Because DevOps is faster on AWS, we have reduced the cost of test and development by 70 percent.
Con Raso Managing Director, Tuned Global

Tuned Global, headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, connects brands to consumers through music. The company’s business model is to leverage partnerships with music publishers and rights holders to create monetized music channels for customers. To date, Tuned Global has delivered music-streaming and internet radio solutions for companies such as Samsung, Vodafone, Coca Cola, and L’Oréal.

In 2013, Tuned Global stored publishers’ music in an on-premises infrastructure. Over the next six years, the number of digital song files ingested each day for streaming increased from 10,000 to 100,000—amounting to 7.2 terabytes—creating a need for more capacity. To meet this need, the company began using bare-metal servers in IBM SoftLayer. Con Raso, managing director of Tuned Global, says, “Our use of IBM SoftLayer was the first step in the plan to migrate our entire IT infrastructure to the cloud. We wanted to move from on-premises IT to a more scalable way of delivering services.”

When Tuned Global began planning a complete migration to the cloud, the company spoke with existing provider IBM SoftLayer, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS). The cloud providers told Raso he needed to make changes to his current software stack, particularly schemas in the database layer, to enable a successful migration. Raso began making a more detailed assessment of each cloud provider and the support available to modify the stack and deliver the move. He concluded that AWS was a better option than Azure or SoftLayer for several reasons. “The distribution of AWS Regions and Availability Zones around the world meant that AWS could support growth in new markets,” Raso says. “Plus, the broad range of services in AWS eliminated the need—in terms of time and money—to build software tools for multiple functions like logging and monitoring.”

Tuned Global confirmed its decision to migrate to AWS after connecting with base2Services, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN). “The base2Services team gave us a lot of confidence around the migration to AWS. They could make the changes to our infrastructure and automation code and help us build resiliency and security into our AWS infrastructure, create a DevOps pipeline, and oversee ongoing cloud management work,” recalls Raso.

Working with base2Services, Tuned Global completed the migration to AWS in six weeks. In that time, Tuned Global identified a bottleneck limiting the number of music files—uploaded by publishers using the industry-standard secure file transfer protocol (sFTP)—that Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) could ingest. The solution, developed in partnership with base2Services, was to use Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) to stage the sFTP files before passing them to Amazon S3. “It helped us improve ingestion speeds by 10 times,” says Raso. Tuned Global then rearchitected the solution to minimize the time that music files resided in Amazon EFS. “The work we did on our architecture went really well. We found a solution to ingest potentially millions of tracks without performance issues using AWS.”

base2Services helped Tuned Global create the infrastructure-as-code, using AWS CloudFormation, needed to rapidly scale the AWS infrastructure. “We prefer to use native AWS tools and we think AWS CloudFormation is the best way to build and manage an AWS infrastructure. Because we build templates in a modular and component-based way, we can reuse AWS CloudFormation templates for all our customers in a scalable way”, says Aaron Walker, technology director at base2Services.Tuned Global worked with base2Services to build a DevOps-based pipeline and an orchestration layer to speedily deploy multiple environments. Today, base2Services provides Tuned Global with 24/7 support through its DevOps-as-a-Service offering. This, in turn, helps accelerate enhancements to Tuned Global’s AWS infrastructure.

With AWS, Tuned Global doesn’t have to provision servers, storage, and networking in advance to support growth for its music-streaming and internet radio solutions. By using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud Auto Scaling (Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling), for instance, it automatically adds or removes compute instances to maximize the performance of its streaming service. Tuned Global can also test new services and configurations and make code changes quicker than it ever could on premises. “Because DevOps is faster on AWS, we have reduced the cost of test and development by 70 percent,” says Raso.

Tuned Global holds around 1 petabyte (PB) worth of digital music files in Amazon S3. Amazon S3 Glacier is used as a data archive, largely for the files’ metadata. The combined benefit of Amazon S3 and Amazon S3 Glacier is that it provides a low-cost way for retrieving the metadata—which contains information about the artist and the track. Now, if Tuned Global needs to retrieve any incorrect metadata to make changes, the company can do so faster. “Before AWS, we needed someone to go through multiple storage devices looking for the metadata—it could take months,” says Raso. “With Amazon S3 Glacier, we can locate the data in a day.”

Tuned Global has integrated Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose into its AWS infrastructure to ingest data from music streamed to listeners’ devices. Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose streams the data into an Amazon S3 bucket where Amazon Athena, a serverless interactive query service, performs analysis. The results are visualized using Amazon QuickSight, a business intelligence service. “We can identify music trends over the last hour and demographics within that data,” says Raso. Tuned Global has enabled a collaboration between Universal Music Group and Pizza Hut Malaysia where pizza boxes are stamped with QR codes that, when scanned, give customers access to a playlist of songs to listen to while enjoying their food.

Tuned Global can now onboard customers faster with its AWS infrastructure than an on-premises infrastructure because of the cloud’s flexibility. “With our on-premises infrastructure, we needed to understand a new customer’s user pipeline and then commit to infrastructure resourcing. This process could take anywhere from three to six months,” says Raso. “With the scalability of AWS, we have reduced onboarding to a couple of weeks.” The scalability also means Tuned Global can meet customer pipelines whatever their size. For example, Tuned Global has signed a partnership with LINE MUSIC, a music-streaming service in Japan, to deliver songs to 220 million global monthly users. “We scale to whatever our customers’ requirements may be, anywhere in the world,” comments Raso.  

AWS infrastructure at Turned Global