The number of users GMobi supports has increased from about one million in 2011 to 120 million in early 2016, and we were able to accommodate the growth due to the scalability of the AWS infrastructure. 
Jacky Zhang VP of Engineering

Headquartered in Taiwan and with offices in China, India, Russia, Singapore, and the United States, GMobi provides applications and push notification services that help mobile device Original Design Manufacturers (ODM) and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) in emerging markets generate revenue from customers. These services include firmware updates delivered to handsets “over the air” (also known as across carrier networks), mobile billing, and an advertising software development kit for mobile applications. GMobi customers include Indian-headquartered consumer electronics company Micromax Informatics and London-based phone manufacturer Fly that has a sizeable presence in the Russian market. GMobi was founded in 2011 and has grown to about 70 employees.  

GMobi started operations with a virtualized infrastructure running on servers, storage, networking, and associated systems in a local data center in Taiwan. However, the capital required to purchase compute and other infrastructure resources to start the business as well as supporting its rapid growth was considerable. “Our growth imposed strains on our operations team to maintain our servers and estimate the capacity required to support traffic peaks,” says Jacky Zhang, vice president of engineering at GMobi. “We also experienced several incidents where the local data center was unable to meet our requirements, including one case where our fiber link to the center was down and we could not access our servers for half a day. These incidents prompted a number of customer complaints, and we decided to review alternative solutions.”  

GMobi decided to evaluate three cloud services and then selected Amazon Web Services (AWS) for several reasons. These included AWS support for the technologies GMobi was using, such as the MongoDB NoSQL database, and the high stability and faster performance AWS could offer compared to a regional cloud service GMobi considered. “We were impressed with the rich array of services that AWS provided, and the frequency of updates and introduction of new services,” says Zhang.

GMobi migrated to an AWS architecture over a two week period in 2012, with its internal technical team using in-house developed scripts and software tools to complete the process.

More than 90 percent of GMobi’s business is running in AWS, including the push notification, billing, and advertising software development kit services. The remainder of the business includes some sensitive user information stored on local servers to satisfy clients’ data sovereignty requirements. GMobi is using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) to obtain compute resources in the Asia Pacific (Singapore) region, with Elastic Load Balancing distributing what Zhang describes as a “very heavy load” of user traffic across groups of Amazon EC2 instances dedicated to the push notification, billing, and advertising software development kit services. Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) stores static images that are constantly increasing in size and Amazon S3 provides unlimited storage with no inhibitions on space size, availability, and scalability. Amazon CloudFront is used to distribute web-based content quickly and reliably to users over a network of edge locations. Amazon CloudWatch enables the business to monitor the performance of the AWS infrastructure and conduct fine-tuning to optimize performance.

GMobi is using AWS Support, Developer-level but the cloud provider’s ease of use has meant the business has not had to call on support services regularly.

The figure below illustrates GMobi’s environment in AWS:  

gmobi-arch-diag

Since its migration to an AWS architecture, GMobi is able to execute its growth and expansion plans across a range of developing markets, including Russia and India. “The number of users GMobi supports has increased from about 1 million in 2011 to 120 million in early 2016, and we were able to accommodate that growth due to the scalability of the AWS infrastructure,” says Zhang. “The MongoDB database that we use to capture all our customer and user data has grown from 100 gigabytes to 20 terabytes and the AWS infrastructure is supporting this growth without any issues.”

GMobi has also been able to focus its technology resources on these expansion plans as the AWS infrastructure requires “hardly any” maintenance. The elasticity of the AWS infrastructure also enables GMobi to provision additional resources during demand peaks such as periods in India when up to two million concurrent users are using its services.

GMobi has achieved these outcomes while maintaining availability levels at more than 99.9 percent, ensuring its services are available when customers need them and eliminating customer complaints.

GMobi also now acquires infrastructure resources on demand from AWS to support new product development, rather than undertaking time-consuming and expensive hardware procurement, installation, and testing processes that can take up to a week and a half to complete. “When creating new products and services, we apply a process flow that involves small-scale testing. Because we can easily fine-tune the AWS architecture, we can conduct thorough and longer testing. In addition, if we decide not to proceed with a product or service, we can easily shut down the AWS resources dedicated to it,” explains Zhang.

GMobi is extremely pleased with AWS and plans to extend its scope with the cloud services provider as it continues to press into new markets. “AWS provides an excellent core of basic services that customers can build on with its newer products to optimize our architecture for growth and new services,” says Zhang.

To learn more about how AWS can help your mobile services, visit our Mobile Services details page.