Oasis.com is an online dating service based in Sydney, Australia. The service is free to members and relies on advertising for revenue. Oasis.com, part of 3HGroup Pty Ltd., was launched in 2008 and has more than 9 million members worldwide in markets as diverse as Australia, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom. Membership is growing by more than 300,000 customers per month.
Oasis.com needed an infrastructure partner to streamline the storage of member images and ensure the availability of its online chat service. Real-time chat is a core component of the dating service and the rapid exchange of messages between members is crucial. Rather than route chat data between international users through its Sydney infrastructure—which caused network latency and delays—Oasis.com wanted the infrastructure supporting its chat service geographically close to its users. In addition, the company wanted to focus on application and product development rather than spending time on operations.
Amazon Web Services
With a considerable proportion of its growth coming from Latin America and Europe, the organization required a global service that would operate reliably and scale easily. “The AWS style of operations is perfect for us,” says Chris Horder, Senior Developer at Oasis.com. “We know what we want to do technically. AWS enables us to complete those tasks quickly without getting into operational changes such as purchasing and installing physical infrastructure. We can concentrate on building the end product.”
Oasis.com uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for its chat infrastructure. The company has grown its hosting from 1 virtual machine to 10 virtual machines for the dating service, each of which supports about 1 million members. Between 10,000 and 20,000 members are likely to be online at any given time.
Oasis.com uses Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon CloudFront to streamline the management of 57 million member images. Members upload multiple images to the Oasis.com website for evaluation, approval and posting. Once Oasis.com approves an image, it is loaded into Amazon S3 and distributed using Amazon CloudFront. “Storing images on normal operating systems is not a simple thing, but once we moved to Amazon S3, the problem went away,” says Horder. “It wasn’t so much about the volume of data involved, but the complexity of managing millions of thumbnails and gallery images.” The figure below provides a diagram of the image infrastructure for Oasis.com.
Figure 1: Oasis.com Architecture Diagram (Images)
The stability and geographic locations of AWS—particularly in Europe and the United States—enabled Oasis.com to move its chat infrastructure easily from its Sydney on-premise datacenter to AWS. “Our chat servers are now effectively a ‘set and forget’ service, whereas they had been the part of our site that created the highest maintenance overhead,” says Horder. Previously, Oasis.com used a manual backup system that took 12 hours to complete because of the size of the file system required to manage more than 50 million images. AWS provides Oasis.com with the tools to architect for robust, automated redundancy, reducing backup time and cutting costs by half.
The move to AWS has also provided measurable benefits for Oasis.com customers. “Members used to wait a noticeable length of time for profile images to download,” says Horder. “Now images are available almost instantly via Amazon CloudFront, which means they can be viewed in around 60 milliseconds consistently across the globe.”