Feb 12, 2019 - Justin Emond

5 Years Later: Why We Keep Going Back to Acquia


At Third & Grove, we have been Acquia partners from the start, and we continue to enjoy collaborating with Acquia on a variety of projects. We still find ourselves recommending the Acquia Enterprise Cloud as frequently today as we did five years ago when we first opened our doors. (We proudly do not take referral fees from Acquia—or any other channel partner—to ensure that our recommendations are unbiased.)

Here’s why we keep going back to Acquia’s enterprise hosting when our clients need the best in the business:

Platform stability & maturity

We have been fortunate to work on some of the most complex, highest-trafficked Drupal sites in the world. Given the diversity of our client base, we work with a variety of hosting platforms, including unmanaged traditional rack hosting, managed cloud offerings, and the three leading managed cloud offerings specifically designed for Drupal.

Pushing these platforms to the limit with complex integrations and high traffic has taught us that the most stable Drupal cloud infrastructure is Acquia. As a platform, it has the fewest odd edge case issues caused by the file system, database, and PHP execution environment. This may be thanks to Acquia’s careful balance of bleeding-edge cloud innovation and traditional, proven virtual server technology.

Acquia also offers mature developer tools—like multiple environments, cloud hooks, APIs, and continuous integration—that teams need to follow the industry best practices that are so vital for successfully building complex integrations.

Edge protection

We typically work on designing, building, and supporting the digital footprints of American mid-market and enterprise organizations. Our clients often possess a public profile large enough to attract distributed denial-of-service attacks that disrupt businesses, embarrass brands, or extort money. Indeed, given the sophistication, automation, and economics of digital exploits, most organizations exist under a constant, low-level threat of compromise. This makes protecting each site’s edges crucial for any company.

The best, first place to deploy protection for your site is at the outermost layer of the network stack. The most common technology to deploy at the edge is a content delivery network (CDN), a system that speeds up the site for end users around the globe. While there are many great CDNs on the market today—and most include built-in security protections—our favorite here at Third & Grove is Cloudflare. Cloudflare offers an impressive suite of security, DNS, and routing companion functionality for CDNs. They also offer the best, easiest-to-use management dashboard around.

Acquia is compatible with any CDN on the market, but it also offers an edge protection product called Acquia Cloud Edge, a customized version of Cloudflare just for Acquia. This means best-in-class edge security is available bundled into the hosting infrastructure.

Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM

In the heyday of IBM’s technology dominance, there was a catchphrase in the industry that meant that going with IBM was a defensible decision for any business. It also meant that buying their products served as insurance for an executive if a project went bad, the decision to use IBM technology couldn’t be blamed.

Somewhat uniquely among the Drupal managed cloud platforms, Acquia understands the needs of enterprise customers and caters their products, sales process, and engagement model to those needs. At Third & Grove, we draw a parallel between a large organization buying IBM in 1985 and choosing Acquia today: It’s hard to argue with the best technology on the market.

Like buying IBM in 1985: It’s hard to argue with the best technology on the market.

Proven scale and ready

We’d argue that Acquia becomes a better choice as scale increases on a project. The Acquia platform runs Drupal websites at every level of scale, from revenue-impacting, massive traffic to intermittent engagement. This means that there is no level of scale or spike that is going to surprise the Acquia support team.


In addition to the traditional support ticketing system offered by most cloud platforms, Acquia assigns Technical Account Managers (TAM) to work directly with enterprise clients. These TAMs are some of the most experienced engineers at Acquia and have hands-on experience with just about any issue that can face a complex, high-traffic site.

Several years ago, we had a client that generated a majority of their revenue through their sales on their website. Any outage on the site has a material impact on their earnings. Because this client was on Acquia, there was a TAM standing by to jump into a war room with our engineering team any time an issue arose. The TAM brought expertise to the table that, when combined with our team, meant solutions were developed very quickly with minimal disruption to the business.

Remember this advice: Your hosting platform doesn’t really matter, until it does.

Leadership & investment in Drupal

It’s easy to be successful you pair an organization making a large financial investment in Drupal with a cloud platform that truly is a leader in the Drupal ecosystem. Acquia makes continual, large investments to make Drupal more powerful and easier to use.

Last year, Acquia released a collection of custom functionality, that they paid to develop, in a suite of modules as a “starter pack” for new Drupal sites called Lightning. Lightning offers advanced editorial page building and template management experiences that competitive systems, like Adobe Experience Manager, have historically offered and have been a differentiator. And not only has the company made large investments in its CMS, the creator and leader of Drupal is Acquia’s founder and CTO.

Drupal lies at the core of everything Acquia innovates and focuses on, ensuring that an organization's investment in Drupal will maintain alignment with their cloud platform.

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