LYKA

LYKA Goes All-in On AWS To Reliably Scale Its Social Media App

2021

Social Media Capital of the World

The Philippines has been called the social media capital of the world, as most of the population logs about 4 hours per day on social media platforms. And social media usage continues to surge, with the number of users rising by 22 percent between 2020 and 2021.

LYKA is a social media app with a vision to create a rewards-driven digital community. In 2019, the business launched its pilot run in the Philippines. LYKA users purchase or earn social media gift cards—known as Giftcards in Electronic Mode (GEMs)—via a range of activities on the app. GEMs can be used for purchases from the company’s 20,000 merchant partners, which include both virtual and brick-and-mortar businesses.

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AWS provides a robust, trustworthy platform that helps us scale more efficiently, and it has been an integral part of our recent accelerated growth.”

Foghor Kagho
Chief Operating Officer, LYKA

Increasing User Base by Sixfold in Nine Months

As social media traffic soared throughout 2020, LYKA faced increasing challenges with scalability. Up to half of its users experienced severe lags in app performance during peak periods when traffic doubled or quadrupled. The spikes were unpredictable, often occurring when a celebrity or major influencer posted on the LYKA platform. There were periods when LYKA’s IT team had to take the app completely offline for days—or even weeks—while it tried to resolve latency issues or failures.

LYKA was using multiple cloud providers but decided to migrate fully to Amazon Web Services (AWS) at the end of 2020. Its other providers had fixed limits on services such as databases that contributed to the app’s tendency to crash and restricted LYKA from adding new users.

To assist with migration, LYKA worked with eCloudvalley, an AWS Partner. The partner helped audit LYKA’s architecture and prepare data for a lift-and-shift migration to AWS. “AWS provides a robust, trustworthy platform that helps us scale more efficiently, and it has been an integral part of our recent accelerated growth,” says Foghor Kagho, chief operating officer at LYKA. When LYKA began migrating to AWS in November 2020, it had 300,000–500,000 daily active users. As of July 2021, that number has risen to 3 million.

Optimizing Costs with a Pay-Per-Use Model

In addition to migration support, eCloudvalley is helping LYKA improve cost visibility and regularly suggests cost optimization strategies. LYKA was paying a high monthly sum for database licensing in its previous multi-cloud environment, almost 40 percent of total cloud spend. With AWS, that cost has been eliminated and the business now only pays for the resources it actually consumes.

Implementing Amazon CloudFront as a low-latency content delivery network and switching to Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL from a commercial SQL database have largely contributed to lower costs. As a result, despite having grown its user base by almost 600 percent, LYKA’s operational costs have only increased by 50 percent each month.

Saves Time on Database Maintenance and Backup

The opportunity cost surrounding database management was also high on its previous environment because LYKA’s engineers needed to manually perform tasks such as maintenance and backup. On Amazon Aurora, these tasks are automated, and engineers no longer spend time on configurations and scaling, instead focusing on value-added projects. In June 2021, the business successfully launched its first major feature, LYKA Mall, built entirely on AWS.

As the business has further modernized its database infrastructure, replication and other standard tasks have become quicker. It used to take LYKA’s team 12 hours to manually replicate data through different databases. Now, it only takes 30–60 minutes.

Enhancing the App Experience

LYKA wanted to reduce resource costs and opted for a serverless architecture that leverages AWS Lambda and infrastructure as code to automate deployment. In addition to cost savings, a serverless approach has accelerated LYKA’s time-to-market for provisioning and new features. Alyssa Sta.Cruz, IT and Development head at LYKA, says, “We can deploy AWS Lambda services in less than 2 minutes, while provisioning used to take 1 hour. Because updates are reflected in near-real time, our users have expressed higher satisfaction with smoother app performance.”

Additionally, to scale its app features—such as chat and wallet—LYKA is using Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) for container orchestration in its serverless environment. Prior to AWS, the app could only support up to 100,000 simultaneous chats, but now it can scale to 1 million. The use of containers has also strengthened fault tolerance through service isolation, which prevents system crashes.

To further enhance users’ app experiences, the startup is using AWS Elemental MediaConvert to generate video streams and previews on the app. Before, the app could only support video posts up to 1 minute long and would take about 5 minutes to load and play each video. Now, users can share lengthy videos of up to 2 hours with near-instantaneous load times.

Quick Support Anytime, Anywhere

Throughout its migration journey, LYKA has relied on AWS Support to advise on optimal infrastructure configurations and troubleshoot when issues arise. “The AWS team worked with us hand in hand to ensure we received quick assistance when we encountered scaling issues during a spike in traffic. AWS gives us confidence that when something goes wrong, there will always be someone to help us within a few hours,” Sta.Cruz says.

During the implementation phase, LYKA experienced a pressing issue with database latency in the middle of the night. Despite the timing, an AWS specialist in Australia provided support and addressed the issue. The specialist was able to determine the root cause and resolve the problem before morning, avoiding any service disruptions for users.

Expanding into New Markets

With a firm foothold in the social media capital of the world, LYKA is now looking to expand in Southeast Asia. It’s also actively exploring other services such as Amazon QuickSight to improve day-to-day operations with machine learning–powered business intelligence.

Kagho concludes, “When the business saw the difference in pricing and resource flexibility on AWS compared to that of multiple cloud providers, we decided to go all-in on AWS to take us to other countries in the region. AWS does a great job addressing the needs of a growing startup like ours.”

Learn More

To learn more, visit Migrate with AWS


About LYKA

LYKA is a free social media platform that allows its 8 million users to connect and share their interests. It offers a digital point system called LYKA Giftcards in Electronic Mode (GEMs) that rewards users for engagements on the platform.

Benefits of AWS

  • Increases user base by 600% in 9 months
  • Reduces provisioning time from 1 hour to 2 minutes
  • Scales to manage an increase in simultaneous chats from 100,000 to 1 million
  • Supports an increase in length of video posts of up to 2 hours
  • Decreases database replication time from 12 hours to 1 hour
  • Eliminates service downtime and system crashes
  • Provides fast support on critical system issues

AWS Services Used

Amazon Aurora

Amazon Aurora is a MySQL and PostgreSQL-compatible relational database built for the cloud that combines the performance and availability of traditional enterprise databases with the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of open source databases.

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Amazon CloudFront

Amazon CloudFront is a content delivery network (CDN) service built for high performance, security, and developer convenience.

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AWS Elemental MediaConvert

AWS Elemental MediaConvert is a file-based video transcoding service with broadcast-grade features.

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AWS Lambda

AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers, creating workload-aware cluster scaling logic, maintaining event integrations, or managing runtimes.

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