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Zenga Reaps Rewards by Embracing the Cloud

A case study on Cloud Computing in Entertainment
Shabir Momin
Shabir Momin

MD and CTO, Zenga Media

Now, I am not worried about all this (allocating servers) as I can scale to 500 servers when I need and even come down to five servers as needed.

Executive summary

If Zenga Media needed to keep pace with the customers of its live streaming business, it would need to turn to the cloud.

The Organization:

Back in 2008, when live video streaming was still in its infancy in India, Zenga Media made an entry, promising it’s viewers with mobile TV service—even on 2.5 G—and mobile e-mail solutions. Today, the company caters to more than 50 percent of mobile TV consumers in India.

The Business Case:

In 2008, all of Zenga's services—including Zengamail, its push mail service—ran from a local datacenter. For a startup, managing a datacenter was not only expensive, it was also cumbersome. 

Zenga TV was started as a pilot service from the datacenter. The resultant higher loads on the network along with the occasional spikes in traffic made Zenga realize that they needed a new system to accommodate these changes. Also, getting the right resources to manage the datacenter was a significant problem that Zenga faced during its initial founding days.

“When managing a datacenter, you have to deal with the smallest to the largest of issues,” says Shabir Momin, MD and CTO, Zenga Media.  

Another problem was the increasing load resulting from video views. Zenga media has recorded 421 million video views for 2011, a massive jump from 150 million in 2010. On an overage, Zenga currently sees close to 60-70 million video views a month. Momin expects this to jump to 600-700 million views by 2013.

The Project:

In order to put all these issues to bed and infuse agility and scalability, Momin turned to the cloud.

Initially, Momin decided to move his datacenter to Rackspace’s cloud platform. But the beginning of the IPL season in 2009—that Zenga won the rights for—triggered the need for another cloud platform just to accommodate IPL. While all the other services remained on Rackspace, IPL streaming moved to Amazon.

As the 2009 IPL stream went smoothly, Zenga shifted its other services on to Amazon as well.

The Benefits:

Moving to the cloud helped Zenga's IT department reduce its strength from 35 to five. The remaining 30 team members were allocated to the R&D wing, thereby adding value to the company.

On the financial savings of this move, Momin says that he has been able to save up to 80 percent on the resources front. He has also saved 50-60 percent on infrastructure costs.

"If I were to do IPL, I would have had to buy 50 servers. And I wouldn't be able to use those 50 servers after the IPL; they will lie idle for no reason. A business model that would allow for (such) an investment and use it only for two months in a year is not viable. Now, I am not worried about all this as I can scale to 500 servers when I need and even come down to five servers as needed," says Momin.

This has been a win-win situation for everyone, including Zenga Media’s customers who have also benefited from the better connectivity when streaming content online.

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