Aug 10, 2020

How Online Courses Platform became all serverless!

Case study

30%

30%

    saved on each hosting bill

5 months

5 months

    implementation period

98%

98%

    of time saved on deployment: from 25 minutes up to 30 seconds

About Online Courses Platform

Online Courses Platform (OCP) is a SaaS which provides enterprise customers with the ability to create, manage and distribute video and text courses mainly for their internal needs.

Challenge
OCP used a fleet of EC2, RDS and self-managed MongoDB instances to host their application. OCP was rapidly developing and obtained about 2000 concurrent users 5 days a week with an unpredictable traffic spikes reaching 30%.
OCP started facing problems guaranteeing proper SLA during the traffic spikes and noticed a large increase of a hosting bill.

Solution
Alpacked's team made a discovery and found the following key processes that were generating most of the load on OCP servers and were impacting overall performance.

We suggested a migration towards serverless technologies which resulted in:

  • Migration from MongoDB to DynamoDB 
  • Getting rid of RDS 
  • Utilization of DynamoDB DAX for Read Operations Cache 
  • Utilization of CloudFront and S3 for efficient CDN and content signing 
  • Utilization of Cognito for Authentication 
  • Utilization of CloudFormation for IaC 

Obstacles
During the CDN implementation Alpacked noticed multiple OCP frontend requirements to the forwarded headers.
This way, it was needed to forward Accept, Accept-Encoding, Referer, Host and query string parameters which increased the amount of requests needed by CloudFront to cache various content and also increased the hosting bill.
Alpacked ended up with a much more explicit behavior configuration which included different rules for js files, css, html, images and fonts, etc. Advanced behavior content configuration allowed to minimize the impact of whitelisted cache headers:

Outcomes
The migration has resulted in delegating the biggest part of operations to AWS.
OCP started focusing more on business tasks instead of struggling to keep up with changing traffic patterns and hosting bills. Infrastructure complexity has decreased to a complete IaC and a one-click deployment.

Hosting bills decreased by 30%. It became easier to maintain guaranteed SLA as scalability issues were offloaded to AWS.

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