case studies

Luckie & Co. Agency Selects Engine Yard to Ensure Uptime for Bayer Advanced™ Website.

The Opportunity

Luckie & Co., located in Birmingham, is the largest advertising agency in Alabama (based on annual billings). The company has been in business since 1953 and defines itself by developing long-term relationshiwith its clients. Luckie & Co. services run the full gamut: print ad, PR, TV, and digital – including web application development. Luckie & Co. uses Ruby on Rails to develop websites, such as, and deploys them on Engine Yard.

Luckie & Co. is unique in the interactive space because they provide the customer service a company would expect from a boutique agency combined with hands-on technology management on behalf of clients. This has allowed the company to forge long-term client relationshiby providing end-to-end services including user experience design, visual design, development, and hosting. While this broad service offering gives Luckie & Co. a lot of flexibility, there were additional costs and complexities involved in deploying and maintaining a hosting service that ultimately weren’t central to Luckie & Co.’s core value proposition. Bill Abel, Vice President and Director of Digital Development at Luckie & Co. explains what his requirements were in looking for an alternative. “We wanted a solution for deploying our web applications that would improve reliability and stability. We also wanted a solid platform and framework to build on. Once we chose Ruby on Rails, the right platform provider was obvious.”

Bayer Advanced is one of the leading consumer lawn and garden brands in the United States. Driven by innovative thinking and category-leading research, Bayer Advanced provides innovative and effective solutions that help consumers grow beautiful lawns and gardens and protect their landscapes from pests, weeds and diseases. Bayer Advanced is a business group of Bayer CropScience Lthe U.S. affiliate of Bayer CropScience AG. Bayer Advanced, Bayer CropScience Land Bayer CropScience AG are part of the Bayer AG family, a FORTUNE Global 500 company.

h5. The Solution

Luckie & Co. chose Engine Yard because they offer the reliability and scalability needed for building Rails websites, and Engine Yard came highly recommended by other partners in the community. “We looked at several options, and we chose Engine Yard because of their reliability and the strong recommendations we received. Reliability and service are my key requirements. Engine Yard service is rock solid, and the Engine Yard Cloud platform is easy to use,” said Bill.

In addition, it was important to Luckie & Co. to select a cloud platform that is focused on Rails applications. While there are many providers offering general hosting and datacenters, none of them has the expertise in deploying Rails applications in the cloud. “We looked at several options, but we wanted a company specialized in Ruby on Rails, and Engine Yard is simply the best,” said Bill.

What's more, by selecting a Platform-as-a-Service like Engine Yard Cloud, the developers at Luckie & Co. can rely on the Engine Yard engineering team to manage the ‘stack’ that all applications in the cloud require. The Rails experts at Engine Yard bring extensive expertise on individual stack components, stack security, and deployment best practices. Bill recognizes the substantial and ongoing investment Engine Yard makes in their technology stack which enables developers at Luckie & Co. to work on projects that build the success of their business. “Engine Yard specializes in providing a Rails application platform that is focused on reliability and availability, and the effort Engine Yard puts into building and maintaining their stack is a key differentiator.”

h5. Results

Luckie & Co. has been running the Bayer Advanced website on Engine Yard since April 2010. The combination of developing in Ruby on Rails and deploying on Engine Yard has led to significant efficiency gains. “We chose Rails because it gave us the ability to develop websites dramatically faster. We finished the first release of the Bayer Advanced website in 2 months – a 50% reduction in development time. Rails is a complete 180 to traditional adevelopment; it’s very structured and the built-in hooks made our transition much easier. We also took advantage of the Rails test driven development model which has helped us achieve development efficiencies, so we can build websites more quickly and deliver a much more reliable product,” explained Bill.

Engine Yard Cloud provides deployment features, such as cloning, that have reduced website management time dramatically. “As we move into the next development phase, we can clone a new instance of a production website, so our development environment matches production exactly. In the past, duplicating the website structure would have taken more than 3 hours and now it takes 5 minutes. That’s a substantial time savings that we can use for developing new features,” Bill said.

Just as Luckie & Co. has been able to re-assign time spent on website management to development, they are also able to re-purpose the computing resources that they were using to offer their own hosting services. “We’ve experienced savings in infrastructure investment by choosing to deploy our customers’ websites on Engine Yard Cloud. We’re able to re-assign assets to other projects, resulting in infrastructure cost savings of 40%,” continued Bill.

Reliability is critical for Luckie & Co. because they want to ensure maximum uptime for their customers’ websites. Running on Engine Yard Cloud, they are able to use best practices to ensure deployments are smooth and reliable. The amount of hands-on management has been greatly reduced. “Deploying on Engine Yard is more reliable and safer because it’s automated and very structured which allows us to replicate standardized deployments every time. Using Engine Yard Cloud in conjunction with Ruby on Rails makes deployment a one-click affair,” said Bill.

Bill sees this same expertise and reliability in the technical support team at Engine Yard. The development team at Luckie & Co. is well-versed in Ruby on Rails but when they need help they rely on Engine Yard for expert advice. “We’ve traditionally run our applications on Apache, so Nginx was new for us. The Engine Yard support team walked us through the technical details of how to deploy on Nginx. They were very helpful, and we got exactly what we needed,” explained Bill.

As Luckie & Co. continues to drive results and success for their clients, they will rely on the powerful combination of deploying on Engine Yard Cloud and developing in Ruby on Rails. “We consider Engine Yard Cloud to be the best Rails application cloud and will continue to take advantage of the rock solid platform to build reliable, highly available websites for our customers,” concluded Bill.

Luckie & Co.

Location: Birmingham, AL

Industry: Advertising

Opportunity: Build and deploy consumer products website on reliable, high availability Rails application cloud

Solution:Partner with Engine Yard to deliver scalable, reliable cloud computing platform for Rails-based application


  • Reliable, high availability Rails application cloud ensures maximum uptime for Bayer Advanced website
  • Engine Yard cloning feature reduces production environment duplication time from 3 hours to 5 minutes
  • Cloud deployment reduces risk of downtime and results in infrastructure cost savings of 40%
  • Ruby on Rails framework accelerates development time by 50%