Umbrella Managed Services for AWS Cloud Enables ALTBalaji to Scale New Heights
ALTBalaji is a subscription-based video on demand platform which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Balaji Telefilms Ltd. Launched in 2017 ALTBalaji is the Group’s foray into digital entertainment to create original, premium, and tailor-made content for Indians across the globe. Delivered as an OTT service, the content can be accessed via mobile and tablet devices, Web browser and Android TV.
01. Growing Pains – Managing Growth & Customer Experience
As an OTT media service provider streaming unique entertainment content, ALTBalaji has highly unpredictable traffic which fluctuates widely depending on new releases, holiday season, weekends or popularity of particular shows. While content is the hook to draw audience, a wholistic viewer experience is the glue that creates sticky traffic.
ALTBalaji’s deployment on AWS Cloud allows it to take advantage of high scalability and elasticity. But infrastructure scalability is just one metrics for delivering wholistic viewer experience as there are many dependencies such as web response, application performance, database response which must optimally work in unison to deliver a complete and satisfactory viewer experience. As its popularity increased, ALTBalaji found it increasingly difficult to manage operational complexities while delivering a consistent customer experience.
Speed is critical for digital business and if an end user accesses a slow website or application, they will move on to another site. Therefore, ALTBalaji needed to proactively identify performance issues and address it before it affects customer experience. ALTBalaji required advanced monitoring of their infrastructure and applications to achieve this.
Another critical imperative for the company was to deliver content in a secure manner as it had a global presence and needed to adhere to compliance and regulatory requirements.
After doing due diligence, ALTBalaji selected Umbrella Infocare as its Managed Service Provider to achieve the following specific objectives:
02. Complex Deployment Environment
Spread across various AWS regions, ALTBalaji has a sprawling and complex deployment with different set ups dedicated to specific purposes. There are separate environments for staging, pre-production and production, analytics, OTT platform, payment gateway, etc with multi-tiered architecture using a host of AWS services including EC2 with autoscaling, Amazon RDS, DynamoDB, etc .
03. Superior Customer Experience with Advanced Monitoring
Monitoring Cloud applications are difficult as at times there is no visibility into the infrastructure layer and given the volume and scale ALTBalaji was experiencing, monitoring was even more complex. Umbrella deployed different approaches to monitor infrastructure, application and database performance.
Using a combination AWS CloudWatch, Site24x7 and Datadog, Umbrella provided a comprehensive solution to monitor utilization of infrastructure and monitor latency and query response at all levels.
AWS CloudWatch with custom metrics enabled threshold monitoring for server and memory utilization and monitored AWS Application Load Balancer and ElasticSearch. However, monitoring API was critical given the large number of integrations which had a direct bearing on customer experience. For example, if the catalogue is slow to respond to queries due to some backend issue, viewer will quickly move on to another service resulting in business loss. Datadog monitoring ensures that API is always available and API queries are responsive.
Datadog also monitors application performance and database transactions by providing insights into number of requests, latency, and response time which helps to easily identify performance bottlenecks with insights such as which tables are most queried; and whether background tasks are slowing application performance.
04. Achieving Strategic Business Objectives with Continuous Compliance
With continuous compliance as the underlying framework Umbrella set up scripted environments in CloudFormation for programmatic deployment; created security groups and IAM based access; configured AWS CloudTrail and Config for continuous monitoring. In case of non-compliance, AWS Config identifies non-compliance and generates an alert which enables Umbrella Managed Services team to investigate and take action. AWS Config uses Lambda to evaluate custom monitoring rules and send notifications using SNS.
AWS Config and CloudTrail capture logs and compare against defined policies and if unauthorized action is detected, Config which is programmatically integrated with AWS Lambda will enforce compliance.
05. A Win-Win Partnership
ALTBalaji was able to step up its game with enhanced customer experience and higher cost efficiencies with Umbrella MSP services. Speaking about the partnership, Shahabuddin Sheikh | Chief Technology Officer said, “As the Managed Service Partner Umbrella elevated the customer experience with advanced monitoring solutions that closely watched API availability, application and database performance. At the same time, we accrued significant savings using Reserved instances and optimizing Redshift deployment.”
Specific benefits included: