redBus is an Indian travel agency that specializes in bus travel throughout India by selling bus tickets throughout the country. Tickets are purchased through the company’s Website or through the Web services of its agents and partners. The company also offers software, on a Software as a Service (SaaS) basis, which gives bus operators the option of handling their own ticketing and managing their own inventories. To date, the company says they have sold over 30 million bus tickets and has more than 1750 bus operators using the software to manage their operations.
The company previously ran its operations from a traditional data center by purchasing and renting its systems and infrastructure. In addition to the expense, several logistical problems evolved from this arrangement. The biggest problem was that the infrastructure could not effectively handle processing fluctuations, which had a negative impact on productivity. Additionally, the procurement of servers or upgrading the server configuration was an extremely time-consuming endeavor. Over time, redBus realized that a better solution was imperative—a solution that offered scalability to handle the company’s processing fluctuations. redBus looked to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for a solution.
Why Amazon Web Services
After testing the AWS solution on a small application for several months, the travel agency determined that it was very workable and convenient. Although redBus was quite enthusiastic about the on-demand instances and variety of instance types, several other features cemented the company’s decision to migrate completely to AWS. These features included the ability to easily manage access to servers through security groups, the easy-to-use, self-service management console, the concept of Elastic IPs, and superior support.
The company has incorporated many of the AWS products into its solution, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Elastic Load Balancing, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), and Amazon CloudWatch. Charan Padmaraju, Chief Technology Officer believes that “with features like Elastic Load Balancing and multiple availability zones, AWS provides the required infrastructure to build for redundancy and auto-failover. When you incorporate these in your system/application design, you can achieve high reliability and scale.”
Since migrating to AWS, redBus has seen measurable improvements in the bottom line. Padmaraju says, “By scaling up and down dynamically based on the load, we maintain performance as well as minimize cost. With the time savings that the IT and development staffs obtain from the AWS solution, AWS gives us an overall cost benefit of about 30-40%.” He adds, “By hosting at [the AWS Asia Pacific (Singapore) region], redBus.in gained significantly in terms of website performance by way of reduced latency (about 4x). This is a great advantage when the customers are from India.”
Of the many excellent characteristics of AWS, perhaps the most significant to redBus is the ability to “instantly replicate the whole setup on demand for testing by creating and destroying instances on demand for experimentation, thereby reducing the time to market.” Less time to market translates to increased profitability and success.
The travel agency anticipates expanding the AWS solution to include Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) and Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) for monitoring, alerts, and intercommunication. “Amazon SQS is an especially good solution for enabling messaging between external applications and our applications,” says Padmaraju.
Since joining forces with AWS, redBus has gained the freedom to experiment on new solutions and applications at minimal cost, increased the efficiency of its operations, and improved its profitability.