

This is a model which we would recommend to any customer requiring high availability and a rock solid platform on which to build their business. You can read more about some of the benefits of this scalable model by clicking the links below. Alternatively, feel free to contact us to talk about the best solution for your own needs.
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