Case Study
Rallyup raises 6.75 million with zero down time

Background is an all-in-one fundraising platform for charitable organizations that began with a single vision: to make fundraising easier for organizations of every kind. From fundraising to data management, RallyUp helps nonprofit organizations execute all aspects of their campaigns to address the next-generation of donor-involved giving.

The Challenge

Build new infrastructure to support of Rallyup's platform during a one-week give-away promotion with Nike and Michael J. Fox foundation for Parkinson's Research for the Nike Mag "Back to the Future" self-lacing shoe. Challenges of this high-traffic short-term event included:

  • Prepare infrastructure to scale to a significantly high unpredictable traffic spike
  • The availability SLA expectations were 100% (Zero downtime)
  • Application servers needed to be rapidly updatable with new code revisions
  • Security was key requirement because high profile product launches are prime targets for malicious actors
  • Duplicate environments required to support internal Nike employee campaign and public campaign

The Solution

Sturdy created a self-healing environment that scaled up and down based on end user demand. This was achieved by designing & building the environments using infrastructure-as-code concepts, allowing for auditing, rapid deployments, and multiple identical environments for development and testing activities. The architecture followed AWS Well Architected Framework guidelines including:

  • AWS CloudFormation stacks for each part of the environment (including VPC, RDS, ELB, Auto Scaling groups, CloudFront, WAF, CloudWatch)
  • Application and server automation using Chef & Inspec
  • Client traffic encryption via ELB/CloudFront & ACM
  • Coordinated load tests to determine instance/database right-sizing
  • CloudWatch alarms for application health monitoring
  • DDoS mitigation via CloudWatch, Lambda, CloudFront, & WAF

To provide the infrastructure for these applications, the solution uses various foundational AWS services such as – Amazon VPC, Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, AWS Route 53, Amazon RDS, AWS CloudWatch, AWS CloudTrail, and AWS Lambda, AWS Identity & Access Management. Sturdy engaged with the customer and completed the analysis (discovery), design, and build phase in X-man days. The testing cycles, configuration tuning, and production rollout took additional y-man days.

The Result

The Drawing for the Nike Mag raised $6.75 million for The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. 100% of the proceeds will go to high-impact programs to accelerate a cure for Parkinson's disease. The infrastructure elastically scaled to serve over 2 million users and hundreds of thousands of entries over the week, with nearly half of the traffic on the first day. The Sturdy/AWS solution achieved the following:

  • Zero down time
  • Increased service uptime and reliability by orders of magnitude
  • Significantly reduced the number of late-night alerts to engineers
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