Segment Case Study


Segment provides a service used by businesses to collect customer data in a single hub for later use in analytics, marketing, and for other purposes. The San Francisco–based firm has a broad customer base, ranging from startups to enterprises, including brand names such as Nokia, Angie’s List, Conde Nast, The Motley Fool, and Salesforce Foundation.

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Switching to Amazon ECS has greatly simplified running a service without needing to worry about provisioning or availability."

Calvin French-Owen
Cofounder and Chief Technology Officer, Segment

The Challenge

  • Company originally ran every application, including API backends, data ingestion, and others, on instances alone.
  • Provisioning applications was manually intensive, requiring running startup scripts and manual installs; instances wound up being out of sync because configuration settings were all different.
  • Moved to Docker for a better configuration management. Applications can be defined with Docker Compose for consistency and remain stateless.
  • Wanted to move their new Docker-based architecture into production, but needed a way to manage and schedule containers at scale.
  • Evaluated many open source options, but had been using other AWS products, and wanted a solution that was simple and would integrate with the AWS ecosystem.

Why Amazon Web Services

  • Started using Amazon EC2 Container Service (Amazon ECS) as a way to offload cluster management and container orchestration to a service.
  • Different services such as API, CDN, and App are deployed on different Amazon ECS clusters. Each service is defined by a task definition indicating which version of the container to run, which cluster to choose, and how many containers should be deployed.
  • Uses Elastic Load Balancing and Amazon Route 53 for service discovery. Each service registers to an ELB and Amazon Route 53 points a local entry at each ELB. Services can communicate with each other through DNS.
  • Segment uses Datadog, an AWS Advanced Technology Partner, to provide metrics and visualizations on usage and latency.

The Benefits

Using Amazon Elastic MapReduce Yelp was able to save $55,000 in upfront hardware costs and get up and running in a matter of days not months. However, most important to Yelp is the opportunity cost. “With AWS, our developers can now do things they couldn’t before,” says Marin. “Our systems team can focus their energies on other challenges.”

About Segment

Segment provides a service used by businesses to collect customer data in a single hub for later use in analytics, marketing, and for other purposes.

Benefits of AWS

  • Improved availability thanks to multiple Availability Zones
  • Easily runs new services
  • Minimizes container management

AWS Services Used

Amazon ECS

Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) is a highly scalable, high-performance container orchestration service that supports Docker containers.

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Elastic Load Balancing

Elastic Load Balancing automatically distributes incoming application traffic across multiple targets, such as Amazon EC2 instances, containers, IP addresses, and Lambda functions.

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Amazon Route 53

Amazon Route 53 is a highly available and scalable cloud Domain Name System (DNS) web service.

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