Ingenious: From maintenance to innovation with Managed Services

About Ingenious Technologies

Ingenious Technologies creates marketing data solutions to help clients gather, structure, and enhance sensitive data around digital interactions.

Industries: Technology
Location: Germany

Ingenious Technologies engineers spent 30 to 40% of their time maintaining systems. With Google Cloud Platform managed services, that figure is now down to less than 5%, giving them more time to innovate and add value.

Google Cloud Results

  • Couples cost savings with stability by deploying Preemptible VMs with Kubernetes
  • Reduces the time engineers spend on maintenance from 30% of working hours to less than 5%
  • Cuts monthly infrastructure costs by 40%

Managed services free up to 30% of engineers’ time

By providing and powering digital marketing solutions, Ingenious Technologies helps clients gather, structure, and enhance their digital marketing data. “We offer a white-label private network platform for companies that want to retain control over their brand and relationships when running their marketing,” says Mitun Pandey, Head of Product Management. “Our product provides sophisticated first-party tracking, enabling a complete overview of your partnerships and customers, combined with a robust financial suite, to manage billing runs across all of your advertisers and partners.”

“It took a lot of manual effort from our engineers to maintain our system, which was mainly based on about 150 VMs. We treated each of them like a pet, tending to its individual needs. That made us less secure and less willing to experiment. We needed a new approach.”

Siamak Haschemi, CEO, Ingenious Technologies

Ingenious Technologies stands out in a competitive marketplace by taking an open, independent approach. “We're a truly independent marketing technology provider,” says Mitun. “That means we don't care who you work with, we just want to enable you to be able to work with them. We don't have a vested interest in any particular vendors.”

To make that expansive set of services available, Ingenious Technologies needs to meet an array of infrastructure demands. Increasingly, maintaining that infrastructure became a problem, as Siamak Haschemi, the company’s CEO, explains: “It took a lot of manual effort from our engineers to maintain our system, which was mainly based on about 150 VMs. We treated each of them like a pet, tending to its individual needs. That made us less secure and less willing to experiment. We needed a new approach.”

Minimizing maintenance with Kubernetes and Google Kubernetes Engine

For any company, maintaining IT infrastructure demands time and expertise, reducing the share of time engineers can spend on adding value. At Ingenious Technologies, the team recognized that maintenance tasks impede innovation in other ways, too.

“You can form an emotional attachment with technology, the same as anything else,” says Siamak. “Our ability to experiment wasn’t just held back by the time that we had to invest into keeping our system running. An engineer who has poured his or her heart and soul into running, optimizing, and updating a VM, is much less likely to run experiments on it. With more disposable infrastructure, the mind can be more free.”

Alongside that drive to create a new development culture, the team could see that their “pet” approach to VMs would not scale to meet increasing customer demands and rising data volumes. That’s why, in March 2017, Ingenious Technologies made the decision to move to Kubernetes.

“To migrate databases to Cloud SQL, we minimized downtime by doing the migration in a few hours at night. For speed, we scaled Cloud SQL to a ridiculous CPU and memory size. When it was done, we scaled it down again. That flexibility is what the cloud is all about.”

Siamak Haschemi, CEO, Ingenious Technologies

“We wanted a managed Kubernetes infrastructure, but we didn't want to create another level of maintenance,” says Siamak. “The only public cloud provider that provided that kind of deep integration was Google Cloud Platform. The Kubernetes project initiated by Google engineers and Google has 15 years of experience running containerized applications.”

Siamak and his team managed the entire migration in six months, a swift transition made possible by the flexibility and scaling speed of Google Cloud Platform (GCP). “To migrate databases to Cloud SQL, we minimized downtime by doing the migration in a few hours at night,” says Siamak, giving one example. “For speed, we scaled Cloud SQL to a ridiculous CPU and memory size. When it was done, we scaled it down again. That flexibility is what the cloud is all about.”

Because GCP security updates are automatic, Ingenious Technologies can minimize the potential for security failures due to human error while preparing for threats before they emerge. “We recently faced a major issue with the Meltdown and Spectre attacks, which could have breached security and compromised data,” says Siamak. “It was great to have Google announce, ‘Hey, you know what, we already updated the system four months ago.’ Well before the issue was even picked up by the press.”

Managed services on GCP improve availability, too. “We had regular incidents of downtime in the past affecting key modules, such as our partner management system,” says Siamak. “All of those problems just went away when we moved to GCP. Our VMs are more stable, databases are more stable, and that’s reduced the number of support tickets we receive, so we know it’s helping to build trust with our customers.”

Kubernetes on Google Kubernetes Engine underpins that stability, helping to ensure that the Ingenious Technologies architecture is operational and has the infrastructure it needs to run—all day, every day.

“There’s no intrinsic value in waking an engineer up at 3 a.m. to restart a failed VM,” says Siamak. “I wanted to get rid of repetitive manual tasks like that, so that engineers can make the best use of their time and talents. Kubernetes works 24/7, so we don’t have to.”

Preemptible VMs with Google Kubernetes Engine for cost-effective reliability

Ingenious Technologies currently runs one-third of its workload on Preemptible VMs to reduce operational expenses. To do that, first the team identified those elements of its software which could safely tolerate interruptions, such as offline batch jobs, stream-processing applications, and stateless API containers, and catch up on previous work. Then it used Kubernetes and Google Kubernetes Engine to run those processes on Preemptible VMs, so that the VMs could be automatically replaced when they were withdrawn. The combination has proved so successful that up to half of the company’s clusters may soon include Preemptible VMs.

“Kubernetes and Preemptible VMs are a great match,” says Siamak. “With Kubernetes to manage our scheduling, we know that if Google withdraws a Preemptible VM, Google Kubernetes Engine will automatically bring another instance back, so there’s no impact on reliability. Having regular changes in the running system due to restarts also helps to identify potential problems with legacy, non-cloud-native applications, which assume a stable environment. And of course, Preemptible VMs are an easy way for us to keep costs down.”

“Using Google Cloud Platform has closed the gap between what I want to achieve and what we can achieve. I feel that anything is possible now. Without hiring more engineers, we can do significantly more than we were able to before partnering with Google.”

Siamak Haschemi, CEO, Ingenious Technologies

Energizing engineers for an enthusiastic, innovative team

Before implementing GCP, Ingenious Technologies engineers spent between 30% and 40% of their time maintaining their systems and infrastructure. Across the board, that figure is now down to less than 5%. At the same time, Ingenious Technologies has cut monthly infrastructure costs by 40%.

Siamak believes that the largest gains, however, may be unquantifiable and consist of the enthusiasm, energy, and potential that has been brought to the team’s engineers. Already using Google BigQuery to analyze costs through Google Data Studio BETA, that team now plans to explore further implementation of the service as a data warehouse, among other projects.

“Using Google Cloud Platform has closed the gap between what I want to achieve and what we can achieve,” says Siamak. “I feel that anything is possible now. Without hiring more engineers, we can do significantly more than we were able to before partnering with Google.”

About Ingenious Technologies

Ingenious Technologies creates marketing data solutions to help clients gather, structure, and enhance sensitive data around digital interactions.

Industries: Technology
Location: Germany
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12 Months FREE TRIAL

Try Kubernetes Engine, BigQuery, and other Cloud Platform products with $300 in free credit and 12 months.

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