“Bespin Global’s team of experts took the time to understand our problems, thought long-term from a partnership perspective, and explored a range of solutions to help me and my business. That’s the real value for me.”
Craig Stevens, CEO of Dubicars.com
Established in 2014 and relaunched in 2018, Dubicars.com is UAE’s fastest-growing online car market for buyers and sellers across the emirates. Supporting more than 470 online showrooms, Dubicars.com is the only independently owned marketplace in the UAE with unparalleled reach and the biggest generator of export demand in the region. Attracting over three million searches each month, Dubicars.com combines cutting-edge technology with access to real-time data from both buyers and sellers, delivering valuable industry data and insights.
“In a country that loves cars,” says Craig Stevens, CEO of Dubicars.com, “we’ve been very successful in establishing a dependable digital marketplace. Dubicars.com is the fastest growing and most trusted car marketplace in the UAE. But to get here, we’ve had to overcome several challenges.”
With tens of thousands of local car dealers and private sellers using their platform each month, Dubicars.com has invested millions in the infrastructure required to ensure the availability of a fast, reliable, and scalable platform. They’ve also moved their development team to Pakistan to take advantage of affordable skilled resources. At the same time, the valuable information and insights submitted by users have increased the visibility of the data-rich platform to bad actors.
“Firstly, we were spending a lot more money on tech to support our growth,” explains Stevens, “ so we needed to find better ways to manage our costs. Secondly, we needed a robust, scalable, and secure process to ensure the agility of our remote development team located in Pakistan. And lastly, since we’re capturing confidential consumer data, we needed to ensure the information was as secure as possible.”
“I looked at the business and asked myself what we were missing,” explains Stevens, “and then it hit me. We were trying to do everything ourselves. We needed a partner with an indepth understanding of both our business and the latest technology. They needed to be capable of delivering a robust, scalable, and secure platform and DevOps methodology, allowing us to focus on innovating and scaling the business.”
Having already met Mouteih Chaghlil (aka MC), CEO of Bespin Global MEA, Stevens contacted him to discuss Dubicars’ challenges and find out if Bespin could help. Stevens wasn’t simply looking for someone selling infrastructure products or solutions. Instead, he was looking for experienced consultants who understood his business and pain points, had an indepth knowledge of the industry, and could help navigate and share his journey.
“MC and Bespin Global have a lot of experience when it comes to digitalization in the auto industry,” says Stevens. “We quickly agreed that he would look at our business and challenges and then identify areas where his team could make a difference. As consultants, Bespin Global did an amazing job of understanding the specific nuances of our business and pinpointing particular areas where we could leverage technology to realize our goals.”
“One of the first things I noticed,” states Chaghlil, “was that they were using AWS to run their websites. As an AWS Premier Partner, we have extensive experience and expertise in leveraging AWS capabilities to optimize performance and manage costs.”
One of the first things Bespin did was to migrate Dubicars’ workloads into cross-functional micro-services using Docker containers on AWS Fargate. Abstracting complex cluster setup and management, AWS Fargate automatically scales as you grow. Verifying container health and ensuring zero downtime, Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) was used to streamline the development-to-production workflow, while Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR) was used to simplify the storage, management, and deployment of Docker container images.
Bespin also utilized AWS Auto Scaling to monitor Dubicars’ workloads, automatically adjusting capacity to maintain steady, predictable performance at the lowest possible cost. This included leveraging the advanced machine learning insights of AWS Compute Optimizer to ensure each workload was tagged correctly and used the correct Amazon EC2 instance to optimize resource usage based on the performance patterns of the application. In addition, Bespin used OpsNow—Bespin Global’s automated cloud management platform—to optimize Dubicars’ cloud resources and reduce their costs.
“Moving our development team from the UAE to Pakistan was a risky decision,” says Stevens. “We weren’t sure whether we could pull it off by ourselves. So when Bespin was named AWS DevOps Partner of the Year 2020 for MENA, it vindicated our choice of partner and gave us the confidence we needed.”
