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UIC Enhancing University Website Infrastructure with Pantheon

UIC Campus

Red Infrastructure Modernization

This summer, Technology Solutions is looking forward to migrating the Red Multisite Infrastructure to Pantheon, a website operations platform that will improve the stability and scalability of Red. With Pantheon, UIC’s Red websites are guaranteed to remain 99.99% operational during traffic spikes or server reboots and can expand without the risk of outgrowing infrastructure, optimizing staff resources.

The Red infrastructure migration is scheduled to begin over the Labor Day weekend, Friday, September 2 through Monday, September 5, 2022. During migration, downtime is not expected to occur and Red websites will remain operational, however, there will be a content freeze period. Please read on for more information.

What is Red Multisite? Heading link

WordPress for UIC, also known as Red, is the university’s multisite network used for creating and managing UIC websites. Red enables UIC community members to easily create, build, and maintain UIC websites, while maintaining a consistent look and feel.

Since the first Red site launched in November 2016, Red has grown to more than 500 live websites with another 228 in development (as of June 2022). In the last 12 months, there were more than 25 million pageviews across UIC’s Red websites. It’s amazing what a single on-premise database and server have done under the leadership of our limited staff and resources.

Challenges with the Red Multisite Heading link

Due to significant growth, the Red network is presently at risk of outgrowing its current infrastructure, which can lead to system failures, downtime, and loss of data. Moreover, our infrastructure does not meet modern standards, and servers lack the capabilities to properly handle a large influx of traffic.

Because of this, our staff spends 75+ hours a week on bug fixes, enhancing site performance, and addressing technical debt (i.e. shortcuts and workarounds we will eventually have to invest time and talent into to resolve) leaving no time for innovation or development.

To mitigate risk and get our infrastructure up-to-date, Technology Solutions would have to build a completely new infrastructure (costing hundreds of thousands of dollars), or leverage a third-party solution.

After careful consideration and review, UIC Technology Solutions has decided to partner with Pantheon, a Website Operations Platform.

The transition to a Website Operations Platform will not only improve Red’s stability and scalability, but it will also help alleviate the obstacles our development teams encounter so we can focus on other enhancements and innovation.

Radhika Shah Reddy  |  Director, Software Development & Delivery

Partnering with Pantheon Heading link

The transition to Pantheon guarantees high stability and scalability for our public-facing sites, offers a more resilient and mature infrastructure than our in-house servers, and has many other benefits including:

  • Minimizes Red site outages & downtime
    Guaranteed 99.99% operational uptime so Red websites will be able to handle traffic spikes and server reboots without bringing other sites down
  • Allows staff resource reallocation & optimization
    Pantheon is a self-sustaining platform that will enable teams to reallocate resources and focus on other enhancements or projects
  • Enables automation and agile workflows for fast deployments
    Increases ease of software update management and support for maintaining multisite security, reliability and performance
  • Grants access to data & insights
    Provides reporting on web activity related to infrastructure, security and logging. This helps find, debug, and isolate current or potential problems on sites.
  • Offers collaboration tools
    Pantheon has developer-friendly tools and workflows that will help strengthen our growing Red developer community and encourages collaboration
  • Includes automated backups
    A best practice for web management, automated site backups are snapshots of all the files and data on websites and can be recalled if necessary.

With the Red Infrastructure migrating to Pathenon, UIC Red can continue to expand and increase the number of Red sites and users without the risk of outgrowing infrastructure, compromising site performance, or disrupting the user experience.

Kim Charles  |  Director, Digital Experience

Migration Timeline Heading link

Technology Solutions will be migrating the Red multisite infrastructure from an on-campus data center to a cloud-based platform over the 2022 Labor Day weekend (September 2 – 5, 2022). Downtime is not expected but may occur.

During the Red infrastructure migration, there will be a content freeze period. Red websites will remain operational and accessible online. However, Red admins and site visitors will not be able to add, edit, delete, draft or update new or existing content on Red during this period (September 2 -5). Forms on websites will need to be temporarily disabled and will not be available.

Operate with Excellence Heading link

The modernization of the Red Multisite Infrastructure supports UIC’s IT Strategy and the Operate with Excellence Initiative.  The migration of Red infrastructure to Pantheon supports updating services with current-generation, cloud-first solutions.

Get Support Heading link