Ragic: Switching to Google Compute Engine eliminates DDoS service disruption

About Ragic

Founded in 2008, Ragic develops and sells software that enables businesses to build web database applications. Partners of these businesses may also use Ragic to develop or customise database applications for them.

Industries: Technology
Location: Taiwan
Products: Compute Engine

By switching to Google Compute Engine overnight, Ragic protected itself against DDoS attacks that had previously rendered its service inaccessible.

Google Cloud Results

  • Eliminated system downtime caused by DDoS attacks that compromised its ability to provide services to customers, and improved stability
  • Delivered a better customer experience by cutting response times from up to 400 milliseconds to 200 milliseconds
  • Met data sovereignty requirements for customers in different markets

Zero downtime since moving to Google Compute Engine

Ragic software provides online database management, collaboration, report generation, query building, and file storage integration capabilities. According to Jeff Kuo, Founder, Ragic software presents an easy to use, flexible option for businesses that want an alternative to packaged software systems that may not meet all their needs. “Vendors in the enterprise resource planning or customer relationship management system markets typically market large software packages designed to meet the needs of all the customers they want to do business with,” he says. “However, these packages can require considerable time and resources to maintain, while not actually meeting all the specific needs of a business without additional customisation work.”

According to Kuo, Ragic can easily be adapted to customers’ individual requirements and is simple enough to enable team members outside IT departments to create web-based database systems. The company’s message is clearly resonating in international markets: Ragic customers include globally recognised United States universities and technology companies.

Ragic, Inc. started marketing Ragic software in 2010 and elected to do so from a multi-tenant hosted platform. However, as the platform’s profile increased, so did the volume of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks by individuals or groups. By late 2015, Ragic started to experience some network instability that affected the service provided to customers.

On Christmas Day that year, disruption caused by the DDoS attacks escalated and by 2 January, 2016, customers and the Ragic support team reported they were unable to connect to the company’s servers. By the afternoon, the platform provider had effectively shut down traffic to its primary data centre, which meant none of the Ragicservers were visible to the company or its customers. “In the end, there was nothing we could do but wait until the provider resolved the issue,” says Kuo.

“The interface for Google Compute Engine within Google Cloud Platform was considerably more modern and intuitive than the interface of the equivalent product on the other service. In fact, the entire cloud platform was more modern and clearly designed with much less baggage than the alternative.”

Jeff Kuo, Founder, Ragic

While waiting for service to be restored, Kuo decided Ragic should at least understand the implications of moving its servers to another environment. Having previously used a cloud service offered by a multinational company, he elected to quickly review Google Compute Engine.

“The interface for Google Compute Engine within Google Cloud Platform (GCP) was considerably more modern and intuitive than the interface of the equivalent product on the other service,” says Kuo. “In fact, the entire cloud platform was more modern and clearly designed with much less baggage than the alternative.”

Furthermore, Google operated a data centre in Taiwan where nearly one third (30%) of Ragic customers are based. “This means the connections for those customers in particular will be a lot better and for a variety of reasons, including data sovereignty and support, they prefer to have a data centre in their own country,” says Kuo.

Finally, Ragic welcomed the ease of accessing Google Compute Engine functionality that encrypted data at rest, which the company viewed as extremely important in protecting the enterprise-grade data used on its service.

The ease of use of Google Compute Engine enabled Ragic to migrate from its existing platform to a stable and highly secure environment in just one night. “We found it extremely easy to set up virtual compute instances in Google Compute Engine,” says Kuo. “On the night of 2 January, 2016, I was able to use the brief moments that our connection to our incumbent provider was available to set up all of our servers in Google Compute Engine and move our data across to Google.”

“We have had no service disruptions or degradation due to DDoS attacks–either to our underlying platform or the application itself–since we moved to Google Compute Engine. We do have alert tools that notify us when we are under attack and we have not received any of these since we moved to Google about 18 months ago.”

Jeff Kuo, Founder, Ragic

Ragic is now operating a hybrid architecture based on Google Compute Engine and incorporating storage, mail, content delivery, and domain name system web services from different providers. Because the business accesses most of these services through application programming interfaces, using multiple providers has not proved to be any impediment to operating efficiently, flexibly, and cost-effectively.

In May 2017, Ragic was running five Google Compute Engine standard virtual machine instances across Taiwan, the United States, and Europe to meet the compute requirements of the Ragic software

Greater stability to improve performance and availability

The migration to Google Compute Engine has delivered a range of benefits to Ragic, including stabilising the service to improve performance and availability, and blocking the threat posed by DDoS attacks. “We have had no service disruptions or degradation due to DDoS attacks – either to our underlying platform or the application itself – since we moved to Google Compute Engine,” Kuo points out. “We do have alert tools that notify us when we are under attack and we have not received any of these since we moved to Google about 18 months ago. We have been continuously improving our availability and for the most recent month, we’ve reached nearly 100%.”

This robust performance is also due to the fact that Ragic can add extra disk space to its virtual machine instances without scheduling downtime to complete the required work.

Faster response times

Running virtual machine instances close to large contingents of users in Taiwan, the United States, and Europe has enabled users to connect to a local server to help ensure faster response times. “The machines themselves are quite a bit quicker than those we were using previously, and we’ve improved response times from countries accessing our instances in the United States from up to 400 milliseconds to about 200 milliseconds,” Kuo says.

By deploying instances in Europe, Ragic has been able to help ensure that its European customers can comply with data sovereignty and governance requirements.

Ragic is extremely pleased with the stability of its architecture and, particularly, Google Compute Engine since the start of 2016. The business is evaluating whether other Google Cloud services such as Google Natural Language API can deliver further efficiencies to its operations. “We don’t really have many issues that Google should address and it is extremely quick at providing status updates and information as we need them,” says Kuo.

About Ragic

Founded in 2008, Ragic develops and sells software that enables businesses to build web database applications. Partners of these businesses may also use Ragic to develop or customise database applications for them.

Industries: Technology
Location: Taiwan
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