Cloud Migration Case Study

Cloud migration and cost optimization for a web application company

Background:

Tinybop is an award-winning studio of designers, developers, and artists building a suite of educational iOS apps for kids. After acquiring Funbrain.com, a website with free educational games, online books and comics, they needed to migrate this new web property into their AWS account from the data center and another AWS account where it was hosted.

Challenges:

Funbrain.com received over 2.5 million requests, requiring 250GB of bandwidth daily. The Linux, PHP and other libraries in use were several versions out of date and the codebase was over 20 years old. Some of the platforms used were unfamiliar to the team. Multiple servers and Postgres databases had to be moved with a requirement of zero downtime and no service interruptions. For contractual reasons, the entire migration had to be completed within 8 weeks.

Solution:

  • Discovery and Inventory
    Reverse engineering the system was a priority first step. Working with the existing developer, we mapped out all the services, codebases, build and deploy processes. We also found all the interactions between services and data sources so we could use the corresponding managed services. Some code required going through 15 years of revisions to reconcile and find the currently deployed version.
  • Design and Plan
    We upgraded and tested all major software versions and implemented a new deployment system with separate production, staging and development environments. This included automatically compiling old C scripts and managing dependency conflicts and security issues with other frameworks. Where necessary, we rewrote systems to work natively with AWS services like CloudFront and S3. We planned a multi-phase cloud migration to carefully test each component in staging and then again as it was rolled out to production.
  • Execution
    Even with limited time, we were able to build a redundant, secure architecture leveraging native AWS services. Creative DNS and load balancing allowed us to complete a carefully orchestrated zero-downtime migration during transfer of domain name ownership. New monitoring, alerting and automated systems gave us the ability to respond to and mitigate any issues before users were affected.
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Result:

The new site handled more traffic at a lower cost and faster response times with fault-tolerance where it previously did not exist. The engineering team had a testing environment with a clear deployment path to production. We trained the new developers and provided fully documented configuration management and monitoring. By all accounts, the migration was a huge success, delivered on time and on-budget.

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What our clients are saying

“Dave recently helped Tinybop with a major site migration on an extremely tight timeline.”

“The site had a lot of technical debt and there were many unknowns for us as a company, and Dave’s confidence and thoroughness throughout the project were extremely reassuring.

At all points in the project, he was extremely communicative and thorough, as he provided weekly progress updates, ensured that we knew what to expect and that we were fully aware of any risks or open questions.

Dave’s thoughtfulness about his work is evident, and extends to even the tiniest of details. We expressed the importance of ongoing costs being within budget, and Dave took these priorities very seriously resulting in our costs being under budget.”

Youngna Park, COO, Tinybop