Our two biggest applications, Cogito and Nudge, would not exist without AWS. The cloud provider is probably the most important part of our business.
Gian Paulo De La Rama Chief Executive Officer

InnoVantage provides cloud-based applications to large businesses and government organizations. The Manila, Philippines-based company's products include the Cogito automated workflow system, the Sinop mobile personal financial assistant, and Nudge, a conversational productivity bot that helps users with task management, project management, sales force automation, and other business activities.

InnoVantage needed a flexible and reliable infrastructure to deliver its applications at an availability level exceeding 99.9 percent. The business could not afford the capital investment needed to run a physical infrastructure, so its founders looked for an on-demand model to align infrastructure costs with growth. The infrastructure also had to support increasing demand for InnoVantage applications and enable the business to launch new products in weeks instead of months.

“We needed customers to be able to complete transactions in less than three seconds, from the time they click on a link to the time the resources load,” says Gian Paulo De La Rama, chief executive officer and co-founder of InnoVantage. InnoVantage’s lean team and ambitious growth plans meant De La Rama and co-founder Alvin Aldrich Abrogena could not spare resources for infrastructure-management tasks.

In 2014, InnoVantage started developing Cogito on a multinational cloud service. However, the content-delivery network from that service could not provide the same global footprint as the Amazon Web Services (AWS) version, Amazon CloudFront.

InnoVantage’s transition to AWS was aided by the fact that it secured status as a portfolio company of an AWS startup accelerator in the Philippines. Through the AWS Activate program, InnoVantage gained access to AWS Support with the Business support plan and consulted an AWS solutions architect to verify its proposed AWS architecture. With input from the architect, InnoVantage started and completed migration to AWS in two months.

InnoVantage is now running its AWS infrastructure in the Amazon Asia-Pacific (Tokyo), Amazon Asia-Pacific (Singapore), and Amazon US West (Oregon) regions. “Most of the work was done internally, partly because AWS is so intuitive,” says De La Rama. Because nearly all services in AWS are accessible via APIs, developers looked at available documentation to work out how to use APIs to provision Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances.

The company leverages the automation available with AWS through services such as AWS Elastic Beanstalk, which pushes Cogito to a definable set of AWS services, and AWS CloudFormation, which lets InnoVantage create and manage its AWS resources. InnoVantage developers use Amazon API Gateway to create APIs that enable InnoVantage applications to access data from a range of services, including Amazon EC2 and AWS Lambda.

The more InnoVantage learned about the capabilities of AWS Lambda to run code in response to events, the more it used the service as a replacement for Amazon EC2 instances. “We have reduced our use of Amazon EC2 from 30 instances to just six,” says De La Rama. For the new Nudge application, all chat transactions are sent into the AWS infrastructure through Amazon API Gateway. AWS Lambda initiates the relevant function based on keywords in the chat transaction.  

The figure below illustrates InnoVantage’s environment in AWS:

innovantage-architecture-diagram

Deploying AWS enabled InnoVantage to achieve its goals, including providing high availability, supporting and aligning infrastructure, and managing costs despite expected growth. “The flexibility AWS delivers means our developers probably spend 60 man-hours per month—or less than five percent of their collective time—on infrastructure-management tasks such as provisioning,” says De La Rama.

The extensive reach of Amazon CloudFront and the ability to complete requests in fewer than three seconds means InnoVantage can further its expansion ambitions. Embracing newer AWS services such as AWS Lambda enabled the business to reduce its AWS costs to about one-sixth of the initial AWS expenditure—well below what De La Rama estimates the business would incur using other cloud services. “If we were using these other services, I expect we would be spending up to 16 or 17 times the amount to maintain the equivalent of our existing infrastructure,” he says.

Using AWS also enabled InnoVantage to reduce its time to market for new products. “If we had a physical infrastructure, we would have had to procure servers to develop, test, and deliver our applications, a process that takes up to a month and a half,” says De La Rama. “The other cloud service we used wasn’t much better. It took us 12 months of development work in that cloud, plus two months’ development time in AWS, to complete our Cogito product. By contrast, it took us seven weeks from conceptualization to delivery for our Nudge product on AWS.”

InnoVantage now supports about 25 companies on its platform, a considerable increase over the number supported by the company’s previous cloud-service provider. “Our two biggest applications, Cogito and Nudge, would not exist without AWS," says De La Rama. "AWS is probably the most important part of our business.”  

To learn more about how AWS can help with your content delivery, visit our Content Delivery Network details page.