CyrusOne: How to Scale Your Company’s IT Infrastructure
July 7, 2016
Here’s how CyrusOne Helped Carmax meet it’s Quick-Paced IT Needs
What happened when America’s leading provider of vehicle history reports for used cars and light trucks was in need of a solution to meet its rapidly expanding IT infrastructure needs required to manage expanding volumes of data? CARFAX turned to CyrusOne.
Through its website, CARFAX offers its main product, the CARFAX Vehicle History Report, Lemon Check, Recall Check, as well as Car Safety and Reliability Ratings. Additionally, CARFAX.com offers Used Car Listings, the only vehicle listing site that lets consumers search for specific models by history (e.g. “2007 Ford Escape, 1 previous owner, no accidents”), and connect with dealers who have those models for sale.
“What makes CARFAX’s products stand out from the rest is the depth and accuracy of our data,” said Joedy Lenz, chief technology officer of CARFAX. “We collect vehicle data from more than 80,000 sources –- everyone from police agencies to service garages and oil change shops. No one can match the sheer volume of data that CARFAX provides about the history or a particular vehicle.”
How CARFAX Previously Handled IT Needs
CARFAX previously housed part of its infrastructure in a data center owned by a colocation provider, but that data center couldn’t handle the quick-pace IT changes the company needed, and the colocation provider was rigid and contract-oriented. If CARFAX requested changes –- such as asking them to reconfigure the IT footprint with increased floor space and additional power –- it would take them several days to respond. When they did get back, CARFAX would have to negotiate to determine when they could provide what CARFAX needed, and how much it would cost. This was followed by multiple rounds of paperwork before they could start any work, making it far more trouble than it was worth.
Until recently, CARFAX housed its legacy IT infrastructure in two private data centers at the company’s original facilities in Columbia, Missouri. The legacy infrastructure hosted CARFAX’s online products and services. Over time, however, this IT footprint became too large for CARFAX to support in its current state.
In looking for a colocation provider, CARFAX needed more than just a company offering data centers with abundant space, power and cooling. The company needed a provider that would be a partner in CARFAX’s success with flexibility and service capabilities available to make quick changes to the company’s IT footprint.
To handle its future IT needs, CARFAX redesigned and rebuilt its IT infrastructure as a pod-based environment utilizing smaller servers that can be strung together to create individual server pods for each of CARFAX’s products.
Coast-to-Coast Web Hosting and Redundancy
Along with this IT re-architecting, CARFAX reformed its colocation distribution to split its pod-based server configurations across four different CyrusOne data centers: Two in Texas – Lewisville and Carrollton, plus Phoenix, Arizona and Sterling, Virginia. These IT footprints provide coast-to coast web hosting and redundancy for CARFAX.com and for the company’s customer-facing products, internal systems and applications.
CARFAX’s plan to deploy IT footprints in multiple CyrusOne data centers across the U.S. has many advantages including the following:
Each IT footprint will have all of the company’s products and services on it, plus the supporting infrastructure to be a stand-alone data center. If one IT footprint goes down, the company can still run 100 percent of its traffic through the other data centers, without losing customers.
Better control of web traffic
Each of CARFAX’s three IT footprints will handle approximately 33 percent of all traffic on CARFAX.com. When a customer submits a request or a search query, CARFAX can direct that traffic to the data center that is geographically closest to them. This helps to reduce network latency, so the customers get their Vehicle History Reports and Used Car Listing search results back faster.
The company also has built out an internally-focused IT environment in CyrusOne’s Carrollton data center. This environment will handle CARFAX’s systems and applications focused on data processing, business intelligence and test environments. Additionally, CARFAX keeps a small part of its IT footprint housed at its own facilities to handle proprietary applications such as email, virtual desktop and development environments.
Throughout the deployment, CARFAX found CyrusOne to be a reliable and cooperative partner, able to quickly process CARFAX’s requests and to accommodate quick changes to CARFAX’s IT footprints.
“As we’ve built out our new IT configurations in CyrusOne data centers, the company has been incredibly responsive to our needs. When we call to request a configuration of our IT footprint, they start working to approve it immediately, and then send us the work order to document it. They never make it a burden on us, or make us feel like it’s a burden on them. They’re obviously focused on ensuring their customer’s success, rather than their own,” Lenz said.
If you’re thinking of reconfiguring your IT footprint, talk to CyrusOne to see what we can do for you.