A Dubai-based company focused on delivering unique and engaging digital experiences, DMN Global reaches over one billion mobile users across emerging and high growth markets in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. It is next-gen, cloud-native, and API-first unified subscription management platform, DMN Connect, allows telcos, service providers, and other enterprises to develop enhanced, user-centric products and digital content experiences.
Partnering with major telco groups and companies, DMN Global launched Kiosk, the first publishers’ hub in MENA to offer a wide range of digital publications to mobile users. Incorporating curated articles and full-issue premium magazines from top local and international publishing houses, subscription-based Kiosk delivers on-the-go access to unlimited content.
Following the successful commercial launch of Kiosk in late 2018, DMN introduced Kiosk Madame—a bespoke, white-label version of Kiosk for du customers—in 2019, and, most recently, MTN Kiosk, built exclusively for the MTN Group operating in MEA.
“Kiosk was running in Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server on AWS from March to December 2019,” explains Mohamed Ibrahim, Co-Founder and CEO at DMN Global, “but it lacked the availability and reliability we needed for 24×7 operations. A single application function or component failure would take the entire application down. It was really, really painful, and totally unacceptable to our users and partners.”
While the platform provided what DMN Global needed in terms of productivity and security, it lacked the automation and efficiencies required to streamline its development, launch, and testing processes.
“We were adding modules and services, but also wanted to increase efficiency in terms of cost, effort, and time,” continues Ibrahim. “The manual deployment process was complicated, it used to take three or four days to update the solution—excluding the time required for testing—and the same amount of time if you needed to rollback. And as we scaled, the cost of Microsoft’s licensing for Windows and SQL Server became prohibitive. We needed to modernize the platform and find a better, more efficient DevOps platform.”
AWS recommended that DMN Global explore the option of working with Bespin, an AWS Premier Consulting and Managed Service Partner. Leveraging their cloud and DevOps experience, the Bespin team worked with DMN Global to re-architect the entire solution, using containers, micro-services, and a new database to increase efficiencies and reduce costs.
The Microsoft SQL Server database was migrated to MySQL using the AWS Schema Conversion Tool and AWS Database Migration Services. Bespin’s development team containerized the application, using Docker and AWS Fargate, a server-less compute engine for containers integrated with both Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS).
Eliminating the operational overhead of managing, patching, scaling, and securing servers, AWS Fargate automatically scales as you grow, abstracting complex cluster setup and management to achieve fault tolerance, workload isolation, and enhanced security. You simply specify and pay for the resources allocated to your application.
DMN Global’s Kiosk runs on six cross-functional micro-services on AWS Fargate—providing increased availability— with different resource pools assigned to staging and production. The code is retrieved from AWS CodeCommit—a secure, fully-managed source control service hosting Git-based repositories—and deployed via AWS CodePipeline. A pay-per-use service, AWS CodePipeline is a fully-managed, continuous delivery service that automates the build, test, and deploy phases of the release process, enabling the rapid and reliable delivery of new features and updates.
The mkiosk.net domain is registered with Amazon Route 53, providing a cost-effective and reliable way of managing traffic globally and seamlessly routing end users to Kiosk. A developer-friendly, fast content delivery network (CDN) service, AWS CloudFront is used to provide fast, low latency delivery of Kiosk content to customers across the globe.
“While the DMN Global team provided the Kiosk source code,” says Ibrahim, “the Bespin team did most of the work— including the architecture, implementation, testing, deployment, and project management. Now that we’re in production, Bespin has full responsibility for the operations and maintenance of the cloud platform, including capacity management. We have a collaborative relationship with very clear boundaries regarding who does what, making the partnership easy to manage.”
RESULTS & BENEFITS
“When the new platform went into production in December 2019,” says Ibrahim, “we immediately saw the benefits of migrating to the new architecture. Not only did we reduce our costs massively, but implementing microservices made us more nimble, putting us in a much better position to adapt to the needs of the market with smaller and faster automated deployments.”
With over 1.5 million registered users and 250,000 subscribers on their digital publishing hub, DMN Global quickly experienced the benefits of collaborating with AWS and Bespin and adopting Amazon ECS.
“Once we implemented the new architecture,” states Ibrahim enthusiastically,” our costs dropped 50% overnight compared to the previous deployment. And the intangible benefits in terms of increased availability and reliability were amazing. We’re offering an over-the-top (OTT) consumer product. The new AWS architecture gives us the 24×7 availability our consumers demand.”
“We’ve also been able to accelerate time to market by developing and launching significantly faster than before,” adds Ibrahim, “probably reducing our development time by over 70%. On the old platform, it would take up to three months to introduce a new content vertical on Kiosk. Now we can develop, test, and launch in less than four weeks. That makes a huge difference to our business.”
And the relationship with Bespin?
“We’ve gained a lot of experience working with Bespin’s local and international teams,” summarizes Ibrahim. “They’ve always been extremely open, sharing their knowledge and advising us of the benefits of using one platform, architecture, or technology over another from a cost and technical perspective. Bespin’s impeccable customer service, combined with their systematic and transparent approach, enables us to develop a real partnership. If our company has value today, it’s because of the close relationship we enjoy.”
About Bespin Global:
An AWS Premier Consulting Partner and AWS Managed Service Partner, BESPIN GLOBAL MEA (Middle East and Africa) is a leading provider of automated cloud solutions and consulting services including cloud strategy, migration, implementation, DevOps, and Big Data. Positioned as a Leader in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Infrastructure Professional and Managed Services, Bespin offers the industry’s most automated, end-to-end cloud management platform. Bespin OpsNow enables customers to consolidate, visualize, and manage distributed, multi-cloud assets within a single solution, optimizing resources and reducing cost by 30% or more.