Case Study – Making Great Stuff Happen


Customer: Great Stuff, Inc.

Industry: Retail, E-Commerce

Solution: Infrastructure, E-Commerce

Cynch customer Great Stuff solved its performance issues by following Cynch’s recommendation to move its Magento deployment to Hostway. The resulting custom-optimized e-commerce footprint with role-specific servers moves twice as fast, at a reduced cost.


Great Stuff, Inc. is a consumer products design and engineering firm headquartered in the Austin area. Great Stuff created the RoboReel brand of water, power and air hose reels. Great Stuff was a customer of Hostway partner Cynch, using their fellow Austinites to optimize and monitor their Magento configuration.

As Great Stuff’s traffic increased several years into their relationship with Cynch, they suffered performance problems with their hosting provider, including frequent outages which directly affected Great Stuff’s bottom line. Cynch’s leadership turned to the provider for answers and assistance, but none were forthcoming.

“We have frequent problems with that service provider – not software issues,” Cynch co-founder Bryan Montalvo said. “They said that the service Great Stuff was getting was the best that they could do. From our perspective, it wasn’t enough.”

Cynch and Great Stuff agreed that better could be found, perhaps even at a better price point.

“We had looked into a number of hosting providers, and while the one we selected met our price point requirements, their service was not up to the standards we adhere to at Great Stuff,” said Jim Tracey, CEO of Great Stuff, Inc.


For Cynch’s Montalvo, Hostway was the best answer for Great Stuff, for a variety of reasons.

“With Hostway, we would be able to come in lower on cost, while still getting consistent performance,” Montalvo explained. “We can build a custom deployment at Hostway, and very few providers allow me to do that. We can put together something the precise size we want, with a lot of focus on performance and security, but not go crazy with the cost.”

Great Stuff was entirely unfamiliar with Hostway, but heard out the case that Cynch made.

“You trust us on the infrastructure, and we can perform on many vendors,” Montalvo said. “But it’s best when the vendor listens to our needs rather than forces us to pick something off the shelf.”

That wasn’t the only compelling reason that Cynch offered for the move.

“At Hostway, Cynch can support the environment almost as if it’s a colocation facility,” Montalvo said. “The more capabilities the provider gives us, and the more they let us tweak things, the more we can support our end customers.”

In the end, Cynch’s endorsement of Hostway was very persuasive.

“We knew we needed to make a change, but had no idea where to start,” Tracey said. “After being disappointed with other providers, we were wary of making a change that would net the same results. The team at Cynch was extremely knowledgeable, and in the end, we were confident with their recommendation to leave our host of multiple years in favor of another that would meet our needs.”


Before starting the transition process, Great Stuff was considering downsizing their footprint. When they started discussing pricing with Hostway, however, they determined they could increase their infrastructure size for more stability and speed, while still getting a lower price point than they previously had.

“When we were presented with Great Stuff’s infrastructure challenges, we knew we would be able to develop a custom solution that would provide greatly improved performance and uptime, as well as a far higher level of ongoing support and management through our joint offering with Cynch,” said Hostway Channel Account Manager Griffin Leen-Sohl. “We were also able to do this at a lower price point than they were previously paying.”

As a result, Cynch and Hostway were able to collaborate on creating an e-commerce deployment that will support Great Stuff through an immense growth spurt.

“We have a high level of confidence that they can continue to grow their business under this configuration,”Montalvo said. “They would have to increase traffic a hundred-fold to put a dent in what this configuration does for them. Even then, it allows for adding more servers without tearing down anything.” Great Stuff’s caching servers are separated from the web and database servers. All of them are totally redundant. Montalvo explained the dual purpose of that arrangement.

“In that configuration, we can provide a custom active-active load balancing configuration,” Montalvo said. “It’s not simply failover; nothing is on standby. Also, there should always be lots of resources available, because it’s a distributed architecture with role-specific servers.”

For Great Stuff, the proof was in the pace of the configuration.

“As we ramp up sales and marketing efforts at Great Stuff, it’s imperative that we optimize the performance of our site. After Cynch and Hostway reconfigured our servers, we were amazed at the speed in page load times and order processing,” Tracey said.


For Great Stuff, the outcome couldn’t have been better.

“If you had told us before we met with Cynch and began using Hostway that our systems could operate at a higher level and at a lower cost, we probably wouldn’t have believed you. We’d recommend both companies to any small business looking to optimize their processes,” Tracey said.

On Hostway’s end, they know that the good work they do with their allies results in an ever-increasing customer base, in part thanks to referrals like Cynch’s of Great Stuff.

“It’s gratifying for us to know that we perform well enough that our partners regard us as the ideal choice,” Leen-Sohl said. “There are so many options out there, but we try to stand out with our performance, service and customization standards.”

For Montalvo, Hostway has developed into an outstanding symbiotic partner.

“I know if I need something, that Hostway values its partners. I know I can get what I need through them for my own customer. That’s a big deal for a managed service provider,” Montalvo said. “That is a big plus for Hostway over any other company I deal with. They don’t say ‘we don’t do that’ to very many things. So my customer can get whatever they need.”

The Hostway Difference