As a certified AWS DevOps Competency Partner, Bespin created and implemented a comprehensive DevOps roadmap for Dubicars, including DevOps methodologies, processes, and tools. Moreover, Bespin designed the new architecture to take advantage of DevOps Tooling by AWS, a set of services designed to automate manual tasks, manage complex environments, and enable a continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) workflow.
Container images are stored in and retrieved from AWS CodeCommit, compiled using AWS CodeBuild, and deployed using AWS CodeDeploy. A fully managed continuous integration service, AWS CodeBuild compiles source code, runs tests, and produces ready-to-deploy software packages. At the same time, AWS CodeDeploy eliminates error-prone manual operations, automating the deployment of Docker containers to AWS Fargate. Each microservice also has its own AWS CodePipeline to quickly and reliably automate and orchestrate services’ deployment.
“When it came to evaluating Dubicars’ security,” says Chaghlil, “we performed an AWS Well-Architected review. The value of the Well-Architected review is that it’s all about security. Security is number one. We identified a lot of gaps and closely worked with Dubicars’ team to resolve them.”
Based on five core pillars—reliability, security, performance efficiency, cost optimization, and operational excellence—AWS Well-Architected provides a consistent approach for evaluating and building resilient, secure, and efficient high-performing infrastructures for applications and workloads. One of the first things Bespin’s consultants noticed was that Dubicars’ databases were misconfigured. Bespin used the Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) to upgrade the installation and ensure the advanced security features available were fully implemented.
The website’s traffic is redirected via AWS CloudFront, a fast, highly secure content delivery network (CDN) running on top of Amazon’s backbone network with built-in network and application-level protection. Integrated with AWS services (including Amazon S3 and Amazon Route 53), Amazon CloudFront securely delivers applications, content, and videos to end-users with low-latency, high-transfer speeds in a developer-friendly environment. In addition, the entire AWS environment is monitored via AWS CloudTrail, simplifying operational analysis and troubleshooting.
For additional protection, Bespin took advantage of the capabilities of AWS GuardDuty, AWS Security Hub, and Amazon Inspector. Fully integrated, these tools monitor, troubleshoot, and protect the web application against web exploits impacting availability, security, and resource consumption.
RESULTS & BENEFITS
“Our ability to take new innovative products to market quickly has improved tenfold since we’ve been working with Bespin,” states Stevens. “The main reason is we don’t have to worry about infrastructure. These guys are the experts. We just focus on innovation and product. It’s been a great partnership for us.”
Exceeding customer expectations, Bespin’s highly skilled team quickly designed, implemented, and tested the architecture. The DevOps solution’s automation capabilities ensure the integrity of deployed code, eliminating delays introduced by error-prone manual processes. As a result, the implementation of new features and functions has been reduced from days to minutes, accelerating time-to-value for both Dubicars.com and its clients. In addition, the reliability, scalability, and security of Dubicars.com has increased, with advanced controls put in place to monitor and manage resource utilization and costs.
“Bespin Global is good,” says Stevens, “and that’s why we’ve done business with them. The service that Bespin gives us—which I haven’t seen from any other provider in the region—is at the level of a consultancy. They took the time to understand our problems, thought long-term from a partnership perspective, and explored various solutions to help me and my business. That’s the real value for me—the understanding, consultancy, and long-term partnership, rather than someone coming in to sell me some products.”
“The beauty of Dubicars.com is that they’re a cloud-native business, “says Chaghlil on behalf of Bespin Global. “They were born in the cloud. They’ve been using the cloud since day one. They’re really agile and nimble in the way they conceptualize and introduce products. It’s been a great experience working with Dubicars—a digitally native business—to help ensure they grow with confidence and also in a very controlled manner.”
ABOUT Bespin Global
An AWS Premier Consulting Partner and AWS Managed Service Partner, BESPIN GLOBAL MEA (Middle East and Africa) is a leading provider of automated cloud solutions and consulting services, including cloud strategy, migration, implementation, DevOps, and Big Data. Positioned as a Leader in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Infrastructure Professional and Managed Services, Bespin offers the industry’s most automated, end-to-end cloud management platform. Bespin OpsNow enables customers to consolidate, visualize, and manage distributed, multi-cloud assets within a single solution, optimizing resources and reducing costs by 30% or more.