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Marine Desk Case Study

2014

Singapore-based Marine Desk Pte., Ltd. provides a bidding platform to help ship owners get competitive prices on bunker fuel from agents in ports around the world. Ship owners can list ship arrival times and fuel requirements, and view bids to meet those needs from participating agents. Marinedesk.com bidding replaces traditional direct negotiations between ship officers and agents for bunker fuel suppliers, enabling customers to obtain fuel for the lowest price available. Marinedesk.com also gives agents and fuel suppliers access to a wider group of buyers, and reduces the resources they need to invest in sales and marketing.

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As a start-up, fast time to market is vitally important to us. With AWS, we could immediately access all the infrastructure resources we needed, which helped us speed up development.”

Sandeep Kaul
Co-founder and VP of Sales, Marine Desk

The Challenge

In the past, shipping companies negotiated with only one or two agents when ordering bunker fuel, rather than with a multitude of agents. The founders of Marine Desk wanted to offer an alternative. Shipping companies spent $300 billion in 2012 on fuel. Giving ship owners a way to bid on fuel could lower a company’s costs by two to three percentage points, which could result in a sizable improvement in a company’s bottom line.
Marine Desk founders needed to act quickly to make their business a reality and to maintain an advantage over potential competitors. The founders needed a robust, secure infrastructure that would meet the needs of its customers and didn’t want to commit capital for on-premises datacenter equipment. Any infrastructure the company used had to maximize availability and minimize bandwidth, even when customers were in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The solution had to have the security to ensure that only authorized users could view individual bids and protect sensitive information in the Marinedesk.com database, which includes contacts of ship owners and agents and details of previous bids. “The amount of money involved in bunker fuel supply to shipping is considerable, so protecting bidding information is extremely important,” says Sandeep Kaul, Cofounder and VP, Sales.

Why Amazon Web Services

To make the platform a reality, its founders needed a web application partner and a low-cost, scalable infrastructure. “We were expert in maritime procurement and sales and marketing, but not as skilled technically,” Kaul says. “We needed technology suppliers who could understand our requirements and translate them into a viable business.” Marine Desk needed an infrastructure in four months and estimated using a third-party host provider take eight months. The company didn’t want to risk losing momentum. The founders sought help from BlazeClan Technologies PVT., Limited, an Advanced Consulting Partner in the Amazon Web Services Partner Network (APN).
BlazeClan suggested hosting Marinedesk.com on Amazon Web Services (AWS). “The presence of AWS in several geographic regions and its pay-as you-go, pay-per-use model was ideal for us,” Kaul says. “We were also convinced that the AWS Cloud could provide the robust performance and security we needed.”

The AWS pay-per-use model met Marine Desk’s requirements so comprehensively the founders immediately ruled out other infrastructure providers. “After BlazeClan helped us understand how AWS worked, we didn’t bother analyzing alternative options,” Kaul says. “AWS services and solutions are unrivalled in the marketplace, and most other startups we know are using them as well.”

BlazeClan developed Marinedesk.com and designed the bidding platform to minimize bandwidth requirements and maximize availability, so that customers can have a trouble-free experience even while at sea. The platform architecture helps ensure pages load quickly while database performance meets Marinedesk.com’s business requirements of about 350 inputs/outputs per second.

The bidding platform runs in a dedicated Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) hosted in the AWS Asia Pacific (Singapore) Region. The Marine Desk applications run on m1.small Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances with Auto Scaling. Elastic Load Balancing distributes incoming application traffic across the instances to optimize performance and maintain fault tolerance. Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) runs the Marine Desk MySQL database. 

The Benefits

To make the platform a reality, its founders needed a web application partner and a low-cost, scalable infrastructure. “We were expert in maritime procurement and sales and marketing, but not as skilled technically,” Kaul says. “We needed technology suppliers who could understand our requirements and translate them into a viable business.” Marine Desk needed an infrastructure in four months and estimated using a third-party host provider take eight months. The company didn’t want to risk losing momentum. The founders sought help from BlazeClan Technologies PVT., Limited, an Advanced Consulting Partner in the Amazon Web Services Partner Network (APN).
BlazeClan suggested hosting Marinedesk.com on Amazon Web Services (AWS). “The presence of AWS in several geographic regions and its pay-as you-go, pay-per-use model was ideal for us,” Kaul says. “We were also convinced that the AWS Cloud could provide the robust performance and security we needed.”

The AWS pay-per-use model met Marine Desk’s requirements so comprehensively the founders immediately ruled out other infrastructure providers. “After BlazeClan helped us understand how AWS worked, we didn’t bother analyzing alternative options,” Kaul says. “AWS services and solutions are unrivalled in the marketplace, and most other startups we know are using them as well.”

BlazeClan developed Marinedesk.com and designed the bidding platform to minimize bandwidth requirements and maximize availability, so that customers can have a trouble-free experience even while at sea. The platform architecture helps ensure pages load quickly while database performance meets Marinedesk.com’s business requirements of about 350 inputs/outputs per second.

The bidding platform runs in a dedicated Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) hosted in the AWS Asia Pacific (Singapore) Region. The Marine Desk applications run on m1.small Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances with Auto Scaling. Elastic Load Balancing distributes incoming application traffic across the instances to optimize performance and maintain fault tolerance. Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) runs the Marine Desk MySQL database. Figure 1 demonstrates Marinedesk.com’s infrastructure.

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About Marine Desk

Singapore-based Marine Desk Pte., Ltd. provides a bidding platform to help ship owners get competitive prices on bunker fuel from agents in ports around the world.


AWS Services Used

Amazon VPC

Provision a logically isolated section of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud where you can launch AWS resources in a virtual network that you define.

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Amazon EC2

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud.

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AWS Auto Scaling

AWS Auto Scaling monitors your applications and automatically adjusts capacity to maintain steady, predictable performance at the lowest possible cost.

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Amazon RDS

Set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud with just a few clicks.

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