California-based Jobvite provides software-as-a-service (SaaS) recruiting solutions to help companies target the right talent and build the best teams. Jobvite is a complete, modular SaaS platform with applicant tracking, recruitment marketing, social recruiting, and video interviewing solutions that help recruiters do their jobs more easily and effectively. Founded in 2003, Jobvite has more than 1,600 customers, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Etsy, SpaceX, and Farmers Insurance. In addition, 46 million job seekers interact with a Jobvite-powered career site each year.
Because Jobvite is a SaaS provider, its customers not only expect Jobvite applications to work seamlessly, they also depend on Jobvite’s servers and network to be fast and reliable. The managed service provider (MSP) and collocation environment that Jobvite was using to run its SaaS platform had become exceedingly unstable and Jobvite struggled to maintain quality of service. “It was very painful,” says Theodore Kim, senior director of SaaS operations at Jobvite. “We were constantly firefighting behind the scenes in order to keep our platform up to the demanding standards of performance and availability our customers expected.”
Scaling was also an issue, especially during peak periods, and the limitations of the collocation environment was impeding the company’s ability to grow. “We initially depended on physical servers being online to host our own clusters of databases for our application needs,” Kim explains. During times of greater reporting requirements—for example, for customer year-end reporting—Jobvite would need to request new servers weeks in advance to support the upcoming load. “Scaling was always an issue in terms of provisioning machines and also finding the network capacity to actually install and connect new servers to the rest of the environment,” says Kim. “And any machine we had to add came with a two-year commitment. So we were constricted in terms of what we could do.”
Some of our most important customers were complaining about slow speeds,” says Kim. “We needed to migrate to an environment that could offer exceptional stability, service availability, and near-limitless capacity. And we needed it fast.”
Why Amazon Web Services
“Stability, performance, and the ability to scale were crucial requirements for a new solution, but those capabilities were not the only reason that Jobvite chose Amazon Web Services,” says Kim. “AWS was the only cloud solution to offer a depth and breadth of services that could help the company increase application stability while lowering costs.”
Jobvite migrated its workload to AWS, using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) to eliminate the costs, downtime, and capacity constraints associated with physical servers. “We now run all our systems on AWS, including our development, staging, user acceptance testing, and production environments,” Kim says. “We’re using Amazon EC2 to its fullest. We’ve deployed multiple environments in Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) using Amazon EC2 instances, Auto Scaling groups, Elastic Load Balancing, and security groups for scalability and reliability. By leveraging predefined Auto Scaling groups, we can autonomously recover from server-related issues as well as scale on demand according to an increase in application traffic. That ability is extremely valuable to Jobvite.”
For the half a million outbound emails Jobvite sends per workday, it uses Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES). For delivering notifications and executing HTTP requests to the Jobvite application, it uses Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS).
Jobvite is also using Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and PostgreSQL to run its databases; Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to store terabytes of data; and Amazon CloudWatch to monitor its AWS cloud resources. In addition, Jobvite takes advantage of a dozen more AWS services, including Amazon WorkSpaces, Amazon Redshift, and Amazon CloudTrail. These services are the keys to cost and administration savings because Jobvite can avoid building and maintaining servers that would run these types of services. “AWS has an extensive list of services that basically replace server components,” Kim explains.
In addition, as Jobvite expanded its customer base to include not only small and midsize companies but enterprise companies as well, security compliance increasingly became a customer requirement. “Using AWS, Jobvite is able to adhere to SSAE SOC 1, 2, and 3 reporting standards, comply with PCI DSS Level 1, and achieve ISO 27001 certification,” Kim says. “That’s an enormous value. We simply could not sell our services to midmarket and enterprise customers without these certifications because they demand them from their SaaS providers.”
Jobvite discovered that AWS provides the stability, performance, scalability, and security it needs to offer exceptional service to its customers—while saving the company time and money. In addition, by taking advantage of many of the AWS services, Jobvite can now focus on developing its offerings and expanding into new markets. “We’re expanding to China, the UK, Canada, and Germany. We have traditionally sold to the small and midsize business space and are now selling to midmarket and enterprise companies,” Kim explains.
After migrating its SaaS platform to AWS, Jobvite experienced a substantial increase in availability and uptime—an improvement both its customers and investors noticed. “Now we’re well above 99.98 percent availability for our services. The difference is night and day,” says Kim. “We were in a situation where my team was working around the clock to maintain a high level of service. After we migrated to AWS, my system and database administrators now regularly get a full night of sleep. We also raised an additional $25 million of expansion capital from investors. That wouldn’t have happened unless we could prove we had an environment that could scale while maintaining a high level of quality of service.”
Brian Morehead, DevOps architect at Jobvite, emphasizes the significant decrease in time, labor, and cost involved in adding an instance in the AWS cloud compared with the previous need to add a new physical server to the Jobvite environment. The difference is approximately going from two to three weeks to five minutes to provision a full server. “The game-changer with AWS is that, if a server fails, another one spins up with autoscaling because we can monitor our infrastructure using Amazon CloudWatch.”
“We’re experiencing rapid growth,” adds Kim. “Cloud computing is the perfect environment for rapid growth and rapid deployment,because you have near-unlimited capacity that you can bring online.” Using AWS enables this growth without the financial risk of buying a physical server that might be the wrong size. “In the physical world, you buy the server, and if you haven’t sized it correctly, you’re out of luck,” says Kim. “With AWS, you can experiment with instance size. You can try saving money by going smaller. If that’s too small, you can go back up. It costs us only the per-hour charge. That’s flexibility that you simply don’t have in the physical server world.” The flexibility of cloud computing also means Jobvite developers can try out different scenarios for configurations, test them, and quickly choose the best configuration to use.
By using Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS, and many other AWS services, Jobvite reports that it has reduced costs. “We conservatively estimated cutting operational expenses costs by 15-20 percent per year,” says Kim. “But when we completed the migration, we were quite happy to discover that we had reduced operational expenditures by a whopping 35 percent.” These savings include physical server hosting, managed services, administration, and licensing costs.
Kim is also impressed with the service level agreements from AWS. “The differentiator for me comes down to the AWS services, SLAs, support, and flexibility,” Kim says. “No matter what comes down the pike in terms of the direction Jobvite is going, it seems that AWS has an offering, the capability, and the capacity to let us do what we need to do—very, very quickly.”