We have been able to guarantee business customers a 99.9% SaaS Service SLA based on the high availability and reliability of AWS service and provide a top-class customer experience using AWS global regions to keep latency under 100 ms everywhere in the world.
Harry Kim CTO, SendBird

SendBird, a 2016 graduate of Y Combinator, the world’s leading startup accelerator program, is a SaaS enterprise that offers group messenger chat functions from large-scale open chatting in the form of APIs in a variety of markets, including banking, commerce, media, and gaming. SendBird is headquartered in Silicon Valley in the U.S. and has received funding from top local investors, including Y Combinator, Shasta Ventures, and August Capital. It currently has a total of 63 employees working in its U.S. headquarters and Korean office, and SendBird’s chat APIs are used in more than 10 thousand apps globally, processing about 700 million messages per month. SendBird’s customers include Reddit, Go-Jek, SEGA, Virgin Mobile, and KB Kookmin Bank. SendBird joined the AWS Partner Network in 2016 and achieved Advanced Technology Partner status in February 2018. It recently obtained ISO 27001 certification, which specifies requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continuously improving information security management systems.

Growth is the most important thing for early-stage startups like SendBird, and the process of developing products rapidly and listening to customer feedback must be repeated again and again. In this process, it decided that a cloud solution was more suitable than an on-premise environment to meet the availability, scalability, and various services to be provided that were required for product development and operation. Considering the time and cost benefits when there is a shortage of engineering staff in a startup environment, a cloud solution was the logical choice. Infrastructure scalability, in which capacity could be increased or reduced freely as the number of users increased, was also an essential requirement because traffic surges are difficult to predict with the nature of chat APIs. Enterprise customers also demanded a load test to verify whether SendBird’s services could accommodate simultaneous connections by millions of people within a short period of time. SendBird needed a cloud solution on which it could prepare such an extreme load test within a short period of time for the business targeted by its enterprise customers.

SendBird is an enterprise SaaS company that offers chat solutions in the form of APIs to a variety of business in areas such as banking, commerce, and gaming. It wanted its customers to be able to fully implement chat functions, which previously required a development period of more than 2 months on average, in a mere 5 days using the SendBird SDK. Developing high-quality services for customers is very important, and large investments in time and staffing are required to offer the services customers want quickly and to develop high-quality services. SendBird solved these problems with AWS Cloud. Based on previous experience using AWS, it decided that AWS’ scalability, reliability, and early growth made it the ideal partner for an important startup, and went ahead with its introduction.

SendBird CTO Harry Kim explained, “It was essential to use the global regions of AWS to provide the same service quality to customers in a variety of countries since SendBird’s chat APIs are used in more than 153 countries.”
SendBird is currently using AWS Auto Scaling functionality together with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instance to handle traffic surges instantly. It is using Elastic Load Balancing and the geolocation function of Amazon Route53 for reliable traffic distribution, and manages servers in each region automatically using AWS CloudFormation. AWS access uses AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to control engineer permissions so that only the resources required for development can be accessed. Amazon ElastiCache is currently used to handle large volumes of chat data, and all the data is stored in the encrypted Amazon Aurora for integrity and reliability. Server log data is analyzed and processed using the Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose as well as Amazon Athena.

The diagram below is the SaaS service architecture formed by SendBird on AWS.


SendBird is an AWS customer and was powered by AWS as an APN Advanced Technology Partner to successfully complete its load test to verify whether simultaneous connections by millions of people within a short period of time were possible. It would have been very difficult to perform the load test that customers demanded at actual scale without being powered by AWS. SendBird was also able to automate the majority of the work using AWS managed services, allowing it to manage its services infrastructure with just a few DevOps engineers.

CTO Harry Kim said, “Accurate comparative analysis using AWS was initially difficult. However, using various AWS managed services to shorten development time for SaaS services and not experiencing the technical errors that could have occurred was ultimately helpful in reducing overall costs. Another advantage of AWS managed services was that it let us focus the full capability of the engineering team on the most critical areas and spend the time invested in server management on improving service performance.” SendBird is currently using Enterprise Support Plan to have its issues dealt with quickly, and various inquiries for cost optimization and performance improvement of the SaaS architecture are handled through regular meetings with a dedicated Technical Account Manager (TAM).

AWS also provided a variety of benefits in terms of business through the APN Partner Program with SendBird as a customer and key business partner that could grow with AWS. In particular, by providing POC funding for business development, AWS helped with the progress of the SaaS service load test with no burden passed on to the customer, and support was provided in bringing contracts to a successful conclusion by committing an AWS sales team well versed in the financial sector and AWS compliance experts ahead of deals with key finance customers.

CTO Harry Kim explained that, “We have been able to guarantee business customers a 99.9% SaaS Service SLA based on the high availability and reliability of AWS service and provide a top-class customer experience using AWS global regions to keep latency under 100 ms everywhere in the world.” Director Yaekyum Lee, Head of Sales, APAC, who oversees SendBird’s APAC business, expressed his view that, “As an APN Technology Partner, SendBird wants to discover new business opportunities jointly with AWS and create success stories that will be noticed in global markets by jointly discovering new customers in the Asia-Pacific region, where we have major customer accounts.”

For more information, please visit the SaaS Success Stories Page.