The Challenge

Sharethrough works hard to build the most advanced native ad technology in the industry and transform legacy ad tech to meet the realities of a modern internet increasingly built around mobile devices, video consumption, and native experiences. They serve 30 billion impressions a month through the Sharethrough Exchange, where brands and programmatic buyers go to reach audiences with high-performing ads. Sharethrough’s managed service offering Sharethrough for Advertisers (SFA) helps their customers take advantage of programmatic native ad formats that fit seamlessly around editorial content, and proprietary ad experiences that exponentially outperform industry benchmarks.

The Sharethrough team was mainly using EC2 and Auto-scaling Groups on Amazon Web Services and was looking for ways to reduce their cloud computing costs, they started out by purchasing reserved EC2 instances. While experimenting with reserved instances, they also began investigating spot instances.  Spot instances are a great way for organizations to save money on their cloud computing costs by taking advantage of Amazon’s unused computing capacity. They have become attractive to users because they have steep discounts compared to running on-demand or reserved instances.

Why Spot

Sharethrough came across Spot at the AWS Summit in San Francisco, CA and was interested in Elastigroup by Spot‘s ability to manage spot instances along with on-demand or reserved instances. By supporting a hybrid of instance types, Sharethough was interested to see if Elastigroup was able to reduce their infrastructure costs and take advantage of the reserved instances purchased. For example, prior to using Elastigroup, they kept scaling below their reserved instance capacity every day and were wasting money.  After Sharethrough began using Elastigroup, their reserved instances were expiring and they were able to use it to move their workloads to spot instances.

Sharethrough’s major use case for Elastigroup is to import their existing Elastic Load Balancer configuration for their ad server which is an application that facilitates the bidding of advertisers for space on publisher sites. It accepts impression requests over the web and implements the OpenRTB protocol for programmatic on-the-spot auctions.

For organizations that run an application or service behind AWS Elastic Load Balancer (ELB), Elastigroup provides the freedom to run blended cluster from multiple instance types such as M3, M4, C3, and C4 with purchasing options for spot, on-demand, and reserved.  Using mixed instance types is essential to maximize savings and most importantly, availability and continuity when using spot instances. When spot instances are terminated, Elastigroup will choose the most cost-effective instances available at the time. After using Elastigroup in production for a month, Sharethrough ended up saving 62% on their cloud computing costs.

Here is how Elastigroup helped Sharethrough reduce costs and operate more efficiently:

  • Seamless Integration – Elastigroup integrates with dozens of applications and services including Kubernetes, Amazon EKS, Elastic Load Balancer, Application Load Balancer, Autoscaling Groups, Amazon ECS, Terraform, AWS CloudFormation, Beanstalk, OpsWorks, EMR, CodeDeploy, and more.
  • Reserved Instance Utilization – Elastigroup finds all unutilized reservations and prioritizes reservations usage prior to launching spot instances, making sure your application is running on the best possible mix of instances.
  • Intelligent Auto-Scaling – Elastigroup provides tailor-made auto-scaling for your application. Metric-based or Event-driven, Elastigroup will always make sure that you have the optimal mix of right-sized VMs running to meet your workloads needs.
  • Spot Market – Elastigroup reliably leverages the Spot Market to optimize your underlying infrastructure for cost without compromising availability.
  • Always Up – Elastigroup uses predictive algorithms to identify and drain VMs that are about to be preempted. Prior to VM termination, Elastigroup seamlessly launches a new VM and replace it seamlessly. Elastigroup will also make sure to distribute your VMs across different sizes and types to optimize cost reduction and VM longevity.

The Results

In the end, Sharethrough was able to better utilize the reserved instances that were purchased and reduce costs by adding spot instances to their deployment strategy, which reduced their RI usage significantly and helped save even more. Spot instances are a great way for organizations to save 80% or more on their cloud computing costs, and as time went on, spot instances became the main pricing model for Sharethrough to run their workloads.

Sharethrough is one of the largest and most established native advertising companies.  Founded in 2008, they are headquartered in San Francisco, with 100+ employees worldwide and offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, London, Tokyo, and Toronto. The Sharethrough Exchange (STX), connects premium content publishers and top advertisers, helping them embrace modern and engaging native advertising formats that respect the user and drive results.