Privo Transforms MediaZilla’s System on AWS and Builds a Robust CI/CD Pipeline
“Being built on AWS and having an AWS Partner Network (APN) partner like Privo in our corner, we believe there is no limit to what we can do.”
Michael Guastamacchio, Co-Founder of Mediazilla
Going All-In on AWS from the Start
Michael Guastamacchio, co-founder of video streaming services company MediaZilla, is nostalgic about the time when DVDs and Blu-rays reigned supreme. A self-proclaimed media buff, he confesses to watching hours of deleted scenes, director’s comments, and highlight reels—features that have become often lost with the rise of video streaming.
With the video industry moving online, Guastamacchio and MediaZilla co-founder Jon Geddes observed a growing need to help deliver interactive capabilities for clients in the complex world of video production. “Video delivery is a nuanced, complex process. We want to save clients the time and headache of the technical work, making it seamless to create an interactive video experience that can be delivered to any device,” says Guastamacchio.
After starting MediaZilla with a successful proof of concept (PoC), Guastamacchio and Geddes made the decision early on to build the company’s video delivery platform on the cloud. And for the startup, the decision to build on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud was easy.
“AWS was ahead of the game,” says Guastamacchio. “Seeing the rate of innovation happening company-wide at Amazon and at AWS made it clear that Amazon’s values were in alignment with ours.” Given the global reach of AWS and the resources invested in new tools and services, MediaZilla felt AWS would provide the best development environment in both the short- and the long-term. “The AWS pre-built services make it possible for our small team to be nimble and work faster. We regularly take advantage of the native services and native tooling,” says Guastamacchio. “We have found AWS to be ultra-driven by what customers need—both in services and in price.
Adopting an “Automate Everything” Approach
Two years after MediaZilla launched a stable, scalable, and successful product, the team came to a crossroads when looking to the future. It was at this point that the team decided to rebuild the platform they’d launched on AWS. “Our first environment met our need for going to market,” says Guastamacchio. “But our goal was to support larger clients, and we had a new, clear product road map in place that required more room for innovation and a greater need to develop and scale quickly and efficiently.”
The founders’ vision for upgrades went beyond new tech improvements. As a born-in-the-cloud company running on AWS, the team knew their capabilities could far exceed their current operations. “We were doing things like copying and pasting code into web servers, and we wanted to level up the technical expertise within the company,” says Guastamacchio.
With a goal to seamlessly push new features to production, safely run tests, validate code, and easily complete rollbacks, they decided to rebuild their system from the ground up. “Undertaking these changes ultimately resulted in the evolution of a new foundation for the company,” Guastamacchio says. “We reset the baseline and the standards for MediaZilla.”
The Critical Role of Privo, an AWS DevOps Competency Partner
To accomplish its vision for a new platform, MediaZilla faced the decision to either significantly expand its team by hiring new engineers in-house or to partner with external AWS experts. The team chose to research AWS DevOps Competency partners who could provide them with the expertise, support, and guidance they needed to realize their goals.
“Our account manager at AWS connected us with Privo,” says Guastamacchio. “After meeting with the team, we could immediately tell that our two companies were on the same page. Like us, Privo is closely aligned with the Amazon leadership principles. Privo has become much more than a vendor to us. Their team are true partners with ours. It is not just a business-to-business relationship. They go to bat for us, and there’s a strong human element to our partnership.”
Beyond a mutually favorable partnership, MediaZilla’s team found instant value in the AWS expertise Privo engineers brought to the table. “A huge amount of the value Privo provides has been training on AWS,” says Guastamacchio. “They’ve done a lot of knowledge transfer, learning, and growing with our team.”
Privo’s expertise and deep knowledge base on AWS also helped MediaZilla avoid costly mistakes while building automation into its platform. “Privo has worked with all of the AWS tools and objectively know what to consider and evaluate before moving forward with a particular solution,” says Guastamacchio. “For us, there were many unknowns when we began the rebuilding process. Privo help us avoid landmines and pitfalls.”
Embracing Automation and Delivering a Full CI/CD Pipeline on AWS
Because their processes were primarily manual, MediaZilla’s primary objective was to introduce more automation into their environment. “We started the engagement by doing a well-architected review, and from there it morphed into more,” says Adam Perry, principal solutions architect at Privo. “We were excited about the engagement because we found the team at MediaZilla was extremely intelligent, motivated, and had a clear vision for what they wanted to achieve.”
With the MediaZilla team’s vision in mind and a clear understanding of their goals, the well-architected review resulted in the decision to build a new continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) pipeline on AWS. “We took MediaZilla from no infrastructure-as-code to a full infrastructure-as-code environment and implemented templates that are deployable across accounts,” says Perry. “The company is in a good place to scale moving forward.”
MediaZilla’s Network Architecture on AWS
The Privo engineers used AWS CodeBuild and AWS CodePipeline to help MediaZilla build and implement the new environment and centralize testing. With the CI/CD pipeline now in place, Privo plans to further optimize the MediaZilla platform by building a data lake using Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Kinesis, and Amazon Redshift for analyzing and storing data, making it possible to scale for larger clients and efficiently interpret complex data sets.
Privo is also beginning to help MediaZilla take advantage of a serverless architecture approach to simplify processes and scale. For instance, Privo runs application tests on Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS), which are then pushed to Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR), a fully-managed Docker container registry that is integrated with ECS.
Throughout the platform design and re-launch, both teams kept security as the top priority. “Our engineers are extremely focused on security,” says Guastamacchio. “We’ve built everything in a new Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), which we’ll test with a third party and then coordinate with Privo to optimize.” The company also utilizes Amazon GuardDuty for intelligent threat detection and Amazon CloudWatch for ongoing application and infrastructure security detection and monitoring.
Developing a Holistic Video Experience
With development underway and the new platform launching in early 2019, the MediaZilla team is concentrated on bringing value to their end users. “How we build our platform is and will always be focused on making the end user’s life easier,” says Guastamacchio. “No matter the user’s technical proficiency level, we want to provide them the ability to create an immersive viewing experience by using an interactive platform we’ve built on AWS.”
Counting Privo as a long-term DevOps partner and trusted advisor, Guastamacchio feels confident about MediaZilla’s continued growth trajectory. “We consider Privo a part of our team and feel we’re so fortunate to have connected with them through our AWS account manager,” says Guastamacchio. “There’s no shortage of work. No shortage of demand. The ball is really in our court and we have a ton of features on deck to roll out. Being built on AWS, and having a partner like Privo in our corner, we believe there is no limit to what we can do.”
MediaZilla creates an interactive experience for streaming video that was once only available on DVDs and Blu-rays. Videographers, media enthusiasts, and end users can upload videos to the MediaZilla platform and transform them into an immersive viewing experience. With the ability to create interactive menus, users can deliver professional projects to clients, promote their work via website embedding, share on social media, or export to a hard copy.
Two years after MediaZilla launched a stable, scalable, and successful product, the team came to a crossroads when looking to the future. It was at this point that the team decided to rebuild the platform they’d launched on AWS.
MediaZilla partnered with Privo to build a new continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) pipeline on AWS.
With development underway and the new platform launching in early 2019, the MediaZilla team is concentrated on bringing value to their end users.
Privo, an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Consulting partner, helps clients architect, migrate, monitor, manage, secure, and optimize workloads on AWS. The company serves a broad range of industries and holds both the AWS DevOps and Life Sciences Competencies. Privo prides itself on taking a small-team consulting approach to each engagement, allowing its team to gain an intimate understanding of their clients’ long-term business goals and build lasting partnerships.