Mobvista Case Study
Mobvista is a mobile advertising and marketing service technology platform that provides mobile advertising and data analysis services for global application developers. Its use of Amazon Web Services (AWS) has enabled Mobvista to expand and innovate quickly; its average daily ad request volume was 18 billion requests in 2017 and surged to an average of 50 billion in 2018. By making extensive use of Amazon EC2 Spot Instances, Mobvista saves nearly CNY 10 million (USD $1.4 million) a year in IT costs.
My personal view of AWS is ultimate simplicity and extreme scalability. AWS enables Mobvista to expand and innovate rapidly."
Vice President of Technology and Chief Architect , Mobvista
Mobile advertising and marketing service technology provider Mobvista has adopted an cloud-native architecture to gradually establish a full-stack mobile advertising platform based on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The Mobvista platform includes an SSP (Supplier Side Platform), DSP (Demand Side Platform), AdExchange Advertising Exchange Platform, and Data Management Platform, with all business applications sitting in the AWS Cloud. Mobvista leverages various AWS services, including data storage service Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), NoSQL database service Amazon DynamoDB, database warehouse service Amazon Redshift, serverless service AWS Lambda, and more, and the company will also explore new technologies from AWS as they are released.
Figure 1, below, is a diagram of Mobvista's system architecture, which includes a myriad of AWS services including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Redshift, Amazon Kinesis, Amazon CloudWatch, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), AWS Lambda, Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling, Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS), and Amazon ElastiCache.
Why Amazon Web Services
Since its establishment in 2013, Mobvista’s business has expanded rapidly, ushering in a stage of high-speed development with the average daily ad request volume exploding from 18 billion requests in 2017 to about 50 billion in 2018. This volume continued to grow to 60 billion requests in 2019, peaking at 100 billion, with IT business volume also soaring. At present, the scale of servers used by Mobvista is about ten times larger than it was initially. Mobvista has been able to meet such rapid business growth rate and the corresponding large-scale business demands by basing its applications in cloud.
Cai Chao, vice president of technology and chief architect at Mobvista, said, "AWS has generally outperformed expectations. It not only supports the rapid expansion of business systems and speeds up innovation but also continuously improves the overall availability and reduces the service cost of a single request by as much as 60 percent through in-depth application of new AWS technologies."
The depth and breadth of cloud services provided by AWS, as well as the stability, availability, and scalability of the services themselves, have helped Mobvista conquer the challenges of large-scale and high-speed expansion. Given the global presence of Mobvista, the ability for its system to respond to requests from users everywhere at the fastest speed possible is essential. Moreover, the system requires high stability because traffic peaks can occur frequently and instantaneous click volume can rise sharply, which require the system to quickly respond and scale. The robust, extensive, and in-depth services from AWS enable Mobvista to streamline the operation and maintenance and reduce its cost. So far, the number of members on the operation and maintenance team is still the same as that in 2016.
Cloud-Oriented IT Reconfiguration
In 2017, Mobvista’s IT investment increased, coinciding with the company’s rapid growth. Mobvista began to think about how to manage complexity on the cloud if it continued to grow at this momentum. Mobvista found that AWS has valuable experience to assist with that complexity, especially in the application of microservices and DevOps concepts. Therefore, Mobvista started to fully reconfigure its application architecture, starting with microservices. At that time, Mobvista's applications were composed of large monomer systems. By reconfiguing to microservices approach, bottlenecks could be located at a finer granularity, so resources could be allocated to key locations for expansion.
During the time of its microservices transformation, Mobvista also built a high-availability system oriented to prevent errors and speed recovery. Mobvista hoped that any interruption in one piece of the system would not interfere with the operation of the whole system.
Then, Mobvista began the development of its serverless architecture. By using Amazon DynamoDB, AWS Lambda and other services, the granularity of the system architecture was further refined to enhance the elasticity and scalability at a smaller level and simplify the system overall, thus reducing the costs for operation and maintenance.
In order to build a large-scale, cloud-based system at low cost, in addition to the application of the above best practices, Mobvista has started to use Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) Spot Instances in large quantities, thus greatly saving costs. Spot Instances are spare compute capacity in the AWS Cloud available at steep discounts compared to On-Demand prices. The prices are adjusted on an hourly basis according to changes in supply-demand relationship. Mobvista has adopted Amazon EC2 Spot Instances on a large scale in a highly-available system architecture, taking full advantage of Amazon EC2 Spot pricing, strong elasticity, and recoverability. While still ensuring the stability and reliability of its whole system, Mobvista's IT costs have been greatly reduced. At present, 70 percent of Mobvista's architecture runs on EC2 Spot Instances.
After the total transformation, the IT cost for a single advertisement request of Mobvista is 65% lower than before. As noted in Mobvista's 2018 Annual Report, the ratio of server cost to total revenue decreased from 4.4% in 2017 to 4.1% in 2018.
Achieving Momentum at Scale
"My personal view of AWS is ultimate simplicity and extreme scalability. AWS enables Mobvista to expand and innovate rapidly,” Cao said.
Relying on the global coverage and robust cloud computing IT architecture of AWS, Mobvista can meet the demands for its expanding business at any time. Even after Mobvista reached considerable scale, the momentum of business expansion has stayed strong. Based on the underlying support of Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3, Mobvista has built the EnginePlus Big Data Computing Middle Platform to analyze and process data at 10+PB level, laying a solid foundation for future business upgrades.
Established in 2014, Mobvista (Guangzhou) Technology Company is a world-renowned mobile advertising and marketing service technology platform, focusing on providing mobile advertising and data analysis services for application developers worldwide.
Benefits of AWS
- Scales operations to meet business demand while reducing IT costs
- Deploys microservices architecture to enhance elasticity and scalability
- Saves nearly $1.4 million a year in IT costs, reducing costs for a single advertisement request by 65%
AWS Services Used
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers. Amazon EC2’s simple web service interface allows you to obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction. It provides you with complete control of your computing resources and lets you run on Amazon’s proven computing environment.
Amazon EC2 Spot Instances
Amazon EC2 Spot Instances let you take advantage of unused EC2 capacity in the AWS cloud. Spot Instances are available at up to a 90% discount compared to On-Demand prices. You can use Spot Instances for various stateless, fault-tolerant, or flexible applications such as big data, containerized workloads, CI/CD, web servers, high-performance computing (HPC), and other test & development workloads.
Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)
Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance. This means customers of all sizes and industries can use it to store and protect any amount of data for a range of use cases, such as websites, mobile applications, backup and restore, archive, enterprise applications, IoT devices, and big data analytics.
Redshift powers analytical workloads for Fortune 500 companies, startups, and everything in between. Companies like Lyft have grown with Redshift from startups to multi-billion dollar enterprises.
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