Trust5 develops applications and provides managed IT services for gaming companies and other enterprises. The company, which is based in Dublin, Ireland, serves customers including EA Mobile, PopCap Games, Chillingo, Glu, Telefónica, Vodafone Group, Orange, Tesco Mobile, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, Liverpool Football Club, and Irish Rugby. The company was founded in 2000.
Trust5 provides a billing platform for European customers that ties telecommunications companies to game publishers so that customers can be billed on their mobile phone bill when they purchase mobile content. The company wanted to expand to serve customers in the U.S., Latin America, Asia, and Australia, but needed to ensure both low latency and high security.
At the time, the company used a hosting center, but that solution wouldn’t scale—the company would have to use hosting providers in each country. “We needed a solution that would enable us to develop new products for customers with little risk, at little cost, and provide us with a system we could easily secure,” says Alan Byrne, CTO. The company also needed to provide consistent invoicing for customers—something that would be hard to achieve using multiple hosting providers. “We started looking for a provider that didn’t require contracts, with service that could be turned on and off at will based on the effectiveness of new rollouts, and the ability to easily duplicate environments.”
Why Amazon Web Services
After researching hosters that offered services across multiple countries, Trust5 realized that very few of them provided comprehensive global coverage, serving Asia, the Middle East, Australia, and the Americas. “Only Amazon Web Services (AWS) could offer the worldwide availability, ease of deployment, and security that Trust5 needs,” Byrne says.
Trust5 now uses AWS as a platform to provide mobile billing solutions to gaming companies and other large customers. The company uses .NET, Java, Android, and the AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio. With AWS, developers can write code and launch it on test beds that are identical to Trust5’s production servers. “It could be expensive to replicate the production service in the hosting center,” Byrne says. "With AWS, we can provide a full production system to our developers and test, stress, and break things. When we’re finished, we just take a copy in and launch it.”
Trust5 uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) running Windows to host a .NET and Java applications to connect to the billing systems of mobile operators. Auto Scaling and Elastic Load Balancing allow the company to scale the solution based on load. For the database, the team uses Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) with MySQL, scaling the server up or down based on load or volume. Amazon CloudFront is used for the front-end website. The team stores all data, code, and other assets in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and uses the service for disaster recovery, replicating across three AWS regions. Trust5 stores 5 TB of data on Amazon S3.
Using Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) allows Trust5 to connect to billing providers, send them billing requests, and receive responses. When the company needs a database with fast access, it uses Amazon DynamoDB for real-time analytics, to reference customer purchase history to ensure that customers aren’t being charged twice for buying the same app. The team also uses Amazon CloudWatch metrics to monitor performance, ensure that everything is working as anticipated, and ensure that Auto Scaling is working.
With AWS, Trust5 has increased its business by 50 percent, expanded globally, and can scale to accommodate any spike of 1,000 percent. “We wouldn’t be able to get half the business we’ve had without using AWS,” Byrne says. “We’re confident in the ability of our infrastructure to accommodate spikes when we run promotions.” The company can scale from 100 transactions/second to 500 transactions/second.
In addition, availability and access speed have improved. The team has been able to use Amazon CloudFront to minimize latency from 5 seconds to less than 1 second. Byrne says, “In the past, we had complaints from users in Greece and Turkey about speed. But when we migrated them to AWS, those issues disappeared.”
The company has been able to cut CAPEX costs by 30 percent by not having to buy infrastructure. And by using Reserved Instances, Byrne estimates the company has saved 40 percent in costs. The 15-person team has also reduced its need for additional staff, saving £120,000 per year by not employing additional staff.
AWS enables Trust5 to spin environments up or down and provided the flexibility to respond to promising opportunities. “The mobile market moves quickly, and AWS lets us get our service up and running without needing time to ramp up,” Byrne says. Time to market has gone from a couple of weeks to a few hours. “No matter what the deadline is, we’re always able to make it,” Byrne says. “Infrastructure is no longer a deterrent or something to be discussed after a sales call.”
Byrne concludes, “Our time to market has improved, but it’s not just about time. It’s also that I know AWS is going to work.”