Donuts case study

Scaling to the Cloud

Supporting Rapid Growth While Maintaining Strict Performance and Availability Requirements


About Donuts

Donuts is an Internet domain name registry that administers hundreds of the most modern, creative online naming options available. As of March 2017, the company manages over 2 million domain names.


About Donuts

Founded in 2010 by domain industry veterans, Donuts is capitalized by globally prominent and prestigious investors. Since its genesis, Donuts emerged as an industry leader by driving one of the largest generic top-level domain (or gTLD—the portion of a domain name after the dot) expansions in history. Donuts’ innovations empower brands and people with accessible and authentic Internet creativity.


Donuts is responsible for Internet functionality by applying and operating a significant share of existing gTLDs without failure. The criticality of uptime, availability and resiliency of their global platform cannot be understated in this highly regulated business.



Donuts’ core platform was built on technology that could not keep up with evolving industry and market demands. It needed elastic technology infrastructure with high availability that would enable the company to seamlessly scale to support rapid growth, while observing security and compliance requirements.



As a result, Donuts made the decision to leverage Google Cloud Platform. To execute its migration properly, Donuts realized it needed a software development partner with a firm grasp on modern software delivery practices and rapid deployment capabilities. In addition, Donuts had specific business requirements for operating Internet namespaces that would need further development.


Why Donuts Chose Nortal

When searching for potential partners to help build out a platform, it was critical for Donuts to find a functional and efficient team that aligned with its technology stacks and quality levels. Proper functioning of Donuts’ system in the Cloud was critical, requiring established and continuously maintained high quality standards. Sensitivity to budget and timeframe were also prioritized. Nortal’s strong technological capabilities and core values on continuous delivery and quality standards aligned with Donuts’ requirements, making Nortal an optimal partner.


Nortal's Value

Donuts engaged Nortal to replace an existing software suite that operationalized the daily running of gTLD registries with a system built in-house. The work also integrated and interacted with software developed by Google as a partner.

Nortal launched the project with a Cloud-readiness assessment, where we documented a high-level architecture and created prioritized backlogs. This was handed off to Nortal’s development team who delivered on the project tactically over the next year. During that time, Nortal built multiple software components using best practices for continuous delivery. We also developed proprietary components, including a custom server to handle all registry operations via the Extensible Provisioning Protocol.


Challenges We Overcame

Nortal was faced with challenges integrating against an original platform with significant limitations. We evolved an automation-based strategy to obviate these challenges by automatically rejecting and notifying the remote partner team when regressions were introduced in the codebase.

Aspects of the Google Cloud platform were leveraged to deploy the application components comprising the software suite. Some of the features leveraged included App Engine, App Engine Flex, Container Engine (Kubernetes) and Cloud Datastore (nosql).


Project Results

Nortal was able to provide strategic benefits to Donuts due to our deep knowledge of Cloud platforms that allowed us to negotiate and deliver the best solution. Donuts also benefited from rapid development speed and cost efficiencies gained through automated infrastructure, which allowed them to get to market faster.

From a tactical perspective, Nortal provided a multiplier effect to Donuts’ ability to build out business-critical functionality for a strong foundation following modern software development life cycle (SDLC) techniques. The current software in place is manageable in-house, and allows Donuts’ teams to continue future releases of features and functionalities.

In summary, Nortal provided these values throughout the project lifecycle:

  • Development speed, which allowed Donuts to enter the market faster
  • Expenditure reduction through automation and operational efficiencies
  • Extensibility
  • Ability to build and release various features and functionalities at any given time
  • Domain knowledge and quality consistency of Nortal teams