Simplify runs surplus mobile data marketplace on Google Cloud Platform

Headquartered in Malaysia, Simplify markets an Android app that creates a marketplace for mobile consumers to resell or share surplus mobile data from their monthly data plans. The app also enables consumers to connect their mobile devices to hotspots auto-configured as a Simplify network without having to ask for or even input a Wi-Fi password.

The business effectively brings to mobile data the sharing economy popularized in other industries by companies such as Uber and Airbnb.

Challenge

Simplify decided to develop and deliver its mobile app using Android Studio. Following experiments with several public cloud services, the business realized the seamless integration between Android and Google Cloud Platform made selecting GCP to run the app a no-brainer.

Solution

“We were able to manage and seamlessly integrate Google App Engine in GCP with Android Studio, which streamlined the development and deployment of the backend of our app,” says Yen Pei Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Simplify. “We were able to build our web services quickly and easily, speeding up our concept prototyping.”

Simplify started building on the GCP environment in February 2016 and launched its service the following August. The simplicity of GCP combined with the skills and experience of the Simplify engineering team ensured the project was completed ahead of time. “The GCP user interfaces were so easy to use that our engineers needed less than three hours to learn how to use GCP in production,” says Yen Pei. The business was so convinced by the performance and capabilities of GCP it is now running all its key systems on the platform.

GCP enables Simplify to seamlessly create Google Compute Engine (GCE) instances and easily configure Google Cloud Load Balancing load balancers to optimize performance. Simplify can also choose a zone or region across the global GCP network to position its instances, giving the business the flexibility to expand into new markets. Furthermore, the business is using Cloud SDK to create snapshots for use in automated daily backups, providing protection against data loss.

Compute Engine virtual instances are supported by Firebase for app development and RabbitMQ for communication between different back-end processes. The ZooKeeper Plugin operates as a name server to enable each back end process to understand what other back end processes are running across the instances. Simplify is easily able to create additional GCP instances from the GCP instance template to support additional loads. The business also uses Cloud SDK to push all source code from local Git version control systems to Google repository.

GCP account and technical teams have provided support and advice that has helped Simplify reduce new release cycles and launch its app in new countries. The business now operates in several countries, including Malaysia, Singapore and the United States. The support from GCP is particularly welcome for a startup that operates only a four-person engineering team that needs to focus closely on app development. “We receive tremendous support from Google and its team, whom has been very active in this region,” Yen Pei says. “I sincerely appreciate their advice as to how we could fully utilize the capabilities of GCP to meet our needs.”

As its app matures and usage increases, Simplify plans to deploy the GCP BigQuery serverless enterprise data warehouse to analyze mobile connectivity data and provide more relevant, feature-rich services to customers.

Benefits

Using GCP, Simplify has reduced its average monthly costs relative to a previous major cloud provider by 23.73 percent while experiencing nearly zero downtime since the launch of the app in August 2016. The app has processed 8,500 hours of mobile data connection to date.

The high availability and rapid performance has positioned the business to keep expanding into new markets and to add value to the app. “We plan to continue leveraging GCP moving forward to add features such as a messaging service that will provide further value to our customers,” Yen Pei adds. “We’re extremely pleased with the support, the technology and the team that Google has provided to us.”

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