Thanks to Lambda’s subsecond metering model, we pay only for what we consume in milliseconds instead of hourly and we cut the overall operating costs by 50%.
Anoop Mohan Product Manager, Asianet News Media & Entertainment Pvt., Ltd.

Asianet News Media & Entertainment Pvt., Ltd. (Asianet News) was running its content management system (CMS), news websites and mobile app with Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). But with thousands of concurrent users per second and unpredictable spikes in traffic, it became difficult to run the infrastructure optimally. The database consumption was also more data reads than data writes, so Asianet News had to pay higher infrastructure costs in peak periods, such as during breaking news and elections. Anoop Mohan, product manager of Asianet News, explains, “We don’t always have to run high-capacity infrastructure because most users leave the site in 2-5 minutes after watching breaking news, or even just 20 minutes for live TV programs. With EC2’s hourly pricing model, we still need to pay for the low or non-usage of EC2. I wanted to optimize unnecessary infrastructure costs.”

This architecture also required the outsourced support team to constantly maintain the infrastructure, such as updating security patches. Mr Mohan says, “It used to take almost 20 minutes to deploy an updated website release. Such delay caused disparity in layouts or different instances on our website.” 

Asianet News selected Amazon Web Services (AWS) over other vendors because of its comprehensive cloud offerings and good integration between services on the platform, such as Amazon API Gateway, Amazon CloudFront, AWS Lambda, Amazon DynamoDB and Amazon Elasticsearch Service. According to Mr Mohan, “AWS is the only vendor that could provide instantaneous scale and fully-managed services as primary components to build applications. We can now focus on development rather than worrying about technical infrastructure. AWS was just a perfect fit to build a serverless platform and optimize our infrastructure costs.”

AWS team also provided better support – from selecting services to forecasting the growth for the platform – and intuitive training than other cloud service providers. “AWS is approachable and delivers a rich amount of documentation and videos online, making it easier for builders or developers to debug their issues,” says Mr Mohan.

By moving from RDS to DynamoDB and running applications on Lambda instead of EC2, Asianet News can easily scale its infrastructure even with instantaneous spikes in news traffic. The company also gained faster response time from the backend by seamlessly integrating Lambda with services like API Gateway, DynamoDB, Amazon S3, and Amazon CloudWatch.

Asianet also uses API Gateways and Lambda along with basic validation requests to authorize input data and minimize potential errors in the backend. Mr Mohan says, “By structuring API Gateways in our architecture, we can integrate third-party services to the platform and ensure secure access to data across AWS services.”

Mr Mohan continues, “Thanks to Lambda’s subsecond metering model, we pay only for what we consume in milliseconds instead of hourly and we cut the overall operating costs by 50%. The switch to DynamoDB also empowered us to easily synchronize and operate multiple events in parallel with Lambda, helping us to further slash database costs by 48x.”

“The integration between Lambda and AWS X-Ray gives us insight into each Lambda function and execution flow. CloudWatch also provides complete visibility of the health status of our cloud resources and automates remediation on the platform, so we eliminated the need to allocate 24/7 resources to monitor the infrastructure,” adds Mr Mohan.

Dilip Kola, CTO of Tensult (an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner), comments, “Serverless is merging infrastructure with application architecture and becoming more developer-oriented. This is wonderful because we only need one team to manage both infrastructure and code.”

Furthermore, Asianet News can also deploy the same code across all its websites in less than 2 minutes and improved the performance of code runtime by 5x.

“The move to 100% AWS serverless architecture enabled us to process 138,000 requests per second without downtime and support 70 percent traffic growth on our web and mobile platforms. We now have a complete CMS for news media along with the mobile apps and web apps, which is one of the milestones in our technology roadmap,” says Mr Mohan.

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