May 28, 2020 By Alexander de Boissezon 3 min read

The Pixfizz e-commerce-for-print solution on IBM Cloud has the scalability and flexibility to meet seasonal market demand and support new business models.

From printing presses to linotype machines to digital presses to 3D printers, technology has fueled ongoing innovation in the printing industry. When we founded Pixfizz in 2009, we were at the forefront of another of these technological trends as one of the few businesses based 100% in the cloud. Customers could access and use our offerings online with no additional downloads or plugins required.

Over the years, we have continued to build upon that original value proposition. Pixfizz offers a web-to-print e-commerce platform that enables resellers and print service providers to roll out customized online storefronts. In turn, those organizations use the storefronts to market and sell photo specialty products, such as photo books, calendars, and greeting cards.

We offer a full content management system our customers can use to design those storefronts. With our customizable website templates, full-featured shopping cart, and suite of design and marketing tools, they can get sites up and running quickly—potentially within 48 hours.

Flexibility and scalability for a seasonal business

From the start, we used IBM Cloud to run our Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) business. Since that time, IBM has proven time and time again that it is the best solution for our needs.

Our industry is heavily seasonal, with peaks and valleys of demand; Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the Christmas holidays bring in huge amounts of traffic. A quiet period follows in January and February, and business picks up again in March, as graduation season approaches.

We needed a partner who could provide a cloud environment with which we could scale our technology. We chose IBM for its unique offering of IBM Bare Metal Servers and the ability to use them in tandem with IBM Cloud Virtual Servers.

Within this environment, we can run our key applications on the bare metal servers on an ongoing basis and use the virtual servers primarily as “worker servers” for print orders. During peak order periods, we can spin up new virtual servers within a matter of minutes as traffic increases and scale back when it subsides.

Low latency with top-notch storage

The nature of our business means we must be able to store enormous volumes of data. Currently, we have over 100 terabytes of data stored in our master library of customer photos—millions of high-resolution images we must serve up quickly. Fortunately, we have virtually endless cloud storage capacity with IBM Cloud Object Storage.

Today’s customers have high expectations for immediate service. For example, when designing a photo book, they want instant access to photos stored on our infrastructure, with no lag while images load or transfer.

IBM Cloud Object Storage delivers the storage capacity, scalability, and performance we require. Over the years, we’ve conducted latency tests comparing IBM to other cloud providers. IBM has always come out on top, outperforming competitors whose solutions weren’t fast enough to use as purely virtual solutions. That’s why we’ve stuck with IBM—and we’re not looking to make a switch.

Future forward

The flexibility of our IBM Cloud solution gives us the freedom to pivot into new business models. As a front-end supplier to an integrated digital workflow, we specialize in providing a reliable, robust, and cost-effective e-commerce solution to printers, photo shops, and brand owners. The trend towards designing and ordering customized print products online is growing exponentially year over year.

To adjust to market demand, we’re expanding our portfolio and perfecting our mobile user experience. In preparation, we’re continuously making improvements to our infrastructure and software. And in the process, we’re anticipating some major scaling next year in our IBM Cloud solution. We’re confident the flexibility and reliability we’ve always experienced from IBM will help us make a smooth transition.

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