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Founded on a vision to simplify marketing and promotion for small businesses, Vistaprint now generates over $1.8 billion in annual revenues and employs over 10,000 people. Much of this growth was fueled by a very familiar technology: email. Vistaprint and its umbrella corporation, Cimpress, use email both to give its customers a common user experience worldwide and to coordinate the work of its many specialized business units. Yet its meteoric growth was met with unforeseen obstacles that threatened to complicate operations and limit Vistaprint’s success.
Vistaprint reinvented supply-chain management by aggregating large numbers of customized orders and farming them out to Cimpress’s numerous specialized production facilities. In this process, Vistaprint makes products – ranging from business cards to building-sized banners – at a fraction of the typical cost.
Messaging has played a vital role. “We use email to acknowledge and fulfill customer orders, engage with third-party fulfillers, and coordinate with print shops,” says Jim Mangan, Vistaprint’s Lead Systems Engineer. “Sometimes these people aren’t set up for FTP or secure transfer. All they have is email, so that’s what we have to do.”
Relying on email at this scale brings its own challenges. “When I started here we handled 5,000 messages a day,” recounts Mangan, “all text, so maybe 5KB each in size at most. When we went to HTML emails, message sizes shot up to 120KB to 500KB, a lot more for our systems to churn through. And as we added customers from the EU, we went from 5,000 messages a day to 70,000 or 80,000.”
In 2012, Vistaprint replaced its aging EMC SourceOne archiving platform with Mimecast’s Cloud Archive, and its Trend Micro Internet Messaging Security solution with Mimecast’s Targeted Threat Protection. Three years later, the company completed its migration from Exchange 2010 to Office 365, hosting its mail tenant in Switzerland to simplify EU compliance, and connecting to Mimecast’s UK-based grid.
Even with the improved scale, security, and email data governance that Mimecast gives Vistaprint, Mangan and his team have found their mail operations much more manageable. “We used to have to shut SourceOne down every night for an hour or two for an incremental backup,” he says, “and every weekend for up to 18 hours for a full backup. We also had to run four Trend Micro IMS servers, two for each Exchange Server. Having an integrated solution for both security and archiving that is on all the time – that we don’t have to manage – is a very good thing for us.”
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