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Start.io is a marketing and audience platform with a global coverage. It empowers the mobile app ecosystem and simplifies mobile marketing, audience building and mobile monetization.
Start.io’s direct integration with over 500,000 monthly active mobile apps provides access to unprecedented levels of global first-party data, which can be leveraged to understand and predict behaviors, identify new opportunities, and fuel growth.
Powered by a hybrid cloud infrastructure, Start.io currently serves about 2 billion monthly unique users. In order to keep up with its user requests – which had reached around 1.5 million per second and were continuing to climb – Start.io needed a way to expand its infrastructure rapidly, without disrupting the operations of its existing services.
Start.io’s hybrid infrastructure was based on bare-metal IaaS and a cloud provider. 80% of the traffic was served over the on-premises infrastructure, while the remaining 20% scaled out to the public cloud. Business needs required Start.io’s infrastructure to support rapid growth of 200% and 300%, hence the hybrid solution of 80%-20% required a revision.
When situations like these arise, it is obvious that the entire IT infrastructure should be hosted by one of the “Big 3” cloud providers. However, Start.io’s engineering requirements were to utilize the same tools and technologies already used on-premises, along with other unique challenges.
Start.io worked with GlobalDots to find a cloud provider that will meet its exceptional engineering requirements (alongside business needs) – to have unlimited scale with modern GitOps approach and capabilities to build its infrastructure with the existing high standards.
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) ended up being the unorthodox solution suggested by GlobalDots. There were several reasons behind this recommendation. The most important was that GlobalDots knew OCI would provide more flexibility to meet Start.io’s unique technical and business requirements, than the company would receive from one of the Big Three clouds. This flexibility was particularly important, considering that Start.io’s engineers didn’t want to rebuild their hosting environment from scratch in order to migrate. Instead, they wanted to lift-and-shift the environment – which consisted, to mention one example – Rancher Kubernetes clusters – into the cloud without having to overhaul it. That would have been difficult on a conventional cloud, whose Kubernetes services are not designed to be directly compatible with Rancher’s Kubernetes distribution.
“GlobalDots analyzed our entire estate and provided us with a cloud provider recommendation based on our specific needs,” said Motti Shpirer, VP Infrastructure & Technology at Start.io. “We came in with very specific requirements, which meant we needed a flexible solution that other cloud providers couldn’t deliver, surely not in an easy way”.
Alongside flexibility, OCI offered more compelling pricing for Start.io’s needs. One huge benefit is that OCI doesn’t charge for multiple availability zones. That meant that Start.io could spread its workloads across multiple zones to increase reliability, a key business goal given the company’s commitment to delivering a top-notch customer experience. Combined with the fact that OCI’s services are competitively priced, this advantage strengthened the appeal of Oracle.
In addition, thanks to the introduction by GlobalDots, Oracle engineers were made available to Start.io, and helped their team plan the hybrid-cloud migration step-by-step – as well as validate it at each stage in order to catch and fix issues before proceeding.
“That’s a huge benefit from a business perspective”, Shpirer said, as it means Start.io can now accommodate customers with less predictable traffic requirements. As proof, he mentioned a new client whose needs were initially expected to require about a 30% increase in load capacity for Start.io’s infrastructure, but which turned out to double the request rate. Thanks to the scalability and flexibility of the new hosting environment, that higher-than-anticipated demand was easy to meet – whereas it would have been a nightmare for the company’s previous infrastructure.
What makes the value of Start.io’s move to OCI even greater is that the company completed the migration with minimal disruption. With GlobalDots’s help, as well as assistance from the OCI engineering team, Start.io’s engineers planned a seamless migration process that allowed them to turn off their bare-metal server environment and turn on their new cloud-based clusters without a hitch.
“We took highly measured steps,” Shpirer explained. “Every time we moved something to the cloud, we made sure everything aligned and coordinated from A-Z. Often, when you move between vendors, you get a very complex process, but in our case – thanks to falling under the GlobalDots umbrella – the move was exceedingly smooth”.
GlobalDots also helped Start.io to minimize financial waste during the migration. By ensuring that the bare-metal environment could spin down as quickly as the new one was stood up, Start.io’s engineers avoided having to pay the costs of hosting two environments at once.
The challenge that Start.io faced from its inflexible infrastructure is a pretty common one today. But GlobalDots has the cloud migration and management experience necessary to know that the most common solution that companies in this boat follow – migrating to a Big Three public cloud – wasn’t the best approach in Start.io’s case.
Ultimately, the goal of Start.io was to seamlessly integrate its existing stack with an environment that was more scalable, flexible and customizable, while optimizing Compute, Storage and Object Storage services – in order to support the company’s rapid growth, and in consequence – provide better key business results.
Due to the expertise and guidance provided by GlobalDots and OCI, Start.io was able to migrate, build and run – and ensure it could scale quickly and securely, in a mechanism that was tailored to the organization’s unique, complex IT infrastructure needs.