TwinStrata is a US based technology company that offers cloud storage solutions to large enterprises and small & mid-sized companies. The company’s aim is to simplify the expansion of data storage resources for businesses, by providing seamless access to cloud storage on a cost-per-utilization model.
TwinStrata offers a “cloud integrated storage” solution that combines the scalability and efficiency of cloud based storage with local storage options. The company is headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts.
THE PROBLEM AND THE FOLIO3 SOLUTION
TwinStrata was looking for a development partner to help it build an end-to-end life cycle management application for its cloud storage solution “Cloud Array” which provides customers with Disaster Recovery As A Service (DRAAS) functionality or backup cloud storage, in case of a disaster affecting their local data storage capabilities. The company also wanted a development partner to help design and develop its corporate website.
TwinStrata chose to partner with Folio3 for this project, due to Folio3’s extensive expertise in enterprise cloud application development services and in website & web application design & development; which made Folio3 a one stop shop solution provider for TwinStrata, for this project.
After evaluating the requirements, Folio3’s team of engineers started work on the project. Working in close collaboration with TwinStrata’s executive management, the team first designed and developed TwinStrata’s corporate website, over a period of 3 months. They then started work on the life cycle management application for TwinStrata’s cloud storage solution – the “Cloud Array” web portal.
Based on the requirements provided by TwinStrata, the Folio3 team first designed the Cloud Array Web portal and its backend infrastructure, which comprised of Linux based server clusters and their configuration. Once the solution architecture design was approved by TwinStrata’s management, Folio3’s engineers then started on the actual development. This activity comprised of 2 components:
- Development of the Cloud Array web portal
- Development of the Cloud Array Appliance Console application
- Sell cloud storage services to customers directly via the portal
- Customize the cloud storage service features according to each customer’s requirements – storage capacity, number of concurrent users, etc.
- Generate monthly bills/invoices for each customer
- Receive bill payments online from customers
- Manage licenses
- Manager users (consumers & partners) – add/edit usernames & passwords
- Manage alerts & notifications to cloud storage users
- Manage admin accounts
- Manage downloads of cloud service storage patches/updates for cloud storage users
- Manage sales leads – by automatically fetching the data of consumers who signed up for free trials of the cloud storage solution on TwinStrata’s website and providing valuable insight on leads such as what the customer was viewing, where was the customer from, how did he land on that page, etc.
- Automatically enter leads data into TwinStrata’s Salesforce CRM
- Generate custom marketing campaigns (banner ads, landing pages, etc.) via custom coding
Working in parallel with the Cloud Array web portal’s development, Folio3’s engineers also developed the Cloud Array Appliance Console application – a UI interface that provides customers the ability to configure their cloud storage service’s network settings.
The Cloud Array web portal has undergone several upgrades and feature additions since its initial release and is still under development, with new features constantly being added. The most significant update to the Cloud Array web portal came in August 2012 when TwinStrata needed to upgrade its cloud storage infrastructure, due to the rapid growth of its customer base and their rising cloud storage demands. As such, the cloud storage solution’s architecture needed to be scaled horizontally and vertically in order to meet customer requirements. To cater to this demand, Folio3 designed and implemented clustered servers with distributed processing in the cloud storage architecture, including a NoSQL server, within a short span of 6 months.
As a result of these architectural improvements, the Cloud Array solution can now handle millions more users per day as well as several times the number of concurrent users, than it could previously.
Thanks to Folio3’s efforts, TwinStrata was not only able to rapidly bring its state of the art cloud storage solution to market but also progressively enhance and scale its solution architecture as needed, in order to meet the rising cloud storage demands of its user base. Subsequently, TwinStrata continues to be valuable partner of Folio3 with the relationship now in its fifth year.
DEVELOPMENT METHODOLOGY USED
Folio3 used the waterfall model of development on this project with Google Docs as the project management tool and TestTrack as the bug management tool initially. These were later replaced with TeamForge.