The Challenge: 15,000 searches per minute, without an Elasticsearch expert
Teams in 175 countries rely on the search functionality in Widen’s digital asset management software. If Widen’s search is unreliable, their enterprise customers will not be able to find the images, videos, audio, and creative files to do their jobs.
Kevin Brinnehl, who is Widen’s Head of Site Reliability and Security, had his work cut out for him when he inherited another developer’s Elasticsearch implementation on AWS. When that developer left the company, the outages became Kevin’s problem. “Elasticsearch is great until its not, and then it’s horrid. There are no easy outages,” explains Kevin.
“Elasticsearch has a great feature set, but that comes at an operational cost.”
The Solution: Handing the pager to Bonsai’s team
Widen’s search cluster Kevin and one other co-worker were responsible for being on call for Widen’s Elasticsearch cluster, 24/7/365. Considering that search was just one aspect of the operational burdens Kevin managed, this was no small feat. The cluster hosted over 2 terabytes of data and saw 15,000 requests each minute. After seeing 52 hours of search downtime over the course of a year, Kevin knew he had to offload Elasticsearch’s operational burdens elsewhere. A Google search led him to Elastic and Bonsai.
The choice was simple for Widen. “Bonsai was the only option that was affordable to us,” mentions Kevin.
“Elastic was considerably more expensive than Bonsai, even after discounting.”
Widen also opted to deploy a Bonsai Vault, which allows Bonsai’s team to securely deploy and manage a search cluster that is hosted within Widen’s own AWS account. Using a Bonsai Vault allows Widen to pass internal compliance audits without the operational overhead of managing Elasticsearch. “Bonsai’s compliance story was ‘the dealmaker,’” says Kevin. The Widen team had their Bonsai contract signed within ten days.
The Results: “You guys are the best vendor I’ve come across so far”
Bonsai’s team worked with Widen to reduce the number of servers it took to run their Elasticsearch clusters.
“We saved 25% on AWS server costs by making the switch to Bonsai. Widen’s development teams have made significant productivity gains since switching.”
“We went from 58 hours of search downtime to zero hours of downtime. I’ve gained back an entire full-time employee by switching to Bonsai.” Kevin also noticed the level of support Widen received from the Bonsai staff. “Bonsai doesn’t just support the cluster, they support the code, which is almost unheard of,” expresses Kevin. As a Vault customer, Widen benefits by regular check-ins by Bonsai’s staff, as well as the use of their own private Slack channel to reach Bonsai team members. The channel is used not only by Operations staff, but by Widen’s software engineering team too. “All the Widen developers who work with Bonsai absolutely love them.”
Widen is evaluating Bonsai for other internal search use cases. To learn about switching your Elasticsearch clusters to Bonsai, contact our team.