The Sweetness Of 100% Uptime

Hershey's | hersheys.com | HQ: Hershey, PA| Founded In 1894| Industry: Confectionaries

When it comes to chocolate, one word says it all: Hershey’s. It is a global confectionery leader known for bringing goodness to the world through its delicious chocolate, sweets, mints, beverages and snacks. The company has a portfolio of more than 80 brands sold in more than 70 countries. Regardless of where you are, there is likely a Hershey product nearby.

But why would a publicly traded company (#360 in the 2014 Fortune 500) that has its products available everywhere need to worry about their website uptime? The candy aisle at the local supermarket doesn’t have downtime. Even more important, how did they come to be a Dyn Traffic Director user?

Hershey’s DNS History

When infrastructure specialist Jeff Ramsey came to The Hershey Company in May 2010, external DNS was something that was taken for granted. The company used external data centers to help with traffic load and a basic DNS option that came free with their co-location facility, typical for web presences in the consumer product goods industry. As Ramsey learned more about their DNS configuration, he became concerned.

“There were single points of failure and performance concerns globally. Our DNS service wasn’t specifically called out in our contract and was in need of some immediate attention,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey and his team were tasked with re-architecting Hershey’s web environment and looking for a new provider, one that was faster performing, featured redundancy and had the ability to scale with increased global traffic. The company also owned a very large amount of vanity domains and websites (600+ active like Hersheys.com, Twizzlers.com, Reeses.com and JollyRancher.com) that would need to be transferred as well. A successful implementation with zero downtime was a must.

Back to the question of why a consumer product company would need this level of uptime, Ramsey explained how the company’s marketing teams oversee more than 80 brands. There are constantly promotions running, so avoiding downtime and providing a secure DNS solution was a top concern.

Also, the company’s corporate site is a key gateway for investors, analysts, prospective employees and media.

“With stockholders, dividends reports, and earnings information, it would not be good to have the site unavailable during a quarterly call,” he explained.

Ramsey wanted a strategic DNS partner. He found one. How did Dyn make a difference?

How They Transitioned To Dyn

While Ramsey could have sourced DNS from Hershey’s content delivery network (CDN) supplier, he wanted to diversify and wasn’t looking for an all-in-one solution. His team wanted to find the best possible DNS partner, but also had to be mindful of costs as they were moving from a free DNS add-on to a paid solution. In Dyn Managed DNS, he found a solution that gave him more web traffic management capabilities than ever before.

“We liked the redundancy and performance that Dyn’s global anycast network provided us, they really have a true passion for DNS and customer service. With all of the features built into the portal and granularity of access controls for our various brands, it was exactly what I was looking for,” Ramsey said. “The full audit capability adds tremendous value when you have multiple teams managing the solution. It’s crucial for us to see all changes going on with our various web properties and enterprise services.”

Ramsey estimates that his team uses the Dyn administrative portal every two to three days, and is constantly making domain changes based on what marketing needs.

“Dyn’s solution updates really fast, something other providers often struggle with. If I need to do cutovers, I now have the capability to do so with confidence.”

Also incredibly helpful was Dyn’s API, something that Ramsey said was “huge” from a migration standpoint as all of his smaller domains would have taken days to import and caused potential issues. With the API, he was able to automate many administrative tasks related to DNS.

The Future

As The Hershey Company continues to build upon its rapidly growing business in emerging markets, Ramsey has an Internet performance solutions partner that he can rely on, regardless of where they go.

“Dyn gave us extra tools that we didn’t have with our other provider. As our company grows globally I needed a partner that truly understands our needs. Now, with Dyn, our DNS will be ready, no matter what happens.”


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