Drupal.org server room.

Drupal Support and Hosting

Main image, Drupal.org servers, by the Drupal Association, released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.

Drupal is a fantastically flexible product, one of its biggest strengths is its malleability, but the upshot of that is no two Drupal applications are quite the same. Some fall within a range of "off the shelf" products provided by large companies with "catch all" solutions, but a huge number of organisations out there need very specific hosting and support for their Drupal websites. That is why Code Enigma operates "ask us anything" support. It's why we have a toolkit of products, backed by our Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, to fit all needs, from virtual dedicated servers to PaaS. And it's why we always start any hosting and support enquiry with some free consultancy - it's in our interests that you make the right choices, so you are a happy customer, after all.

Rob Safar, Acting Digital Manager, ActionAid International

Code Enigma are able to provide support for all of our website software - from the CMS right down to the server level. They're our one-stop-shop.

ActionAid International

We've been working with ActionAid for a while now, initially we helped them out with some issues on their existing Drupal platform - a complex Drupal 6 site running Organic Groups to allow different parts of the organisation to manage different sections of the website - but after a time it became clear ActionAid needed more long term arrangements in place. We provide a charity discount to organisations doing the kind of life-changing work ActionAid are involved with, so we were happy to put together a cost-effective support plan for them, to ensure they have ready resource whenever they need to make minor alterations to their site, as well as providing support for their editors and monitoring and first response if there are any problems with Drupal.

But we go further than that. While we have our own cloud solutions, one of the services we can provide is remote server management for organisations that prefer to host in house but lack the expertise to manage the software stack for Drupal. In the case of ActionAid, they have a VMWare-based private cloud solution in their offices in Farringdon, managed by a company called Ethical IT, but they had no support for the Linux stack running on those virtual machines. That's where Code Enigma comes in. We monitor, back up, patch and manage the Linux software stack, tuned and optimised for the ActionAid application, and we do all that remotely. Our 24/7/365 team of round-the-clock Linux experts ensure the servers keep ticking along, and are on standby to help deal with any incident that may occur. So ActionAid really can have their cake and eat it. They get to keep their server hardware in house but benefit from our expert management services.

Sparta Performance Science

Sparta are a great example of what we mean when we say no two Drupal applications are alike. A lot of Drupal websites are doing similar things, of course - presenting editorially controlled content in a structured and templated way - but there are plenty of organisations out there doing some amazing things with Drupal that completely change the profile of the application. California-based Sparta Performance Science use Drupal in a totally different way to what you might normally expect. They have embraced the power of the API, and tools like the Views module, and created a platform for athletes and their coaches to view incredibly complex data about their physical performance, gathered during tailored training sessions, using specialist measuring equipment. This data is fed into Drupal and then processed using a bunch of custom-crafted drush commands, so they are available to view within the pages of a given athlete's profile. As you can imagine, the requirements of an application like this, crunching large amounts of data at the command line, are totally different to the requirements of an organisation like ActionAid, who are mostly serving cached content to anonymous users. And that is exactly why one size cannot fit all.

Furthermore, Sparta have many clients, each with the need for privacy and data separation and they each have their own completely separate site, essentially a copy of the platform - some are competing teams, so having a hosting company that can secure their data and is truly ISO 27001 through-the-line is important. But there's also a financial angle here - with Code Enigma, Sparta can host all of these clients on a single server, because the usage patterns are sporadic and most of the processing happens at the command line. With a PaaS product, each site would have a distinct and separate cost, and the command line processing power needed would make that cost high. Plus we provide managed Jenkins for Sparta, so they have all the benefit of the automated deployment tools and developer workflows you might expect of PaaS, but with infinite customisation possible and much more cost-effective resource management.

Finally, on top of our managed servers, we run a Drupal Developer Support contract with Sparta so their developers benefit from our usual "ask us anything" support. They use this support for anything from adhoc code reviews through to requests for investigation into the performance of specific scripts or pages with New Relic, or sometimes just to ask us to create a new Jenkins job for them to service a new customer. 

Richard Heal, General Manager, Sparta Performance Science

We get timely support, knowledgeable experts, great value for money and reliable, service-orientated delivery.

Tom Kirk, Communications Manager, St John's College

Our relationship with Code Enigma gives us the flexibility to produce our own content for a website that needs to be many different things for many people, while still knowing that we can fix problems and road-test new ideas when we need to.

St John's College

St John's are one of Code Enigma's oldest customers. We started working with them back in early 2011, building their website and extranet. They have their own hardware and specific requirements regarding Linux versions so while we don't manage their servers (they're Redhat-based and we're a Debian company) we did set them up, and we wrote a series of customised Jenkins scripts to work with their slightly altered environment.

We also support them in the use and improvement of their website. We host their version control on our Gitlab server (worth noting that's something we can provide as a service) and we coached them in the use of professional VCS and deployment tools. They have a support contract with us so we can step in if there are any issues with the site, manage their security updates and also review changes they want to make before putting them live. This is great for them, because it means they get to save money by doing the majority if the development work on their website themselves, but they have the safety net of Code Enigma developers checking what they've done before it goes into a customer-facing environment.

We continue to support St John's in this way, and indeed, our work with them pioneered the "ask us anything" support offering we have today, which is now of benefit to organisations from the tiny Leeds-based Permaculture Association to the mighty Economist Group in Canary Wharf, London.