Easypromos: Gaming the system with a cloud-based infrastructure

About Easypromos

Easypromos is a global leader in digital promotions offering an easy-to-use solution to create and manage digital campaigns across any platform.

Industries: Technology
Location: Spain

About Ackstorm

With over 16 years of experience, Ackstorm is a team of experts in the design, implementation, and administration of cloud platforms for online business.

With Compute Engine and Cloud Load Balancing, Easypromos built a scalable, managed infrastructure, designed to handle big peaks in traffic.

Google Cloud Results

  • Makes average load times three times faster with Compute Engine virtual machines
  • Frees IT staff from maintenance work, allowing them to focus on building new products
  • Enables the company to take on new customers and bigger projects with a robust, reliable infrastructure

Reduced infrastructure maintenance time by 95%

Over the last few years, quizzes, trivia, sweepstakes, and contests have exploded in popularity on social media. It’s therefore no surprise that Easypromos would find itself searching for ways to scale rapidly. Founded in 2010, Easypromos offers a digital marketing platform to create and manage competitions and promotions across a range of social media networks and the internet. In the company’s first year, the Easypromos app was targeted at the Spanish language market, but it quickly grew to sell its products in more than 90 countries across the world and translated its app to 30 languages.

“We reached a point where we were spending too much time setting up servers to support high traffic. It was an easy decision to move our infrastructure to the cloud.”

Carles Bonfill, Founder and CEO, Easypromos

With its depth of knowledge and experience, Easypromos has earned a reputation for reliable, effective campaigns that convert large numbers of visitors into active participants. By mid-2015, however, Easypromos’ on-premises infrastructure was limiting the amount of high-profile competitions the company could launch. Easypromos needed a new, highly scalable infrastructure that could handle a large amount of traffic in a very short time. It turned to Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

“We reached a point where we were spending too much time setting up servers to support high traffic,” says Carles Bonfill, Founder and CEO at Easypromos. “It was an easy decision to move our infrastructure to the cloud.”

From on-premises maintenance to cloud-based simplicity

Running digital competitions and promotions comes with a unique set of challenges. Since 2010, Easypromos has been working with several different types of campaigns, from surveys to sweepstakes to quizzes, as well as different platforms, whether through social media or the web. Over time, the company built up a wealth of knowledge and honed its expertise with these specialized promotions, delivering high conversion rates to the company’s happy customers.

On the technical side, each campaign also had to be able to withstand large volumes of traffic in a very short period of time, especially when dealing with a celebrity launch or well-known brands. A launch day outage was not an option for Easypromos or its customers, so the company did all it could to prepare its servers for high traffic.

As Easypromos became more successful and generated more customers, this strategy began to take more of a toll on the IT department. “Our team is good,” says Carles, “but we were spending too much time setting up and prepping the servers.” This meant that Easypromos had to limit the number of projects it took on so as to maintain the company’s premium service. Carles and the IT team knew that it was time to move to a cloud-based infrastructure, but with no experience in this technology they needed expert help.

In late 2015, Easypromos teamed up with Ackstorm, a Spanish consultancy that specializes in cloud technologies and a Google Cloud Premier Partner. “We wanted a local partner that would really try and understand our problems,” says Carles. “We talked about the challenges I had and very shortly they proposed a clear solution that would be ideal for us. I liked what I heard.”

“Cloud Identity and Access Management has made everything simpler for us. If an employee leaves, for example, with just one click we can make sure they don’t have any access to sensitive materials.”

Carles Bonfill, Founder and CEO, Easypromos

Compute Engine for scalability, reliability, and flexibility

After evaluating the leading cloud solutions, Easypromos and Ackstorm chose to implement Google Cloud Platform for the new architecture. “In this case, for performance and price, Google was the best solution we found,” says Josep Aguilera, Cloud Architect and Data Engineer at Ackstorm. Working in two phases to minimize disruption, Easypromos and Ackstorm completed the migration to GCP by mid-2016. Virtual machines in Compute Engine constituted the core of the new infrastructure. The addition of Cloud Load Balancing meant that the frontend of Easypromos’ apps and microsites could handle large traffic spikes and surges much more reliably than before, because they were able to take advantage of Google’s high-performance, global network. Cloud Storage was an ideal solution for more securely holding important assets and documents. Ackstorm also used Stackdriver for logging and monitoring the system and providing Easypromos with a detailed report on pricing as well as performance, helping the company take advantage of flexible pricing rates with Google.

With GCP, Easypromos and Ackstorm also had the flexibility to integrate with third-party and open source tools, such as MySQL and Jenkins. The migration team created a customized docker solution that could replicate and deploy new containers almost instantly, helping Easypromos scale at speed without having to sink costs into buying and configuring new hardware. In addition, Ackstorm helped to create an automated updating and snapshot solution to minimize software problems during updates and help ensure that should the system go down, it could be easily brought back online.

An added bonus of GCP was the transparency and control it gave Easypromos over permissions. With the company already using G Suite, everyone could use single sign-on to log in to the system without having to create extra profiles or security protocols. Keeping track of who had access to what became far simpler than before, thanks to Cloud Identity and Access Management (Cloud IAM).

“Cloud Identity and Access Management has made everything simpler for us. If an employee leaves, for example, with just one click we can make sure they don’t have any access to sensitive materials.”

“Within three months, we were already saving 95% of our time in infrastructure maintenance. We could then use that time to do what we know best: develop new features for the platform like a prize management system or a new, much-demanded design template.”

Carles Bonfill, Founder and CEO, Easypromos

Maximizing performance, minimizing disruption

With GCP and Ackstorm, Easypromos built a new infrastructure that could scale to meet the company’s varying needs while improving performance. Since switching to GCP, Easypromos’ page load average has become three times faster, loading in 150 milliseconds compared to 450 milliseconds on the old servers. Meanwhile, since bringing in a dockerized solution, the company has not experienced a single software update issue since the migration. Perhaps the biggest effect has been on the IT team, who no longer has to maintain and operate on-site servers.

“Within three months, we were already saving 95% of our time in infrastructure maintenance,” says Carles. “We could then use that time to do what we know best: develop new features for the platform like a prize management system or a new, much-demanded design template.”

Since the migration, Easypromos has continued to thrive and it continues to look for new ways to optimize its infrastructure. The company is currently exploring Cloud SQL as a tool for its data needs, which would help integration with the GCP core and help improve its scalability. Meanwhile, Easypromos has been able to expand and work with bigger clients than ever before, knowing that its infrastructure can better meet even the most challenging jobs.

“We can supply over a dozen front-end servers to meet hundreds of thousands of requests in just two clicks!” says Carles. “It’s helped us jump to bigger corporate clients with full confidence.”

About Easypromos

Easypromos is a global leader in digital promotions offering an easy-to-use solution to create and manage digital campaigns across any platform.

Industries: Technology
Location: Spain

About Ackstorm

With over 16 years of experience, Ackstorm is a team of experts in the design, implementation, and administration of cloud platforms for online business.

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