Choozle migrates programmatic ad platform from AWS to Google Cloud
/ AT A GLANCE
Choozle moved to Google Cloud with SADA’s help & advice, leveraging Google Cloud solutions including Looker, GKE, and Firebase and saved 300%.
300% on infrastructure
Savings into engineering
It’s more important than ever to meet customers where they are. If companies advertise to customers, that may mean going multichannel, which leaves an opportunity to customize and select your channels. Choozle provides a digital advertising software platform that leverages detailed consumer data to power programmatic advertising campaigns across display, video, mobile, audio, connected TV, digital out-of-home, and other mediums–all from a single, intuitive interface. This helps companies meet their customers in a more lasting and meaningful way.
“We offer a platform to small and medium-sized businesses, agencies, and brands that allows them to log into our platform and run advertising budgets,” says Mike Baldassare, Manager of Engineering Operations at Choozle. “There’s a number of powerful abilities available. You can add a CRM list, output custom audiences, and reach them across the internet with targeted advertising. You can also get insights on website visitors to understand your audience. Then you can retarget website visitors with advertising.”
In addition to Choozle’s robust technological capabilities, they seek to become strategic partners to their customers. “At a high level, our mission is to power every brand,” says Justin Johnson, VP of Engineering at Choozle.
Choozle has been at the forefront of programmatic advertising since their inception in 2013. When they knew their business would grow, they needed to ensure their solution could support that growth. After starting out with a rack-based data center, they migrated to AWS in 2015.
“Once we knew the business was going to scale, our founders said, ‘We need a bigger and more powerful platform;’ that’s when we moved from a data center to AWS,” says Baldassare. “This was before managed Kubernetes. So we moved to AWS and stood up all the parts of our application on EC2 instances.”
They proceeded to run on AWS for three years, but eventually, the economics of hosting their application there drove Choozle toward a more cost-effective alternative. They also saw this challenge as an opportunity to replatform their application to take advantage of modern computing architectures.
“Choozle needed cloud services and functionality comparable to AWS, but with a different cost structure,” says Johnson. “That would allow us to free resources for other priorities, like reinvesting in our engineering team, feature development, and other areas of the business.”
Choozle had been testing out Google Cloud even while they were in production on AWS. “Choozle started experimenting with Google Cloud three years ago,” says Baldassare. “As we approach replatforming our entirely new ad platform, we want to rebuild it on Google Cloud.” When Choozle decided to replatform all their production workloads to Google Cloud, they approached them about their projects. At that point, Google Cloud introduced SADA to Choozle.
As a first step in the replatforming, Choozle engaged SADA on a Looker implementation for the customer dashboards in the new platform.
Google Cloud presented SADA as a solution provider for us to amplify development and build out of our Looker instance. SADA assigned two embedded engineers to our Looker project, and they helped us build out almost every visualization in the new platform.Mike Baldassare | Manager of Engineering Operations at Choozle
In addition to Looker, the Choozle engineering team thought Google Cloud was suited to offering a modern architecture based on microservices, so they decided to build the foundation there. Choozle also wanted to use the Go programming language, developed by Google, as part of their replatforming; that was another factor in choosing Google Cloud. “There’s an attractiveness to Go,” says Baldassare. “When we decided to move to Go as part of the replatforming, it made sense to also work on the underlying Google Cloud infrastructure. Our entire infrastructure is built atop Google Cloud.”
Because Go offers engineers a better development experience, Choozle finds an advantage in advertising that to potential job recruits, whether they’re fresh out of college or seasoned coders looking for their next opportunity. “Go helps us stand out as enterprise level, even as a startup,” says Johnson. “Go empowers our cloud builds within Google Cloud. Now we have a modern workflow and pipeline that allows engineers to focus on creating meaningful customer experiences and not on the overhead of writing and testing code for multiple initiatives. That’s an attraction for engineers looking to join an organization.”
Another advantage of moving to Google Cloud is increasing the capability to release more software updates more quickly with Firebase development tools. “Choozle uses Firebase for the UI, a layer of the application in our new platform,” says Johnson. “With preview URLs, a Choozle engineer can collaborate with more people on a new feature or bug fix. We can generate a preview URL using Firebase so that code can be tested in isolation. That uncouples features from one another, enabling us to release multiple times a day, if needed.”
In addition, it was important to Choozle to use Google Cloud infrastructure to reduce the operational cost of managing clusters and for managed services to handle DevOps, both of which GKE Autopilot provides. GKE Autopilot also manages both the Management Plane and Data Plane for Choozle. With the native integrations available in GKE Autopilot, which is written in Go, Choozle was able to dive deeper into all their logs and for monitoring.
“GKE Autopilot gives us autoscaling, which mostly takes care of our DevOps,” says Johnson. “We’re a lean DevOps organization, so while we’re modern, we’re also able to do that efficiently and reinvest those resources. GKE lets us natively integrate into tools like Datadog. We have cloud monitoring within Google Cloud and can aggregate our logs and monitoring of performance and application health into a single source of truth–with the click of a button–between Datadog and Google Cloud.”
As a result of working with SADA and Google Cloud, Choozle was able to successfully migrate all its production workloads from AWS. They also achieved a more flexible and cost-effective development and production environment that enabled them to reinvest in engineering resources and create new features.
The key to achieving a more flexible and cost-effective platform comes down to thought leadership and trusted customer advisors.
SADA provides what feels like an end-to-end, full-service offering. We tell them our needs, then they’ll right-size our solution or tell us we’ve already configured the correct solution–that’s the consultative nature of our relationship. In fact, the SADA relationship is so important to Choozle that we’re now identifying past opportunities where their thought leadership would’ve saved us time and money.Justin Johnson | VP of Engineering at Choozle
SADA’s expert solution advice and moving to Google Cloud has given Choozle a new platform that’s 300% more affordable. “The next stage of development for Choozle is this set of Google Cloud solutions that have enabled us to modernize at an affordable cost,” says Johnson. “That’s outstanding.” Overall, SADA and Google Cloud enabled Choozle to:
- Rebuild all their customer dashboards in Looker
- Leverage Firebase to isolate individual software features for easier testing
- Implement GKE Autopilot for cluster management and DevOps managed services
- Save 300% on infrastructure costs
Like a multistage spacecraft blasting off, Choozle utilized the power of SADA and Google Cloud to achieve escape velocity. “Making the switch to SADA and Google Cloud was multifactorial and enabled Choozle to ignite the booster rockets as we leave Earth for a wider business orbit,” says Johnson.
We really love having SADA as our thought leader, offering to step in, evaluate where Choozle is on our Google Cloud journey, where we could be, and doing that with kindness and without judgment. SADA doesn’t upsell us at every corner. The line between SADA and Google Cloud is blurred enough that it feels like a unified team. We’re totally supported within the ecosystem and the details of who’s responsible for what are ancillary to our needs.
— Justin Johnson | VP of Engineering at Choozle
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