Case Study

How Recurly reduced customer response time by 15% with Google Cloud

Piggy bank
Data Analytics, Kubernetes
North America

Subscription-based models are the norm for many businesses today as they look to establish long-term customer relationships and achieve more consistent revenue.

A study by McKinsey of 5,000 U.S. consumers found that 49% have at least one subscription for services and products, with many people saying they subscribe to maintain ongoing access to important services and to save time and money.

With the rise in subscription-based services, companies increasingly need management platforms that offer subscribers excellent services and reduce the administrative burden of managing recurring payments and memberships. Recurly has positioned itself as a leader in the market for subscription management services.

The brief

To keep pace with customer demands, Recurly needed to migrate its core infrastructure away from on-premises hardware to the cloud. Although built on an open platform, its payment processing services ran on-premises for security purposes, which forced teams to travel to server warehouses for manual fixes.

With a talented and creative staff, the company’s leadership knew that eliminating its on-premises infrastructure would free IT teams to do what they do best—innovate. “We wanted to match a proven cloud environment with the right technology partner,” says Jeff Sheldon, Vice President of Platform and Architecture at Recurly.

The company found what it was looking for by expanding its use of Google Cloud Platform (GCP) solutions and working with DoiT International for the legacy hybrid migration, beginning with a QA staging environment.

What we did

Recurly’s engineering team decided that Kubernetes was the best option to replace its on-premises data centers and went searching for the right solution.

“After some initial testing, we quickly realized that Google Kubernetes Engine was best suited to achieve our goals as the only PCI-compliant, fully managed Kubernetes solution available,” says Jeff. “As our evaluation continued, we uncovered more reasons to go with Google Cloud over competitors, including the developer-friendly APIs in Google Cloud and the ability to provision services faster and more cost-effectively.”

Recurly had used some cloud solutions in the past, but found it difficult to scale fast enough to support the company’s growth. GCP enabled Recurly to overcome this challenge, providing streamlined access to on-demand compute resources through Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) and Compute Engine.

“When we deployed our production environment, we scaled our cluster from six nodes to 36 nodes,” says Jeff. “This would have taken hours with our previous provider. With Google Cloud Platform, scaling our environment took just a couple of minutes.”

Faster and more streamlined scaling allows the company to stand up new environments within one week rather than the months that it used to take, translating to much faster time to market for services. Recurly’s engineers have also enjoyed increased productivity all around thanks to the advantages of GCP over its legacy hybrid cloud configuration.

“Moving to Google Cloud Platform makes it easy for us to try new configurations and optimizations, so we’re working faster than ever,” says Chris Barton, a platform architect at Recurly. In addition to focusing on scalability and productivity enhancements, the move to GCP enabled the company to improve system access and security controls.

Moving access management to the cloud

Recurly took advantage of Cloud Identity and Access Management (IAM) to eliminate access control challenges that security teams faced as engineers and other technical staff were working across several systems within GCP.

“With access to our cloud resources being controlled through Cloud IAM, we can provide read access to our developers all the way through our production environment, so they can better troubleshoot issues. This has empowered our engineering team and allowed them to focus on innovation rather than verification and other routine tasks,” says Jeff.

Recurly also relies on Cloud Pub/Sub for asynchronous processing and Stackdriver for its log management, which has further empowered technical teams to work faster and more securely.

“One of the best benefits we’ve seen since migrating to Google Cloud Platform is a 15 percent decrease in our average response times to clients,” says Chris. “This makes us a far better service provider, and one that our customers can rely on to keep their services running securely and efficiently.”

The intuitive and powerful Google Cloud Platform Console allows Recurly’s managers to effortlessly maintain control over all activities. It eliminated the company’s traditional dual user management framework, which could cause project delays among engineering and operations staff.

“Our engineers can now quickly access resources and our production environments, without straining our IT department,” says Jeff. “It’s been a phenomenal benefit to the business.”

The result

Recurly migrated its infrastructure with confidence and adopted a more robust suite of GCP solutions by tapping into the engineer-to-engineer support offered by Managed Services Provider and Premier Google Cloud partner, DoiT International. Given the migration’s scope and complexity, Recurly benefited from DoiT’s expertise in navigating all facets of the migration and saving time wherever possible.

In addition to providing actual code to support efficiency, DoiT was on call as a trusted advisor to guide Recurly through their adoption and ramp.

DoiT offered 24/7 support that accelerated the GCP migration at Recurly while enabling the company to maximize the savings and efficiencies in this and future implementations. With DoiT’s guidance, Recurly quickly achieved its goals, without experiencing downtime.

“Having DoiT as a knowledge partner throughout the process was fantastic,” says Jeff. “DoiT helped us better understand our challenges and goals and provided effective best practices to keep us moving in the right direction.”

After its positive experiences with GCP and DoiT, Recurly is looking to further enhance its infrastructure and employee experiences. Next up for the company is experimenting with data analytics, machine learning, and other GCP solutions.

“We want to enable our engineers to innovate through advanced access to cloud technologies that directly support their ideas,” says Jeff. “With Google Cloud Platform, we can unlock the creativity of our teams and drive innovation.”

Jeff Sheldon, VP of Platform and Architecture
“Having DoiT as a knowledge partner throughout the process was fantastic. DoiT helped us better understand our challenges and goals and provided effective best practices to keep us moving in the right direction.”

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