Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd is one of China’s leading providers of security products serving the mobile and Internet space. Qihoo 360 is committed to providing high-quality security services to mitigate the various issues Internet users might face while on the web. Based on the number of users for its security products on PCs and mobile devices, Qihoo 360 is one of the largest Internet security companies in China, and its browser is in a leading position among local products. The company is publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange as QIHU.
After succeeding in the Chinese domestic market, Qihoo 360 began to expand its business internationally. As an Internet company, Qihoo 360 knew that foreign expansion would require building new infrastructure to support the development of the company’s business abroad. Web businesses are characteristically infrastructure intensive, requiring a lot of capacity to meet variable changes in user demand and all without sacrificing security, stability, efficiency, and cost competitiveness. For its overseas expansion, Qihoo 360 faced a variety of decisions including whether it should build its own infrastructure or use a third party platform instead. Which third party platform might be able to meet the needs of Qihoo 360’s developing business? Would this platform be able to provide the availability and cost structure to meet the company’s requirements?
With the nuances of competing in overseas markets in mind, Qihoo 360’s internal technical team evaluated the benefits that would come with adopting a cloud strategy. In the second half of 2012, Qihoo 360’s Mr. Xiaosheng Tan, VP of Technical Operations, attended the Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent conference. Hearing a wide selection of AWS customers share their various technical experiences had a profound impact on Qihoo 360 that made the company further consider moving to the AWS Cloud. Qihoo 360 began a deep analysis of AWS from both technological and economic perspectives.
Qihoo 360 first conducted its technical assessment of AWS that included an analysis of the input/output (IO) performance of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), the number of maximum concurrent users that could run on Amazon EC2 instances, Amazon CloudFront performance, as well as the elasticity and scalability of the AWS Cloud. Secondly, the company also carried out a careful total cost of ownership analysis (TCO) of AWS. After its testing and cost analysis, Qihoo 360 decided to use AWS in connection with the Qihoo 360’s international expansion efforts.
Currently, Qihoo 360’s entire international platform is built on AWS. The platform was built leveraging Amazon CloudFront as its content delivery network (CDN), Amazon EC2, and Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), which serves the company’s processing needs, as well as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for its data store.
By tapping into AWS, Qihoo 360 was able to dramatically lower its time to market globally. In the case of Amazon EC2, the company was able to go from testing to production in a matter of a few days. According to Mr. Tan, “Traditional datacenters and server purchases would have taken months to deploy, especially considering international expansion. Today with AWS we are able to deploy globally and be in production in a few days!”
“The elasticity of the AWS Cloud and provisioning servers in minutes lets Qihoo 360 react to overseas market changes much more quickly,” commented Mr. Tan. By leveraging Amazon CloudFront, Qihoo 360 has improved the user experience of its oversea customers while lowering its CDN cost by 30% at the same time.
“Since AWS has a global infrastructure footprint, it’s really an excellent and easy way to expand global business for customers like Qihoo 360 who want to explore overseas markets,” Mr. Tan said. Looking into future, Qihoo 360 is looking at more applications to run on AWS in addition to leveraging more AWS regions to serve its customers.”
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