TN Marketing sought to maximize its website performance, ease infrastructure management and grow security while increasing developer productivity.
By implementing an AWS infrastructure, TN Marketing overdelivers on customer uptime, performance and security agreements.
TN Marketing is an online media, marketing and technology firm that connects people with their passions by producing and delivering online instructional video content and other media through life passion-based communities. The firm expertly delivers technology that monetizes video content online on behalf of affinity brands and through niche media websites that generate millions of dollars in yearly transactions. TN Marketing has selected and built industry-leading components to craft the ideal online experience for visitors and consumers. Utilizing enterprise hosting partners, TN Marketing strives to deliver an end-to-end optimized and secure platform for each of its brand communities.
To stay competitive, TN Marketing needed to build and manage an optimized technology infrastructure that delivered maximum performance for its business and its brand-based ecommerce implementations. Specifically, TN Marketing’s video monetization platform, known as VidStore, needed to flawlessly support the performance demands of high definition video streaming and security demands of an ecommerce site, while providing the company’s development team with the tools to effectively and efficiently manage the new infrastructure—all while reducing AWS costs.
TN Marketing has a vested interest in ensuring the performance and uptime of the sites it builds—many of which receive significant traffic. Indeed, downtime means lost revenue and diminished customer trust. As a result, the firm has a 99% uptime SLA with its customers—an SLA it has a track record of meeting and exceeding. The firm turned to the AWS experts at NTT DATA to help build an infrastructure that could overdeliver on the uptime, performance and security agreements with its customers.
After an assessment of the company’s existing AWS implementation and architecture, NTT DATA consultants recommended the use of Amazon CloudFront in conjunction with AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF) and AWS ELB for greater content speeds, and security at less cost to the organization. They started with monitoring and logging tools that gave TN Marketing even better situational awareness.
Following this, DevOps consultants did a lift and shift to AWS CloudFormation, a tool that helps developers and system administrators create, manage and provision resources through templates. In conjunction with Jenkins, CloudFormation provided a foundation for automation, and a route to continuous improvement. With this in place, the team replaced the organization’s HAProxy load balancer with ELB. Unlike HAProxy, ELB is inherently fault-tolerant; designed for scalability, elasticity and high availability; and, as a managed service, can automatically increase or decrease its capacity to meet traffic demands.
Next, the teams worked together to create a workflow for adding a new website. They used Jenkins jobs to populate SSL certificates on AWS and setup Amazon CloudFront distributions, making sure to have separate CloudFront distributions for each website. Using CloudFront for this organization’s client websites was important as the AWS service speeds up content delivery by offering content to Web surfers from edge locations nearest them. Users are simply routed to the location with the lowest latency, resulting in the highest performance possible. High performance is especially important for TN Marketing’s customers who use VidStore to sell video content and want their product delivered without hiccups or errors. The use of Amazon CloudFront’s content delivery network and caching in front of web servers decreased the server load and greatly improved performance.
AWS WAF was implemented to help ensure website security using rules such as whitelists, blacklists, cross-site scripting attack detection and SQL Injection Detection, which were all implemented for TN Marketing. Specifically, CloudFront custom headers were used alongside a NGINX configuration to enforce the rule that all requests come from CloudFront and pass through WAF. An additional tier of rules was added to reactively blacklist bots that made too many requests or too many requests on a bad URL as well as a rule that blocks traffic from a TOR node.
By removing HAProxy as a non-scalable single point of failure, and replacing it with the auto-scaling AWS ELB, TN Marketing was able to decrease costs and grow scalability and elasticity. Moreover, the use of CloudFront reduced the load on the company’s web servers and simultaneously made content delivery faster and more reliable. CloudFront was able to deliver this level of performance despite a large increase in traffic and business during the holiday season.
In the end, TN Marketing was able to increase performance, meet SLAs and standardize on a platform its development team could easily manage through automation—all with a reduction in AWS costs.
*This case study was originally written by Flux7, which has become NTT DATA Services as of December 30, 2019.