KSL Digital ventures saved on average 30% by opting for AWS solutions compared to an on-premises infrastructure.
Gaurav Gupta Head of Products & Technology

Kasturi & Sons Ltd (KSL) operates The Hindu Group of Publications—a leading Indian media company whose flagship English-language newspaper, The Hindu, began publication in 1878. It was the first media house in India to start online news operations when it launched the Internet edition of The Hindu in 1996. KSL publishes several newspapers, magazines and journals, and delivers content in print, web, mobile, and tablet formats. KSL is headquartered in Chennai and has 17 branches across India.

KSL formed KSL Digital ventures to develop and grow innovative e-commerce businesses for online, mobile, and social media spaces. “We’re reimagining digital consumer applications to solve real user problems, such as finding your dream home or finding a job,” says Gaurav Gupta, head of product and technology at KSL Digital ventures.

KSL Digital wanted to launch applications quickly while keeping infrastructure and IT labor costs low. “Building an on-premises infrastructure can be slow and expensive,” says Gupta. “We would have to order, pay for, install, and configure expensive hardware—long before we would actually need it.” The company decided that a cloud environment would enable fast time-to-market and the ability to scale on demand.

KSL Digital wanted a cloud service provider that could understand its business model, the critical elements of the technology, and support an opex-optimized model. The Amazon Web Services (AWS) pay-as-you-go pricing and flexible technology infrastructure made the platform an obvious choice for KSL Digital.

“We have used AWS services in our previous ventures and that convinced us that AWS is at the forefront of tech innovation required to build scalable digital products” says Gaurav. “Its pay-per-use model works best for new age digital companies such as ours. AWS, bills us every month for amount of house we consume. This helps reduce our initial capex and also makes it incredibility easy to scale up and down in a few hours.”

For its first consumer product, KSL Digital used AWS to develop and run roofandfloor.com—a real estate website that allows users to search for new projects, apartments, flats, plots, and land for sale by city. The company adopted AWS for the development, QA, staging, and production environments. KSL wanted to design architecture to enable 99.99 percent availability and the ability to scale from 10-100 times to handle traffic.

After KSL’s board of directors approved the prototype, the KSL Digital team worked closely with AWS solutions architects and ActiveElement, a Technology partner in the Amazon Partner Network (APN), to build the website application. “We are aiming to build a complete continuous delivery pipeline to deploy changes to production faster and make the process more reliable and repeatable.”

To build and operate the website application, KSL uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) M3 and C3 instance types for CPU and memory-intensive workloads. Amazon EC2 instances are in Auto Scaling groups to automatically scale the application’s front end and application layers. KSL Digital uses Elastic Load Balancing to balance traffic across groups and manage midweek traffic spikes.

KSL uses Amazon Route 53 for its DNS layer and Amazon CloudFront to deliver content. The company uses AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to manage access control and firewall security. Data is stored in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), which is making it easier to manage the double digit percentage growth every quarter. KSL runs Redis as a high performance read intensive No-SQL database and MYSQL RDS as a highly available and reliable master database for all entities.

Using AWS enabled KSL Digital to build a lean and agile business based on globally available technology without the hassles of traditional infrastructure provisioning, which can be major impediment for startups.

On the cost front, AWS leverages massive economies of scale and efficiency improvements to continually lower prices, and KSL benefited substantially from this. AWS pricing models enable the company to optimize costs for both variable and stable workloads and helped reduce IT labor costs, up front and on an on-going basis. KSL saved on average 30 percent by using AWS solutions compared to an on-premises, self-administered infrastructure.

AWS also helps KSL Digital Team to develop and deploy web-based applications faster, and enables the IT team to experiment quickly and more frequently. They can provision resources with ease, when they need them, without talking to anyone. “AWS is an ideal solution for companies aspiring to scale fast,” says Gupta. “We are very happy with AWS platform services and the agility it enables for our business.”

“We intend to launch many more exciting products in the e-commerce market in the next 6-18 months—and we’re are extremely delighted to chart the next phase of our journey with AWS,” says Gupta.

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