Open Credo

Using Mesos to streamline infrastructure, accelerate deployment and reduce server

Belgium-based Woorank launched its Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) audit and digital marketing service in March 2011. Its toolkit is now used by marketers within organisations of all sizes, in more than 100 countries – from individual bloggers to large corporations such as Deloitte and Fiat.

THE CHALLENGE

Growing customer demands had seen WooRank’s infrastructure sprawl out to over 100 servers. With a team of just eight technical staff managing its infrastructure, WooRank needed to optimise its technology, whilst also allowing its developers to deploy new website features quickly.

“With so many moving parts that always had to be up, it had become a real burden to manage this number of servers. We needed to find a way to be more efficient in the way we operated” – Nils De Moor, CTO

THE SOLUTION

Discovery: WooRank’s preferred solution was Mesos – an open source cluster-management technology, used by companies such as Twitter and Netflix. By deploying Mesos, WooRank would be able to simplify its infrastructure and optimise resources across fewer servers. As Mesos supports Docker containers – for automatic deployment of code – WooRank would also be able to quickly introduce new features.

Mesosphere is the company behind the commercialisation of Mesos, and a significant contributor to the Apache Mesos project. It writes open source services such as Marathon and Chronos. Mesosphere is a complete software solution designed to provide application fault tolerance, effective resource utilisation and scaling elasticity. It provides easy-to-use consoles to manage deployment and scale applications.

WooRank approached Mesosphere for help, who subsequently invited OpenCredo, their European Partner, to work onsite with the WooRank team.

“If we did everything ourselves, it would take us months to implement Mesos – you have to think about the potential for mistakes along the way. This would have also been a big distraction for us when what we really want to do is focus on introducing new features to WooRank.” – Nils De Moor, CTO

Delivery: Working closely with WooRank allowed us to demonstrate the best way to implement Mesos; how to port existing workloads across; and to advise which complimentary technological solutions would ensure the smoothest installation and operation. Towards the end of the engagement, we invested time in transferring relevant Mesos knowledge and training the WooRank team, to manage their new platform independently.

THE OUTCOME

WooRank is now enjoying benefits beyond its original expectations – benefits realised much faster than would have been possible without support.

“If I had said when we set out on this project, ‘we are going to have an entirely new infrastructure and the old infrastructure ported within weeks’, people would have thought I was crazy. But by working with OpenCredo we got what we wanted much faster.” – Nils De Moor, CTO

The ability to use Docker containers with Mesos, has increased the speed in which new features can be deployed. This has – along with the reduced infrastructure complexity – encouraged greater experimentation within WooRank’s development team.

“Implementing Mesos has improved the speed our technical team operates by making it easier to monitor the servers and get the metrics we need. Also, by going from 100 plus to 15 servers, it is easier to maintain them as it is much easier to grasp what is happening. We can try things and if they don’t work, throw them away, The ability to play with these things has really improved and is now much easier.” – Nils De Moor, CTO

As a result of our partnership, we were able to leave the WooRank team with:

  • Significantly faster deployment of new features (down from hours to minutes).
  • Vastly reduced infrastructure complexity (down from 100+ to 15 servers)
  • Server cost savings of up to 45%

OpenCredo helped WooRank port its existing servers to the new infrastructure within two weeks. By transferring knowledge to the WooRank team, we also enabled WooRank to manage their new infrastructure without the need for additional assistance.

“I would have never predicted that it could be done in that time period, so a ‘big thank you’ goes to OpenCredo for saying where things should go and how things should be done.”- Nils De Moor, CTO