As Webpals (https://www.webpals.com), the leaders in performance-based advertising, grew at a fast pace around the world, MoovingOn helped them behind the scenes to always stay connected.
Webpals group deals with performance-based digital marketing via a combination of a variety of the company’s own content driven websites and campaigns across all advertising channels. The company operates thousands of websites dedicated to 20 global markets, translated into over 15 languages. Using advanced technology, Webpals is able to automatically and optimally tailor an ad specifically to the needs of their customers, providing them with the best ratio of cost of advertising vs. successful engagement of the target audience.
With over 400 employees, Webpals serves customers all over the world, which means they are committed to 24/7 availability, with their customers as well as internal systems like customer service, content management and more.
Webpals business rely on the performance and availability of their infrastructure, and failures or disruptions of the service immediately influence company’s revenue. The main challenges for Webpals DevOps and IT were:
- Managing hundreds of servers with maximum connectivity and availability
- Implementation of knowledge management and rapid development processes
- Meeting the varied needs of the company’s customers
- Implementing a DR solution for fast recovery for the most sensitive sites.
MoovingON’s solution was built on two complimentary services: External management and operations of the 24/7 NOC through a team of MoovingON professionals, and support throughout DevOps teams and processes.
“Before MoovingON, our solutions were based on monitoring tools that couldn’t provide us with detailed data, only information about whether a server was up or down,” says Alya West, head of the Web Production team at Webpals.
Like other High-tech companies that rapidly grew from zero, most of the company’s effort was focused on service development and revenue generation without too much focus on creating organized processes for monitoring and escalation. The company was also expected to successfully manage and maintain the thousands of websites it operates, while using various technologies without synchronized processes across the board, preventing the management and efficiency of their services. In addition, some of the company’s websites are considered more important than others and therefore, their lack of availability is critical. In the company’s current state, these servers wouldn’t always get priority regarding fixing problems, leaving the team to fix it first, only if they were aware the site was given priority.
This has also put a strain on the team’s working hours. Servers that fall in the middle of the night or over the weekend demanded someone from the team to wake up and respond. In a few cases, websites had been down for a few hours due to the team’s general lack of awareness of the site being down.
“We’ve reached a point where a NOC is a must,” says West. The options considered by the company was to depend on external services or employ an internal team. The company then tested the expense of services conducted abroad vs. building an internal team, and at the end of the whole process, decided to go with MoovingON.
Getting to 24/7 uptime
MoovingON’s solution is to manage the NOC and offer professional availability 24/7/365. The NOC team at MoovingON is experienced, undergoes regular training sessions, and as a result of their exposure to various problems, they can offer tried-and-true solutions in new technologies. MoovingON’s services offers this knowledge immediately to the company’s customers, preventing the need for expensive recruitment and training of employees in the field, as well as the advantage of the highly professional services in a short time. WebPals works in the AWS environment by Amazon, and because MoovingON is an AWS certified partner, the integration of both teams was seamless and efficient.
West explains, “building a team of professionals available 24×7 is an expensive process, and upon testing the services available overseas, the conclusion is that most of them rely on unskilled personnel in various countries. We couldn’t allow ourselves to leave these critical services in the hands of such companies. With MoovingON’s local team of professionals, the Webpals group can easily meet and speak without having to consider time zones.”
The first stage of the project was implementing a monitoring system, which was completed within a month, after which many other projects were added such as support throughout DevOps processes, advanced server management, establishment of a processes handbook (RunBook), Dashboard construction for real-time data processing and planning of the disaster recovery system (DR). MoovingON improved WebPals DR system to provide for better scalability and made it smarter and easy to operate.
MoovingON has changed WebPals’ operations from reacting to problems, to controlling them and planning ahead. Using MoovingON’s services, problems in servers have reduced by tens of precents, allowing their teams to free up time for development instead of putting out fires.
Availability has significantly increased – monthly unavailability is now measured in minutes instead of hours. This high uptime is also reflected in the speed of the company’s DevOps response in the event of a server crash. Internal customers of the company, for which such a crash means immediate revenue loss, received a faster response, and servers returned to activity in a shorter time, which is reflected in the bottom line – reducing revenue loss. A big part of these instances, due to the implementation of a strong and efficient server monitoring system, is that teams were able to respond and deal with the malfunction before the client even experienced any service unavailability, leading to high level of satisfaction. MoovingON’s processes prioritized more important servers so teams could handle malfunctions as per their importance.
“Now we sleep at night and on the weekends,” says West smiling. By designing and optimizing the DR server, any server crash that occurs in the middle of the night, doesn’t demand an immediate response from our team but rather, automatically performs a recovery process. The teams can now deal with and examine problems at a convenient time, which prevents staff burnout and loss of working hours as a result of irregular working hours.
Webpals team is now focused on optimizing performance speed and planning for future growth, with continuous improvement of availability and the possibility of implementing new technologies. Many of the manual processes they previously employed are now being done automatically and the teams are constantly boosting their automation capabilities.