Amazon Web Services (AWS) has proven to be a popular cloud platform with SMEs for a variety of reasons including low prices and ease of management, but an online marketplace in Singapore has opted to go with the less-travelled Google Cloud Platform route, primarily due to affordability, flexibility and performance.
Carousell’s reasons for switching to the cloud were fairly typical of a growing business. The hosting provider the company had been using could not handle Carousell’s growing IT requirements, leading to challenges with IT management.
“Our hypervisor would sometimes go down and many factors were not within our control,” said CTO and co-founder of Carousell Lucas Ngoo, adding the company’s criteria for a cloud service provider was one that could provide a Service Level Agreement (SLA) of 99.95% or more.
Ngoo narrowed his search down to two providers – AWS and Google Cloud Platform, and chose to ignore the hype surrounding each provider in favour of going down to fundamentals. Ngoo and his team ran a variety of network load simulation and IOPS (input/output per second) tests, and benchmarks showed Google Cloud Platform outperformed AWS at similar price tiers.
“We did a server to server comparison for both cost and performance and found that Google presented us with a more affordable offering overall," Ngoo said.
According to Ngoo, Google Cloud Platform surpassed AWS on the throughput front despite the former’s lack of infrastructure in Singapore. “We were running Carousell out of Google’s Taiwan region, but ping times were comparable with AWS’s Singapore region, and users reported an improved experience anyway.” Since the migration last July, uptime at Carousell has improved from 99.7% to 99.97%.
The flexibility offered by Google Cloud Platform also appealed to Ngoo and his team.
“We could customize VMs to fit our requirements from a compute and memory perspective, and we found that it was 19% cheaper to customize our VMs versus using regular VMs,” said Ngoo. “While other providers would charge by hour blocks for running analytics workloads such as Hadoop, Google Cloud Platform charged by the minute, so we only paid for what we used, nothing more.”
Google Cloud Platform’s lack of lock-in period also proved attractive. Many cloud providers would offer greater discounts only if a client signed a one to three year service contract, but this was not the case for Google. Instead, a discount would be automatically applied if Carousell ran workloads 25% of the month.