CA Advance Reduces Website Launch Time from 4 Hours to 1 Hour Using AWS Copilot
With the mission of “creating the future of Okinawa’s internet,” CA Advance Inc. (CA Advance) is always looking to optimize its website creation processes. In 2020, the architecture the company used to create and deploy websites consisted of virtual hosts managed by NGINX and Apache. However, using these open-source tools meant that CA Advance had to manage time-consuming processes, such as creating configuration files, updating production workloads, and backing up files. Because of this, building new production environments could take up to 4 hours.
The company had been using Amazon Web Services (AWS) for compute since 2013. In early 2021, CA Advance began using AWS Copilot, a command-line interface that helps customers to quickly launch and easily manage containerized applications on AWS. As a result, the company increased the reliability and stability of its websites, optimized automatic-scaling strategies, and reduced the time to build new production environments to 1 hour.
AWS Copilot functions as a guardrail for us. We can have our own simplified operation workflows for services based on Amazon ECS and AWS Fargate..”
Product manager, CX+, CA Advance
Searching for a Tool to Optimize Processes
Founded in Okinawa, Japan, CA Advance provides services around internet media, including ads and games. The company is a subsidiary of CyberAgent Inc.
In 2020, CA Advance was already using a variety of AWS services, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), which offers secure and resizable compute capacity for virtually any workload. Prior to implementing AWS Copilot, CA Advance used Amazon EC2 instances to run and operate multiple corporate websites using Apache virtual hosts to route traffic to each website. This solution wasn’t ideal because the company couldn’t easily implement Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling—which helps users maintain application availability—and website data was required to be synchronized between Amazon EC2 instances. Additionally, a system failure in a single website could affect the other websites hosted on the same Amazon EC2 instance.
Before selecting AWS Copilot, CA Advance evaluated multiple tools. However, these tools didn’t facilitate collaboration among team members, especially because the team’s makeup changed frequently. “I discovered AWS Copilot in its early days,” says Shinya Takara, product manager for CX+, an email management software as a service developed and operated by CA Advance. “I was eager to learn more about it.”
Implementing a Container-Based Solution
AWS Copilot provides a simple declarative set of commands, including examples and guided experiences built in to help customers deploy quickly. After writing the application code, AWS Copilot automates each step in the deployment lifecycle, including pushing to a registry, creating a task definition, and creating a cluster.
Along with using AWS Copilot, CA Advance uses AWS Fargate, a serverless, pay-as-you-go compute engine that lets businesses focus on building applications without managing servers. The company also uses Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), a fully managed container orchestration service that makes it easy to deploy, manage, and scale containerized applications. CA Advance can run multiple Amazon ECS services in a cluster using AWS Copilot. “AWS Copilot functions as a guardrail for us,” says Takara. “We can have our own simplified operation workflows for services based on Amazon ECS and AWS Fargate.”
CA Advance uses the Load Balanced Web Service pattern, an internet-facing service that’s behind a load balancer, orchestrated by Amazon ECS on AWS Fargate. “Using the task-level Encrypting File System access configuration on Amazon ECS and AWS Fargate makes it possible for us to synchronize website data across multiple tasks without host-level Network File System configuration,” says Takara. “Now, we don’t need to perform that action inside Amazon EC2 instances.”
Using the environment resource features in AWS Copilot, CA Advance can divide another environment—which contains the resources needed to provision a secure network as well as other resources that are meant to be shared between services, like an Application Load Balancer or an Amazon ECS cluster—in the same Dockerfile. The company can monitor the module update and testing, and when the checks are completed, quickly move into production. CA Advance can now manage websites’ configurations separately in individual dedicated Git repositories. “With this architectural change, we’re not seeing an impact from other websites on any one website,” says Takara. “This helps us to make changes on specific websites quickly and safely.” The company can also optimize automatic-scaling strategies for each website.
Previously, when creating a new website using NGINX or Apache, CA Advance had to manage details, such as creating configuration files, updating production workloads, and backing up files. Because of these time-consuming manual processes, building a production environment could take up to 4 hours. Using AWS Copilot, the creation and deployment processes for new websites are automated. “Before using AWS Copilot, we needed to prepare code to manage tasks, and we couldn’t develop site-sharing storage space with Encrypting File System,” says Takara. Now, using AWS Copilot, even junior members of the CA Advance team can create production environments in only 1 hour. “When we’re developing a new site, adding and deploying services is so much simpler,” Takara says. “All we need to do is to fine-tune the Application Load Balancer rule.”
Looking Forward to Creating a Continuous Delivery Pipeline
In the future, CA Advance is looking forward to expanding its use of AWS Copilot. The company is working on containerizing other products on Amazon EC2 so that the company can create an automated continuous delivery pipeline using AWS Copilot, AWS Fargate, and Amazon ECS. “There are many projects involving a continuous delivery pipeline that using AWS Copilot would simplify,” says Takara. “The flexible scaling we are realizing using AWS Fargate has improved our operations considerably.”
To learn more, visit aws.amazon.com/containers/copilot/
About CA Advance Inc.
Based and founded in Okinawa, Japan, CA Advance is an internet service company that provides services around internet media. The company is a subsidiary of CyberAgent Inc., one of the largest internet media companies in Japan.
Benefits of AWS
- Increased the reliability and stability of websites developed
- Optimized automatic-scaling strategies
- Reduced time to create production environments from 4 hours to 1 hour
- Increased fault tolerance of website development process
AWS Services Used
AWS Copilot is the easiest way to launch and manage your containerized application on AWS.
AWS Fargate is a serverless, pay-as-you-go compute engine that lets you focus on building applications without managing servers. AWS Fargate is compatible with both Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS).
Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS)
Amazon ECS is a fully managed container orchestration service that makes it easy for you to deploy, manage, and scale containerized applications.
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) offers the broadest and deepest compute platform, with over 500 instances and choice of the latest processor, storage, networking, operating system, and purchase model to help you best match the needs of your workload.
Companies of all sizes across all industries are transforming their businesses every day using AWS. Contact our experts and start your own AWS Cloud journey today.