OIST Scales Team and Meets Demand Surge with Pantheon & Managed Updates

International Research University Scales it’s Team and Meets Demand Surge with Managed Updates and Multidev


  • Increasing demands for web services saturating team’s capacity
  • Managing Drupal updates, fielding and resolving support issues limiting ability to engage in new development
  • Insufficient use of resources impacting upon user experience and mission 
  • Implement Managed Updates for full governance of CMS, module, and security updates
  • Adopt Diamond Support, including a dedicated Customer Success Manager
  • Leverage developer collaboration tools, including Multidev to accelerate agile processes
Why Pantheon?
  • Unexpected 650% spike in traffic had zero impact on site availability
  • Visual Regression Testing de-risks Drupal update management for the team
  • Comprehensive developer and management tools let team do more on a single platform
  • With Managed Updates, team reclaimed its resources from overseeing CMS updates 
  • Managed migrations, integrations, and satisfied stakeholders with Diamond Support
  • Accelerated team collaboration and time to delivery for new features
  • Effortless scaling to meet unexpected surge in demand for critical web content


The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) is an international Japanese graduate university not only tasked with performing world-class research and science, but also supporting regional economic development. This expansive mandate places Micheal Cooper, Manager of Digital Content, Brand, and Design, and his colleagues at the center of sharing OIST’s work with the world in both Japanese and English, and it illustrates why a capable WebOps platform is critical to the sectino’s success.


The OIST team sought a cloud-native WepOps platform that would enable the team’s limited resources to manage its growing collection of sites and expanded mandate. In choosing to adopt Pantheon, the DCBD team aimed to improve collaboration, off-load routine support and maintenance, in order to focus on the user experience.

First, in an effort to off-load its management of Drupal core and module updates, OIST decided to utilize Pantheon’s Managed Updates, which provides fully governed CMS update detection, testing, and deployment.

To enable more efficient collaboration and faster iteration on new site features, Senior Developer, Chris Wu led the team in adopting Pantheon’s Multidev cloud-development tool, unlocking WebOps-level iteration and productivity. Multidev is included in all Gold support and above plans, and it enables developers to work independently and asynchronously to release new features.

Why Pantheon

In the spring of 2020, a COVID-19 research project from one of OIST’s professors was published online; soon after, scientists from around the world were flocking to the OIST website. With Pantheon’s Global CDN, the majority of the massive traffic spike was directed to cached content instead of OIST’s servers. “We didn’t even notice that we had a nearly 650% increase in traffic. We didn’t have to drop everything to deal with the sudden demand, freeing us to focus on promoting OIST’s contributions to Okinawa’s response to the pandemic.” says Micheal.

We didn’t even notice that we had a nearly 650% increase in traffic. We didn’t have to drop everything to deal with the sudden demand, freeing us to focus on promoting OIST’s contributions to Okinawa’s response to the pandemic.

—Micheal Cooper, Manager, Digital Content, Brand, and Design


By adopting Pantheon, the communications team was able to reclaim its resources from managing CMS updates, augment its team with a dedicated Customer Success Manager, accelerate its collaboration and time to delivery for new features, and scale for a massive traffic spike.

In leveraging Managed Updates, OIST has successfully redeployed its front-end development resources to focus on impact, instead of maintenance and credibility. According to Chris, “With such a small team — just keeping Drupal secure and up to date was so taxing that it was impossible to make a lot of progress, so Managed Updates has enabled us to spend more time on development.

Using Diamond Support, the team was able to spend less time fielding and remediating support issues. This added capacity came at a particularly good time, because managing website operations was begin moved to the communications team.

Managed Updates has enabled us to spend more time on development -- with such a small team just keeping Drupal secure and up to date was so taxing that it was impossible to really make a lot of progress.

—Chris Wu, Senior Web Developer

Opinions expressed here are those of OIST staff. The OIST Graduate University does not sponsor or endorse the products or services described.

Download the full Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) case study here.

Webinar Date Friday, November 6, 2020 - 12:45

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