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Skyscanner flies into the cloud with iomart Hosting

28th October 2011 · Press Releases

Skyscanner – Europe’s leading travel search website, specialising in cheap flights and deals on over 600 airlines, as well as prices for car hire and hotels – has been explaining why it uses iomart Hosting.

Founded in 2003 by IT professionals, Gareth Williams, Barry Smith and Bonamy Grimes, Skyscanner is based in Edinburgh with a second office in Singapore. The site is available in 27 languages and is offered as a mobile site as well as both an android and iPhone app, the latter of which has had more than 2 million downloads. Skyscanner is recognised as one of the fastest growing technology companies in the UK.

Skyscanner in the cloud

Visits to the Skyscanner website have increased year on year to the point where over 14 million people use it every month (2011 figures). To cope with this huge and ever-growing demand for its service, Skyscanner needed cloud hosting backed by the most powerful servers. It turned to iomart Hosting.

Craig Parker, Director of IT at Skyscanner, explains: “It’s vital that the Skyscanner flight search engine is always available because people are accessing it from many different countries at all times of the day and night.

“iomart Hosting’s support has allowed us to scale up as fast as possible, while still allowing us to serve our millions of customers in a professional, responsive and personal manner.”

Private cloud

iomart Hosting supports the entire global portfolio of Skyscanner domains, which range from Spanish ( to Japanese ( and Korean ( This is all housed in a private cloud, backed by an enterprise grade SAN solution.

Phil Dalbeck, Infrastructure Architect at Skyscanner, explains: “Migrating from a traditional physical infrastructure platform to a fully virtualised private cloud provides the business agility Skyscanner needs to support our exceptional growth. Capacity planning is no longer the headache it once was, and the business can now expect to see additional server resources deployed within minutes rather than weeks.”

The iomart Hosting team helped Skyscanner’s technical team deploy a cutting-edge VMware installation, with powerful custom built servers providing N+1 resilience and high performance. The database layer comprises a number of Fusion-IO equipped SQL Servers delivering previously unattainable I/O performance.

He adds: “Our move to FusionIO completely redefined the capabilities of our presentation database systems – stability, performance and scalability have been improved by several orders of magnitude by leveraging the best technologies for the job.

“Working with a hosting partner prepared to work with us in deploying such cutting-edge technology is vital to our success.”

Sarah Haran, managing director of iomart Hosting, says: “Skyscanner demanded high performance and high availability plus the ability to react quickly to market demands by the provision of additional resources.

iomart Hosting provided consultation and benchmarking services, procured cutting edge hardware which we installed in our fully-owned high-spec data centres, ensuring that Skyscanner and its millions of customers get the best service possible.

The Skyscanner cloud operation is housed in iomart Hosting ‘s data centres, where entire floors are provisioned with high power racks in cold aisle containment with dual A+B feeds to each rack.

Skyscanner is focused on rapid expansion in existing and new markets with the objective of becoming the number one flight search engine in the world. iomart Hosting will be supporting it all the way.

Sarah Haran says: “iomart Hosting and Skyscanner have a lot in common. We are both fast growing companies gaining worldwide reputations for what we do. iomart Hosting is proud to be providing hosting for Skyscanner as it aims to dominate in its chosen market.”

Phil Dalbeck concludes: “Skyscanner is a technology-focused business and our service is reliant on the stability of our datacentre equipment. iomart’s datacentre team has a no-nonsense, can-do attitude to support which takes away the pain of day to day hardware maintenance allowing us to focus on the bigger picture”.

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