safeINIT Helps myOnvent Transform Digital Event Experiences with Scale and Performance Using AWS
Digital events provider myOnvent worked with AWS Partner safeINIT to completely re-engineer its application through containerization and introduce auto-scaling capabilities using Amazon Web Services (AWS). The company faced a particular scalability challenge—it needed to correctly provision for virtual events when accurately forecasting audience numbers was problematic. myOnvent’s manual scaling solution was time-consuming, resource-intensive, and—because of the tendency to over provision as insurance against downtime and poor user experience—unnecessarily costly. Now myOnvent’s infrastructure has improved scalability and performance, enhanced reliability and availability, accelerated time-to-market, and greater cost optimization.
The Challenge of Hosting Virtual Events
myOnvent is a digital events platform hosting and managing white-label virtual conferences, expos, town hall meetings, and much more. Based in Norway, the company’s application is a virtual meeting-place, with features including auditoriums, exhibition halls, live chat walls, and post-event analytics.
Launched in 2019, demand took off the following year as lockdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic left clients seeking alternatives to physical events. Post-pandemic, organizations began experimenting with hybrid events, combining in-person attendance with virtual delegates. And while it’s relatively straightforward to predict in-person attendance based on the physical capacity of a venue, forecasting the size of an online audience is a much harder task.
This posed a challenge for myOnvent: over-provision for a virtual audience and incur unnecessary cost, or under-provision and risk the user experience suffering. Downtime and poor performance represent both reputational and financial risks. “We wanted the events to go smoothly but we also didn’t want to pay—or our clients to pay—for unused capacity,” says Benjamin H. Balogh, chief operating officer at myOnvent. “There is little benefit in the platform working smoothly in the run up to an event only for it to encounter problems as delegates gather. The live event is everything.”
The fact that we are working with an AWS Partner on infrastructure and security gives our clients real peace of mind.”
Benjamin H. Balogh
Chief Operations Officer, myOnvent
Application Modernization and the Promise of Auto-Scaling
myOnvent’s original architectural framework was already hosted on AWS but it needed to manage capacity and availability for each event. This was a time-consuming and resource-intensive process. “We are talking about events that might unfold over 3 hours or 3 days,” explains Mihai Despa, chief technology officer at myOnvent. “We used to manually scale the infrastructure beforehand. That could be 24 hours before the expected peak which meant we had a large, initially unused, infrastructure that would generate costs. And then, post-event, we had to manually downscale.” The existing design also presented a single point of failure, risking availability. An alternative solution was required.
In 2022 AWS Partner safeINIT, an existing provider of DevOps support services to myOnvent, recommended a new approach. It was rooted in application modernization and meant migrating the myOnvent application to Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), a fully managed container orchestration service that simplifies your deployment, management, and scaling of containerized applications, and adopting microservices. myOnvent also used Amazon CloudFront, a content delivery network (CDN) service built for high performance, security, and developer convenience, to securely deliver content with low latency and high transfer speeds, and AWS WAF to help protect against common web exploits and bots that can affect availability, compromise security, or consume excessive resources. The solution also used Amazon ElastiCache, Amazon DocumentDB, and Amazon Simple Email Service (SES).
It just works. With such a complex product in place, it’s a huge achievement to make it look simple from an end-user point of view.”
Chief Technology Officer, myOnvent
Complex Product Meets Simple User Experience
The myOnvent application wasn’t designed to be distributed or auto-scaled but safeINIT thought it had the potential to be re-engineered. “We knew that this was possible, that it could be auto-scaled,” says Cosmin Drimba, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) at safeINIT. “We tore it apart and reconstituted it on containers. To actually see that our assumption was correct is something we are very proud of.”
The build was approved in May 2023 and went live in early July 2023. It was initially implemented for one of myOnvent’s highest profile customers. Providing a virtual companion to an in-person event, 4,000 virtual attendees were hosted on the myOnvent platform.
The launch event demonstrated the power of safeINIT’s auto-scaling solution—and of AWS. “I’ve attended quite a few online conferences and encountered a lot of issues,” says Despa. “Accessing the stream or the program tends to be a hassle. The feedback for our events is that ‘it just works’. With such a complex product in place, it’s a huge achievement to make it look simple from an end-user point of view.”
Moving Forwards with Better Scalability, Performance, and Resilience
The project has delivered improved scalability and performance, enhanced reliability and availability, accelerated time-to-market, and greater cost optimization. The time taken to deliver new services, for example, has been reduced by two-thirds, while the adoption of Amazon EC2 Spot Instances to create capacity clusters promises a 60 percent discount when compared with on-demand instances.
On the benefits of working with safeINIT, Despa says that it gives him access to high-level expertise not available at myOnvent. “After we started working with safeINIT we realized that we had barely scratched the surface in terms of what AWS can do,” he says. “They showed us services that we weren’t even aware of. They taught us how to use services that we were using in a far more efficient way. They augmented our knowledge of AWS by a factor of 10.”
As for the choice of AWS, Despa returns to a familiar mantra: it just works. “AWS is the easiest to work with in terms of interface, in terms of services, you name it,” he says. The predictability and speed of delivery proved essential benefits too, says Balogh, as did the trust engendered. “The fact that we are working with an AWS Partner on infrastructure and security gives our clients real peace of mind,” he says.
myOnvent provides limitless digital meetings to enable people, organizations, and businesses to come together around common visions, ideas, goals, and projects. myOnvent was founded in Norway in 2013, created with a mission to make events accessible for all, sustainable, attractive and content-rich, and an effective way to build networks and communities. The service is available in 10 languages, on any platform, and any device.
AWS Services Used
- Reduced time-to-market by two-thirds
- Realized 20% in cost savings
- Decreased manual maintenance interventions by 50%
- Enhanced platform reliability and availability by 60%
About AWS Partner safeINIT
safeINIT helps businesses thrive by reaping the benefits of cloud technology. It proactively enhances existing cloud infrastructure and experiments with the latest developments to deliver state-of-the-art solutions to clients. safeINIT enables startups and enterprises to leverage cloud capabilities—supported by DevOps, automation, and security—for rapid growth with agile scalability, enhanced mobility, increased collaboration, and reduced costs.
Published November 2023