Comic Relief UK Raises Millions to Fight Poverty with an Efficient, Highly-Available Donations Platform
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Comic Relief UK Raises Millions to Fight Poverty with an Efficient, Highly-Available Donations Platform

Comic Relief UK raises the equivalent of millions of U.S. dollars through two major fundraising campaigns —Red Nose Day and Sport Relief—with each taking place on alternate years and including a night of television-based fundraising. Comic Relief UK is a major UK-based charity and uses funds raised to change the lives of poor and disadvanted people in the UK and the world’s poorest countries. During Red Nose Day 2011, more than 1.5 million unique visitors accessed the company’s Website and donations peaked at 214 per second.

Comic Relief UK’s mission-critical donations platform enables the public to make charitable donations by telephone or online. Call center operators, which numbered 10,000 during Red Nose Day 2011, process donations using the same Web application that is used by members of the public. With only one chance to get it right, the platform is tested thoroughly before major fundraising days. During peak hours on Red Nose Day 2011, the platform processed 1.8 GB of traffic every second.

To ensure the donations platform operates at peak performance on major fundraising days, Comic Relief UK implemented Oracle Database, Enterprise Edition 11g for a secure, robust, and scalable platform. Comic Relief UK then worked closely with Oracle and Oracle Gold Partners Carrenza and SCL to thoroughly load test the donations platform prior to Red Nose Day and Sport Relief events using Oracle Application Testing Suite. The database environment delivered on its mission, as it ensured continuous availability.




A word from Comic Relief UK

  • "Oracle delivers an efficient and reliable mission-critical donations platform. Our Oracle platform is robust and has always delivered to ensure we can process millions of donations in a single day.Oracle is critical to the success of Red Nose Day." – Phil Latham, Head of Future Media and Technology, Comic Relief UK

  • Implement a mission-critical donations platform that is robust and scalable to manage a high volume of donations processed in a very short time span
  • Test the donations platform thoroughly prior to Red Nose Day 2011 and Sport Relief 2012 to cope with spikes in donations activity and ensure that members of the public can make donations as soon as they wish to do so
  • Ensure 100% availability on the Website during peak fundraising hours


Oracle Product and Services

  • Implemented Oracle Database, Enterprise Edition 11g with Real Application Clusters and Oracle Active Data Guard to ensure 100% mission-critical availability during Red Nose Day and Sport Relief campaigns
  • Worked with Oracle, Carrenza and SCL to thoroughly test the platform using Oracle Application Testing Suite—part of Oracle Enterprise Manager—to ensure that any potential problems are identified and solved prior to Red Nose Day 2011 and Sport Relief 2012
  • Deployed Oracle Load Testing to generate a load test simulating 30,000 simultaneous virtual users to ensure that the Web site can cope with peak fundraising traffic levels
  • Formed a dedicated project team with Oracle and Carrenza to ensure experts are on-hand to fix any problems that may arise
  • Performed thorough testing to ensure that Oracle Database could cope with the expected load and write large volumes of data within a fraction of a second
  • Guaranteed Website availability to ensure fast and efficient response times despite donations peaking at 214 per second during key fundraising hours

Why Oracle

Comic Relief UK has worked with Oracle for many years. Oracle Database 11g Enterprise Edition provides a robust and scalable platform for its business-critical donations system, and Oracle Application Testing Suite enables thorough testing prior to every campaign to examine load management and distribution.

“We only have one chance to get everything right, and therefore we need to test thoroughly beforehand. Testing is carried out for three months prior to each major fundraising event,” said Phil Latham, head of future media and technology, Comic Relief UK. “For every campaign, Oracle has met Comic Relief’s critical requirements for availability and performance.”

“Oracle is very committed to our success. Oracle technologists always work alongside us on the evening of Red Nose Day to address any issues that may arise. In addition, Oracle genuinely cares about what Comic Relief UK aims to do. The team genuinely believes in our cause, and we work together as very strong partners,” Latham said.


Oracle Gold Partner Carrenza hosts the Comic Relief UK Web platform and also manages its infrastructure. Carrenza has significant expertise working with Oracle systems. Carrenza, Oracle, and Comic Relief UK work together to form a combined project team bringing critical expertise together to ensure successful campaigns.

“We rely heavily on the expertise of both Carrenza and Oracle to ensure successful fundraising campaigns, year-on-year,” Latham said.

Oracle Gold Partner SCL carried out the load testing prior to Sport Relief 2012. SCL has extensive experience using the Oracle Application Testing Suite in providing test management, functional testing, and load testing, as SCL’s consultancy provides solutions for Web-based applications.