Customer Stories / Retail / United Arab Emirates
YOUGotaGift Accelerates Innovation Using Amazon EKS and Amazon Aurora Global Database
YOUGotaGift was established in Dubai in 2013 as a marketplace for digital gift cards in the MENA region. In 2017, when the company experienced scaling and performance issues with its local cloud provider, it migrated to AWS. It has now containerized its application, started using microservices, and moved its database to Amazon Aurora Serverless. YOUGotaGift can now quickly scale its platform to meet traffic spikes, and its serverless architecture means it pays only for the resources it uses.
Established in Dubai in 2013, YOUGotaGift provides digital gift card solutions and branded currency to customers in the Middle East. In its first 4 years, when its infrastructure was hosted on a local cloud provider, YOUGotaGift grew slowly, steadily increasing revenue and customer numbers. However, the company experienced regular downtime and wasn’t satisfied with the support provided to resolve service disruptions.
In 2017 the company migrated to Amazon Web Services (AWS), and over the course of 5 years it optimized its platform to improve reliability and performance. Using AWS, YOUGotaGift can scale up compute resources during traffic spikes 66 percent faster, and is 80 percent faster at deploying customer software updates. These efficiency improvements free up its developers to focus on innovation.
Opportunity | YOUGotaGift Reduces Scaling Time by 66% Using Amazon EKS
The concept of YOUGotaGift originated in 2013, when Husain Makiya, the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO), found himself in need of a last-minute gift card for a birthday party. To his surprise, there were no local online stores offering a quick and easy solution. Within months, he launched YOUGotaGift to provide consumers in the Middle East with online access to digital gift cards. Soon, the company expanded to also serve the business-to-business (B2B) space, where it succeeded in creating branded currencies for companies.
In 2017, YOUGotaGift developed its gifting platform using a local cloud provider but it wasn’t happy with the reliability or level of customer support it received. “We encountered issues with our local provider and made the decision to migrate to another provider,” says Ashin K N, chief technology officer at YOUGotaGift “After evaluating multiple cloud providers and considering our requirements and use case, we ultimately chose to use AWS.”
The company decided to lift and shift its monolithic application but as the business grew, YOUGotaGift needed to optimize its infrastructure to be more agile and allow it to keep pace with market demands. At the time, YOUGotaGift wasn’t able to release products quickly because its aging infrastructure was complex and slow to scale. The company decided to containerize its application and use microservices.
YOUGotaGift uses Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS), a managed Kubernetes service. Using Amazon EKS, the company has improved the performance, scalability, and reliability of its infrastructure. “Previously, during a traffic spike, scaling would take at least 3 minutes,” says Shameem Khalid, director of cloud engineering at YOUGotaGift. “Now, using Amazon EKS, it takes less than 1 minute, and within 2 minutes we can have thousands of containers to handle millions of requests.”
Migrating our cloud infrastructure to AWS was a transformative journey that reshaped our business and catapulted our growth. Using AWS, we’ve achieved exponential growth, unmatched scalability, and gained unwavering client trust.”
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at YOUGotaGift
Solution | Using Amazon Aurora Global Database for Fast and Cost-Effective Growth
YOUGotaGift chose to migrate to Amazon Aurora (Aurora), a database designed for unparalleled high performance and availability at global scale with full MySQL and PostgreSQL compatibility. Khalid says Aurora is one of the most important pieces of YOUGotaGift’s infrastructure, because of its performance, scalability, and security. “I highly recommend Aurora to anyone,” he says. “We can easily deep dive into the system and see what is going on. In 3 years we never had any downtime—it’s been a hero service.”
As part of a second optimization project in 2020, the company migrated to Amazon Aurora Serverless, an on-demand, autoscaling configuration for the database. Khalid says the serverless database allows YOUGotaGift to affordably scale its platform to operate in numerous countries. “If I were only allowed to use one AWS service, it would be Amazon Aurora Serverless,” says Khalid. “It’s fast and reliable, we can have thousands of concurrent connections from different regions, and it scales up and down according to demand, so it’s cost-effective.”
With its new serverless database and containerized application, YOUGotaGift found that its technical team was far more productive than before. Deploying new features or making changes to the platform took 90 percent less time because the company has more confidence in its infrastructure and platform. “Previously, any update had to be tested in many phases and undergo several reviews before it could be safely sent live,” says Khalid. “Now, instead of taking at least 20 minutes, updates take less than 5 minutes.”
The company also migrated from its own analysis and business intelligence (BI) tool to Amazon QuickSight, which provides business intelligence and helps companies make better data-driven decisions. Ashin says QuickSight speeds up development and increases productivity. “Before we used QuickSight, we would have to create unique dashboards for each product,” says Ashin. “Now, those dashboards are created automatically.”
YOUGotaGift’s platform is more reliable and operations are streamlined using AWS. “We have five people managing our entire cloud infrastructure,” says Ashin. “If we were not using AWS and this diverse range of services, we would need about 15 engineers to build and maintain the services in-house. Using AWS has helped us reduce development times and also cut costs.”
YOUGotaGift’s cloud system components now operate independently while also being able to communicate with each other, which means that unlike its previous infrastructure, problems in one area do not cascade into a system-wide failure. “Before using Amazon EKS and Amazon Aurora, our apps had an internal dependency on each other,” says Khalid. “If one fell over, it would affect everything else. Now we have a microservices-based infrastructure, and although our services are all connected, they are independent and more resilient.”
Outcome | YOUGotaGift Free to Innovate and Grow Using AWS
The company will continue using AWS as it expands further. “Migrating our cloud infrastructure to AWS was a transformative journey that reshaped our business and catapulted our growth,” says YOUGotaGift’s CEO Husain Makiya. “Using AWS, we’ve achieved exponential growth, unmatched scalability, and gained unwavering client trust.”
Established in 2013, YOUGotaGift is the leading marketplace for digital gift cards in the MENA region. YOUGotaGift uses state-of-the-art technology to pioneer the MENA-branded currency market and boasts a network of 700+ brands and 2,000+ corporates.
AWS Services Used
Amazon EKS is a managed Kubernetes service to run Kubernetes in the AWS cloud and on-premises data centers.
Amazon Aurora provides built-in security, continuous backups, serverless compute, up to 15 read replicas, automated multi-Region replication, and integrations with other AWS services.
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Amazon QuickSight powers data-driven organizations with unified business intelligence (BI) at hyperscale. With QuickSight, all users can meet varying analytic needs from the same source of truth through modern interactive dashboards, paginated reports, embedded analytics, and natural language queries.
Amazon EC2 Spot Instances
Amazon EC2 Spot Instances let you take advantage of unused EC2 capacity in the AWS cloud. Spot Instances are available at up to a 90% discount compared to On-Demand prices.
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