hiLife is a Singapore-based technology company focused on improving the quality of living in homes and communities. It offers real estate developers, managing agents, and condominium residents a web-based application that taps technologies such as smart home voice control, car licence plate recognition and other features to digitalise community activities, such as booking condominium facilities.
hiLife Interactive reached out to InfoFabrica for help with its datacentre migration as it expanded into Thailand and Vietnam. With over 60,000 users in Singapore, and more expected from new markets, hiLife was under increasing pressure to maintain 99.9 percent availability without compromising scalability. This influx of new users meant that hiLife needed to manually intervene whenever it could not cope with the varying application traffic load.
As hiLife was growing its business, it needed to place greater focus on enhancing its smart community application, hiLife. Although it had already chosen Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its IT demands, hiLife recognised that it had grown to the point where it needed a trusted cloud consulting partner to help deploy new IT infrastructure. To help solve this problem, it turned to InfoFabrica, an Advanced Consulting Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN).
“AWS is widely recognised for a number of strengths. When we established hiLife four years ago, the most important business need for us was flexibility, in order to grow quickly. AWS provided us with affordable flexibility to support our business growth” says Charles Ji Chao, co-founder of hiLife Interactive. “Now, as we expand overseas, AWS and InfoFabrica’s regional presence gives me the confidence it will continue to support hiLife every step of the way.”
“Clients want to focus on delivering value to their customers, without being bogged down with non-core functions. As the pace of innovation – and customer demand for innovative products – accelerates, they can look forward to leveraging the combined technical expertise of AWS and InfoFabrica to shorten time to market,” says Peter Huynh, regional channel marketing director at InfoFabrica.
hiLife uses Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (Amazon EC2) to handle all of its processing and computational needs, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for data structure and querying, and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for backup repository. In addition to the regional presence that AWS provides, hiLife also appreciated that it received regular updates on new features that were on the horizon – an important differentiator for it as a company with technology at its core.
hiLife immediately saw the value in the AWS pay-for-what-you-use pricing model, in addition to the impressive scalability of Amazon EC2. “We were able to roll out our smart lifestyle application in Thailand and Vietnam and were confident of supporting the activities of thousands of condominium residents from day one,” says Ji Chao. “We also didn’t have to worry about navigating the complexities of setting up operations overseas, and were able to offload the management of IT services to InfoFabrica.”
InfoFabrica recommended Amazon RDS Multi-Availability Zone deployment to hiLife, for enhanced availability and durability. This proved suitable for hiLife’s production workload, and its planned expansion into larger markets, including India and China. With this implementation, hiLife can perform automatic failover to standby database instances. In the past, hiLife would spend six to twelve hours a day to conduct its own investigation in the event of a fault. Now, hiLife stays up-and-running automatically, without the need for manual intervention.
With Amazon S3, hiLife does not need to size and invest upfront in storage backup. InfoFabrica also recommended a Managed Backup Service for EC2 and RDS instances, and File System Backup with CloudBerry, the Storage Technology Competency Partner in the APN. With these solutions, the backup success rate has been at a high of 99%, which traditional backup solutions would find hard to emulate.
With backups spanning multiple countries, CloudBerry’s Centralised Management Console, along with its native support for AWS, enables hiLife to monitor all backup operations from a single view. This provides hiLife with the ability to consolidate notifications and reporting, while having a complete overview of the state of all managed backups. When there is a disruption, rather than individually querying every backup operation, hiLife now has complete visibility at a glance, reducing troubleshooting time by 70 percent.
As its IT operations became more complex, hiLife was concerned about the cost of growing its IT team. It had to consider the possibility of adding specialists like network administrators, hardware experts, and software programmers. By working with InfoFabrica, hiLife IT usage remains flexible and nimble, while keeping costs low. It could also tap into InfoFabrica’s extensive experience to support its business needs.
After establishing a strong foundation in Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, hiLife is poised for further growth. In the year ahead, it is looking to expand into India, the Philippines, and China. The company is also considering a foray into the commercial space, after seeing its success in the residential market. hiLife will continue to rely on InfoFabrica to reduce its in-house IT needs, allowing it to focus on business development, expand its product offerings, and ultimately move into new frontiers.
High level solution diagram: