Hiiir Inc. Case Study
Founded in 2008, Hiiir Inc. has grown to become Taiwan’s leading digital media company providing digital marketing consulting services, application development, and e-commerce services. The business has developed several applications such as a cuisine and travel app with location-based service features—Alley App—and Timemart—a content curation app. In June 2013, Hiiir has attracted major investment from leading telecommunications company FarEasTone and developed an e-commerce service launched in 2014—friDay and friDay Shopping. Today, Hiiir has more than 300 employees working on its portfolio of services and is constantly expanding its business to meet the needs of its users.
We have only one IT administrator when we would have required at least five with an on-premises infrastructure of a similar size. As a result, we’ve lowered IT administration costs by 80%."
Co-founder and Technical Director, Hiiir
Hiiir saw rapid growth in the demand for its mobile marketing services, and this created a number of IT challenges that the company could not overcome with an on-premises solution.
To meet expansion, the company needed to scale its systems quickly but the procurement cycles for an on-premises infrastructure were too long. Not only did it reduce the company’s agility, it also complicated budgeting because IT had to project its spend many months in advance. Looking to the future, Hiiir saw that it didn’t have the facilities necessary to house a sizeable datacenter, and lacked the IT staff to ensure it delivered maximum performance.
The company looked at cloud based IT services as a solution. As Neil Lee, cofounder and technical director of Hiiir explains, “We wanted the freedom to scale to whatever computing capacity we needed to support our services. It is difficult to accurately predict how much hardware we will need per service even in the short term. The service may suddenly take off and become hugely popular, and we can’t support this kind of business model with an on-premises solution.”
Why Amazon Web Services
Based on the recommendation of FarEasTone, Hiiir approached Amazon Web Services (AWS). “AWS offered an end-to-end service providing everything we need for a cloud-based data center. We also have a lot of faith in the stability of the AWS platform. This was an important criterion because we can’t afford to let our customers down. Our services must be constantly available,” says Lee.
Hiiir successfully deployed AWS using its own internal resources. Lee describes the process as “smooth,” saying that the documentation available on AWS was simple to understand and follow. “If we had any questions, we would contact our AWS account manager who was very responsive,” says Lee. Hiiir leverages multiple Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances to support its apps and solutions. Amazon Route 53 provides DNS services while Amazon CloudFront distributes content. The company also uses Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon ElastiCache for in-memory caching, and Elastic Load Balancing for distributing incoming traffic, and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for storage.
By using AWS, Hiiir avoids concerns over the length of procurement cycles, managing a sizeable datacenter, or the number of IT staff to manage such an infrastructure. Because Hiiir can scale its AWS infrastructure on demand, the company doesn’t have to plan procurement months in advance, which in turn simplifies budgeting processes.
Lee highlights how important scalability is for Hiiir: “Speed is crucial for our business model to succeed, and moving to AWS provides us with the speed to be successful.” The company can now scale its IT infrastructure significantly quicker with AWS. “We can test and deploy our IT infrastructure at least 40 percent faster by using AWS versus an on-premises infrastructure.” Furthermore, Lee calculates that Hiiir has made significant savings in terms of IT labor costs. “We have only one IT administrator when we would have required at least five with an on-premises infrastructure of a similar size. As a result, we’ve lowered IT administration costs by 80 percent,” says Lee.
Most importantly for Lee, he is confident that AWS can help Hiiir drive the business forward, and for this reason the company has moved all of its core services, including Alley App, AAMiner (a Facebook advertising system), friDay Play, and friDay Shopping to AWS.
Looking ahead, Hiiir plans to extend the value of its investment in AWS through new services. Lee says, “We are assessing AWS Lambda for services relating to data tracking and those that need stable connectivity. We will certainly adopt more AWS services over time to continue driving rapid growth.”
About Hiiir Inc.
Founded in 2008, Hiiir Inc. has grown to become Taiwan’s leading digital media company providing digital marketing consulting services, application development, and e-commerce services.
AWS Services Used
Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance.
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud.
Amazon Route 53
Amazon Route 53 is a highly available and scalable cloud Domain Name System (DNS) web service.
Amazon CloudFront is a fast content delivery network (CDN) service that securely delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to customers globally.
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