When Zync wanted to build a messaging platform to help businesses communicate with customers, it turned to Google Cloud Platform for its unlimited scalability. Zync, based near Sydney, Australia, delivers commercial SMS text messages, voicemails and emails for a wide range of businesses globally.
Scaling to deliver business communications
Recently when Zync delivered 800,000 pre-recorded 30-second phone calls for a political candidate’s campaign to potential voters, Zync was able to scale and deliver those messages in 10 hours, using Google Cloud Platform. With one of Australia’s largest message service providers, the same project would have taken weeks. Why the difference? Zync was able to automatically scale its services without worrying about the processing power and bandwidth limitations which many other services experience.
What’s more, Zync processed that huge request without affecting its capacity to serve other customers. “Imagine if you weren’t constrained by physical servers and customers could do whatever they want,” says Ben Brophy, co-founder and director of Zync.
Zync’s goal is to disrupt the business communications industry. While competitors have large dedicated data centers that are expensive to own and slow to scale, Zync wanted to be nimble, elastic and free from managing IT infrastructure.
In the messaging market, competitors are rooted in specific markets, like Australia, Europe, Asia or North America. Meanwhile, Zync’s go-to-market plan was to be a global company — and that required bulletproof reliability backed by strong service level agreements (SLAs), while keeping costs low. The company’s founders wanted to invest resources in adding features to its software, not in building up headcount for an IT team.
Providing unlimited elasticity, scalability
After launching in 2009 using several different cloud offerings, in November 2015 Zync introduced a new messaging platform, called Upwire, which relies exclusively on Google Cloud Platform and views it as a competitive advantage. Says Brophy: “We see Upwire as a game changer. Never before has anyone offered a standalone communication platform which is truly elastic, Customers can visually design communication flows incorporating voice, SMS and email without the need for any coding.”
“We see Upwire as a game changer. Never before has anyone offered a standalone communication platform which is truly elastic, Customers can visually design communication flows incorporating voice, SMS and email without the need for any coding.”
Brophy explains that traditional telecommunications players can’t offer the SLAs that Zync offers because they don’t have elastic capacity and other key features that Google Cloud Platform can offer. Instead, other providers must plan and build for their highest peaks of traffic, and that limits their abilities to scale. Even worse, a heavy load can affect the entire system’s throughput and responsiveness. “If they send 10 million SMS text messages on their platform, it would affect every other customer on their platform. However, we are elastic — we can send 10 million messages without affecting any customers’ performance at all,” he says.
Shane Berkinshaw, Zync’s co-founder and director, explains that App Engine is fundamental to the company’s scalability and ability to write new features and deliver them to customers quickly. The development team loves the version control, speed of deployment and automatic scalability.
The newest tool in Zync’s cloud arsenal is BigQuery. “We are ripping out our custom-written analytics software and replacing it with BigQuery. This will help our customers manage their messaging with real-time results,” Berkinshaw says. For example, businesses will be able to analyze best delivery times and see when people best respond to content, potentially slicing and dicing responses by time of day, types of interactions, deliverability, age groups and different media for delivery.
“Thanks to BigQuery, we can show nice graphical design of their messaging flow, so they can see that everything is going right, or something is going wrong and make a real-time adjustment to their workflow. It’s the real-time aspect that has customers excited,” says Berkinshaw.
Go big, go small, go big again
Brophy and Berkinshaw focus on the importance of autoscaling since the company only needs to pay for what it uses, and therefore Zync offers customers competitive pricing. “We had 30 to 50 instances of App Engine running for a massive spike. We’d watch the instances go up and down, all automatically,” says Berkinshaw. “App Engine handles all the peaks, all the surprises.”
Zync is a seven-person team and using Google Cloud Platform multiplies their forces. “We have thousands of the best people working for us on the Google Cloud Platform team, and we don’t even pay them!” Brophy says. “We can grow our business without adding infrastructure or compute capability. When we grow, Google provides what we need.”
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