Instal: Bringing mobile applications to the right audience

About Instal

Founded in 2014, Italy-based Instal is a mobile marketing platform designed to match mobile apps with their top-fitting users.

Industries: Other
Location: Italy

With Google Kubernetes Engine, Instal built a stable, more secure infrastructure designed to scale at speed and maintain high-quality service to its customers

Google Cloud Results

  • Handles extreme spikes in traffic with Google Kubernetes autoscaling features
  • Improves performance and scalability for the same cost as its previous solution
  • Reduces DevOps burden with a hosted and highly automated infrastructure

Italian startup Instal combines technical expertise with behavioral insight to help mobile app developers target the right audience and gain traction in a competitive environment. Founded in 2014, as an internal project of the incubator Nana Bianca, the Instal platform has facilitated millions of downloads and the company has expanded beyond Italy to offices in Berlin and Beijing.

Ability to scale operations 10X without compromising performance

“A solution like Google Cloud Platform is very welcome to startups. Google has built very useful developer tools, and combined with the initial free credit for startups, it allows you to start experimenting with infrastructure and access prime services without losing money.”

Adrian Sordi, Acceleration Program Director, Nana Bianca

As Instal grew, it began to strain the limits of its infrastructure and by the end of 2016, the company began to look for a new solution, focused on scalability. Instal looked to its founding studio and partner Nana Bianca for help. Nana Bianca was also looking for an infrastructure solution for the startups in its acceleration program and after some searching, it arrived at Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

“A solution like Google Cloud Platform is very welcome to startups,” says Adrian Sordi, Acceleration Program Director at Nana Bianca. “Google has built very useful developer tools, and combined with the initial free credit for startups, it allows you to start experimenting with infrastructure and access prime services without losing money.”

Secure, scalable infrastructure

With the number of apps available on various stores in the billions, mobile app developers have a hard task standing out from the crowd. Instal offers its customers a way of targeting the right audience to increase app usage. To do that, it has to analyze historical and real-time behaviors at scale and at speed to find, catch, and connect new users.

Starting with a cloud-based infrastructure, Instal was initially able to stay lean and keep performance high. But as its user base expanded, its existing infrastructure solution ran into problems. Instal could only scale its operations manually, which took up increasing amounts of IT resources. In addition, after partnering with a large app developer, Instal began to see large spikes in traffic for an hour or two every day. Accommodating such a spike with the company’s existing infrastructure was impossible without scaling up for the whole 24 hours, so the company looked for more efficient ways to manage its infrastructure.

“Google Kubernetes Engine makes it very easy to roll out new infrastructure versions on the code repository. It’s scalable infrastructure already. It’s versioned, you can roll it back—you don’t have to do anything except copy and paste.”

Saverio Mucci, Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder, Instal

After evaluating its options, with the help of its partner, Nana Bianca, Instal chose Google Cloud Platform for its scalability, ease of management, and its expertise in ad tech solutions. “As an advertiser, Google deals with the same kind of problems that we do,” says Saverio Mucci, CTO and Co-founder at Instal. “It made sense to go with them.”

Replacing its previous infrastructure with Kubernetes clusters managed with Google Kubernetes Engine allowed Instal to automate scaling at peak periods and reduce its DevOps burden. With Google Cloud Pub/Sub, Instal set up a queueing system that could integrate its processes, whatever the load on its servers. Google Cloud Storage provided a safer, more secure backup and archive solution, while the storage connector let Instal run Hadoop jobs in GCP without any fuss. Meanwhile, Instal Business Intelligence analysts could use a Google BigQuery web interface to analyze data without compromising original files.

“Google Kubernetes Engine makes it very easy to roll out new infrastructure versions on the code repository,” says Saverio. “It’s scalable infrastructure already. It’s versioned, you can roll it back—you don’t have to do anything except copy and paste the boilerplate code.”

“The main advantage is that we’re getting better performance and improved features for the same price. Our developers can work on the product now instead of worrying about the configuration of services.”

Saverio Mucci, Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder, Instal

Scaling up and down with ease

With Google Cloud Platform, Instal built a stable, more secure infrastructure designed to handle rapid growth and extreme peaks of traffic without adding to the company’s DevOps burden. With autoscaling features in GCP, Instal can easily handle traffic spikes from 1,000 to 5,000 requests per second, without compromising on performance for its customers. Meanwhile, flexible pricing from Google, and the ability to scale up and down to meet demand, has helped keep costs down even as GCP features expand and performance improves.

“The main advantage is that we’re getting better performance and improved features for the same price,” says Saverio. “Our developers can work on the product now, instead of worrying about the configuration of services.”

High performance, global reach

As GCP evolves and develops new features, Instal continues to look for new ways to improve its service. The company is looking forward to working with Google Cloud SQL replication for PostgreSQL to improve its database performance. Meanwhile, it is also experimenting with TensorFlow and Google Cloud AI machine learning tools to develop a recommendation algorithm for its customers. With further expansion expected across the world, latency and response times have become an important issue. Instal is currently looking into deploying multi-region Kubernetes clusters to tap into the Google global network and help ensure a high-quality service to its customers, no matter where they are.

“The support of the Google team in Milan has been amazing so far,” says Saverio. “It’s much closer than a simple supplier-customer relationship. We’re definitely building best practices here.”

About Instal

Founded in 2014, Italy-based Instal is a mobile marketing platform designed to match mobile apps with their top-fitting users.

Industries: Other
Location: Italy
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Try Kubernetes Engine, BigQuery, and other Cloud Platform products with $300 in free credit and 12 months.

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