iPromote offers a complete turnkey online advertising solution that encompasses ad creation, bidding, serving, analytics and reporting for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMB). Its aim is to optimize the micro-budget of SMBs with an efficient plan that reaches target audiences using high-traffic channels including MSN, Yahoo, The Weather Channel, CBS News, CNN, Accuweather and Facebook.
iPromote’s platform is sold through enterprise resellers, providing their sales forces with the technical tools and solutions needed to sell online advertising to SMBs. iPromote’s customers are mostly based in the U.S., but it also operates in Europe and Australia.
Founded in 2006 and based in central California, iPromote has 30 employees manning operations over a massive platform capacity. It serves hundreds of millions of advertisements in the ad-tech space every month, which requires high-performance systems that enable low latency for sub-millisecond reaction times.
“We're able to take more traffic and we're spending less money. It’s altogether a win. It would have taken us more time to do this on our own and the internal resources wouldn’t have been available for this type of initiative for at least a year.”
The obstacles they faced
iPromote was due to renew the reservation for its Windows fleet at the end of 2020 for its primary Microsoft workloads, which run its demand side platform (DSP), AdXpert Engine. AdXpert enables real-time bidding on ad auctions and generates performance analytics.
iPromote was running hundreds of cores across its fleet of instances. There was a cost premium on these instances because they ran the Windows operating system. Its infrastructure was compute-intensive, with a high ratio of cores to memory. And while the performance was very good, iPromote knew that this was a very expensive way to operate.
In its search for ways to reduce operational costs, iPromote also wanted to modernize applications and simplify its operations. One potential solution was to migrate to .NET Core, which would enable a switch from Windows to Linux on AWS.
The licence renewal deadline dictated an aggressive timeline of three months. iPromote’s exisiting software utilized .NET Framework, which required incorporating multiple development cycles into the transition plan. The goal was to move to .NET Core, which can be run on Linux, providing flexibility for innovation and growth.
By migrating to Linux, iPromote would be able to optimize its consumption of compute resources while simultaneously eliminating current and future costs associated with the cost premium on the servers that run Windows.
“From my perspective, this project was a win, from top to bottom — from an education perspective and for the AWS funding options. It's a win/win.”
How we helped
By working with Onica (a Rackspace Technology company) iPromote was able to leverage funding from the AWS-sponsored Microsoft Modernization Initiative. This helped to get the project started quickly while conserving resources during a period of economic uncertainty caused by the global pandemic.
The initial engagement involved a discovery phase, during which Onica planned the application migration and outlined the technical and financial aspects. Through this early collaboration, trust was built between the Onica and iPromote teams that enabled the fast-tracking of later stages of the project.
Next, Onica refactored .NET legacy applications to .NET Core on AWS, which involved converting code, replacing legacy libraries and updating legacy codebases to be compatible. Modernization also included identifying and resolving performance issues to ensure the application behaved as intended.
Through application modernization, iPromote also updated its processes by learning DevOps best practices and adopting the agile methodology leveraged by the Onica team. By December 2020, iPromote was able to reserve its server fleet at a lower cost per instance, which saved a considerable amount of money in the same calendar year as the project began.
After the initial engagement ended in December, iPromote went live independently in February, but discovered some issues in production. To accommodate a very high volume of transactions, several instances required size increases.
Onica continued to work with iPromote after the initial release to resolve the unusual behavior in the production system. Harnesses were built to test aspects in isolation, and a workload baseline was established that helped to identify one of the major issues. The performance, stability and efficiency of the system were further enhanced during this follow-up engagement.
iPromote reduced licensing fees by 58% with a migration to .NET Core leveraging Linux on AWS.
What we achieved together
iPromote optimized costs with a .NET modernization and by migrating to Linux on AWS. Significant savings were found in the lower price of Linux instances, which cost 58% less than Windows instances. Licensing alone translated to savings of thousands of dollars every year. And by working with Onica, iPromote was able to eliminate future Windows licensing costs, further contributing to the long-term cost savings it expects.
The iPromote development team gained knowledge of application migration and adopted an agile methodology that will fuel future innovation and growth. Performance optimization processes have been built into the production environment, improving efficiency and stability. In the future, iPromote has plans to work with Onica to optimize its data management systems.
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