Case study

Amnesty International (UK Section) Charitable Trust is one of 69 national entities in the Amnesty International movement. Founded in 1961 in London, its headquarters are still there to this day.

Amnesty’s unique strength lies in the fact that they are a true global movement of people. They have 7 million members across the world, more than half a million of whom are in the UK. It is those people who give Amnesty their power, in terms of numbers and in terms of the breadth and depth of their actions.

Amnesty International UK is dedicated to protecting individuals wherever justice, fairness, freedom and truth are denied. They raise awareness and educate people, and they shape and deliver a more effective global movement. One of the main channels to achieve these goals is their website. Until 2015, the Amnesty International UK website was hosted by a local service provider. As the previous website lacked the necessary bandwidth, uptime, scalability, stability and security, the organisation decided to move their website to a more reliable partner.

The Challenge

  • A stable, efficient, scalable and secure website with maximum uptime
  • An increased likelihood of cyberattacks due to their area of activities
  • Uneven load of traffic because of irregular campaigns
  • For a charity, cost efficiency is one of their top priorities
  • The new service provider must provide not only the migration of the website but also continuous monitoring and management of the service after the migration.

The Solution

ADM Cloudtech designed a new scalable web architecture based on Amazon Web Services cloud services. The solution is based on different AWS components that provide enough scalability, security and uptime.

The web application is hosted in Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances that provides a secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. The application is further distributed over three Availability Zones. For automatic scalability, we used EC2 Auto Scaling Groups.

For database solutions, we used the Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) that makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud.

To provide the best scalability, reliability and cost efficiency, photos, videos, files and parts of the system cache are hosted in the Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).

For the best accessibility and highest performance, we decided to direct all traffic through AWS CloudFront Infrastructure that uses a global network of 187 Points of Presence. This helps Amnesty International UK to deal with spikes in traffic during peak periods like campaigns.

For the highest security with excellent cost efficiency, we combined the AWS CloudFront Infrastructure with the AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF) which protects web applications from common web exploits, including DDoS attacks.

We also created a separate AWS infrastructure for testing developments.

The Timeline

  • 2014Mapping the challenges and problems.

  • Mar-Jun 2015Designing the new architecture.

  • Jun-Oct 2015Implementing the architecture, setting up AWS services and tools.

  • Oct 2015Testing the solution.

  • Nov-Dec 2015Preparations for going live.

  • Dec 2015Final migration of the software and data to AWS.

  • Jan 2016The solution is live.

The Team

To provide fast implementation, we formed a professional team comprising of a cloud services architect, a system administrator, a software architect, back-end developers, testers, a project manager, and a client manager.

Customer quote

"Thanks to ADM’s careful management of the migration process and skilled architecture of our hosting environment has saved us time and money. Less staff time is wasted on resolving problems at the same time that our hosting costs went down by 30%. We have also saved money on development costs and sped up the time it takes to deploy new functionality. Our website is now significantly faster than it was before, but most importantly we can scale up allowing hundreds of thousands of people to fight the human rights at a moment’s notice. It also provides us with the stable base to build ambitious web applications that weren’t possible before."

Mr. Sam Strudwick, Head of Communications and Engagement at Amnesty International UK

The Benefits

AWS provides the industry’s best uptime which means better content availability. Compared to the previous solution, the new AWS-based solution provides 100% of total uptime (previously 98,56%); zero days of downtime (previously 3 days in 6 months); zero outages (previously 712 in 6 months); and a better average page response time (0.12 sec vs 2.42 seconds).

The Amnesty International UK website is protected from cyberattacks and is always up and running.

Even very high loads of traffic will not affect the performance.

This cost-efficient solution helped save 30% on hosting costs.

The Amnesty International UK website allows hundreds of thousands of people to fight for human rights at a moment’s notice.

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