Streaming in the cloud

Streaming in the cloud

Switching over to cloud services has improved customer search and opened new doors for Guvera to go global, Hamish Barwick finds

Guvera CTO Damien King.

Guvera CTO Damien King.

Wanting to improve music search times for its 1 million customers, Australian-based music streaming service Guvera moved from physical servers to the cloud in August 2013.

The transition was made following an audit by Guvera CTO ,Damien King, who found the company’s hardware too costly and time intensive to support. The Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud was chosen in order to handle the large amount of information running through its IT infrastructure.

“We have huge amounts of data to process because there are millions of track plays along with streaming information that needs to be reported on daily,” King told CIO Australia.

"When we looked at expanding into additional markets, it was going to be very expensive to buy server hardware. It was also difficult to work with that particular vendor to set up a network to serve countries like Indonesia.

“From our perspective, it was much easier to rollout into multiple territories with Amazon because we had saved costs."

Previously, Guvera’s track search was slow returning results as people tried to search across millions of artists, albums and track names, King explained. Shifting to a cloud service drove a “significant improvement.”

The company has since launched additional social elements that allow users to search for people.

“Because we have about 1 million users, doing a free form text search was very slow using Amazon’s relational database system [RDS],” King said. “We moved over to Amazon Cloud search and found that product to be extremely beneficial for removing latency on text search."

Arguably, the biggest benefit with AWS is how quickly services can be copied and moved from one territory to another, King continued.

“If we had to do that with physical hardware, it would be very difficult. What would have taken several weeks in our old dedicated service I can now do with AWS in a matter of hours,” he said.

Guvera is working with Brisbane-based Amazon partner, ITOC, to provide remote monitoring.

“It's always recommended for smaller organisations to employ someone who is an expert in Amazon. We have 24/7 monitoring via ITOC and alerts to tell us what is going on within the Amazon platform,” King said.

For extra security, Guvera's music files are not stored in Amazon but instead by a service provider based in London.

“They have certain security measures around those data centres and the [music] labels know the exact location of those assets,” said King.

Turning to the future, Guvera is aiming to grow is customer base to 10 million users and has launched its service in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

The expansion is off the back of a deal it signed with Lenovo in March 2014 to pre-install Guvera’s music streaming service on Lenovo tablets and smartphones. King explained Lenovo’s smartphone penetration is extensive in emerging markets such as Indonesia, where Guvera now has a presence.

"We are going to follow Lenovo’s global rollout strategy, particularly based around where its smartphone distribution hotspots are,” he said.

"We were already thinking about emerging markets because a lot of our competitors like Pandora are primarily based in the United States, Canada and Australia. They don't have music rights for the rest of the world."

Other technology projects are also in the works. Guvera migrated to Google DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) in December 2013 to serve all of its ads, a move King said had been a “big cost saver.”

“Generally, when you work with an [advertising] agency to serve the ads they will take a certain commission off the revenue," he said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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