MANTAN Inc. moved the websites they operate to Google Cloud Platform (aka GCP). We asked Makoto Sato, Senior Leader of the Media Lab and Design Team, to talk about the websites and the upgrade.
There were two websites targeted for this upgrade.
The first one was “MAINICHI KIREI” a website for women upgraded on April 6th. The site’s concept is “supporting your daily beauty” and provides information useful to women of diverse lifestyles who are looking to enhance their senses, skills and knowledge, and become even more beautiful.
The second one was “MANTANWEB”, upgraded on April 20th.
This site gets 10,000,000 page views per month on average and publishes information from a journalistic standpoint on Japan’s world-famous popular culture, focusing on Manga, Anime, Games and TV. It presents a huge number of creative works from a variety of angles , with the latest information reaching us faster than anywhere else.
We originally used a hosting service and the deadline for renewing the contract was approaching. In addition, we planned to upgrade the CMS, and therefore the opportunity to reexamine our infrastructure environment came about naturally as part of the process.
We were already using the AWS management console for some websites, and we felt that there would be benefits to using the cloud given the scale of the websites targeted for upgrade, therefore we contrasted and compared each company’s cloud services. With AWS, you have to be tied into a long-term contract if you want to reduce the price through Reserved Instances. However, we rated GCP’s monthly discount for continuous use highly from a price comparison point of view.
Also, we had tested out the Google App Engine in the past, and felt a sense of security towards the Google brand due to the stability of the services it provides globally. Our websites are viewed by a huge number of people, therefore we valued having a stable environment with which we could provide our services.
In terms of the schedule, we began gathering data and comparing clouds in the fall of 2014, and decided to introduce GCP in early January, 2015. Then, we carried out actual function tests and configuration checks for about 2 weeks and migrated over between February and March. We were concerned about migrating data for past articles as both sites had a huge amount of content, however the migration went smoothly because arrangements to submit the data were already underway prior to our decision to introduce GCP.
This time as server migration was the main objective we kept things very simple by using only Google Compute Engine (aka GCE) to organise things, and not interfering with the server configuration. Of course, we used a load balancer, but we decided to put off using Cloud Storage or Cloud SQL as we wanted to complete the migration quickly.
The performance was almost exactly as we predicted. Compared to AWS its instance activation is quicker and there’s no let up in the stability of its performance. From the operational side, there are no particular problems with the interface once you get used to it. We checked a number of things in the testing stage such as the need for a global IP to connect GCE and Cloud SQL within identical projects, etc. but there were no particularly significant problems.
The impression we got was that AWS has enhanced functionality on the one hand, but on the other hand it requires a certain amount of skill to get it to perform, whereas GCP is very simple and straightforward to use in practice.
One particularly good factor was Cloud Ace’s technical support during the initial testing stages, which allowed technical checks of the connection between the previously-uploaded GCE and Cloud SQL and use of the load balancer, etc. to run smoothly. Also, their correspondence with Google, etc when changes were made to the maximum number of cores helped things progress smoothly.
Although our initial objective was to migrate the MANTANWEB and MAINICHI KIREI websites over to Google Cloud Platform we have plans to migrate several other of our websites over one after the other, hopefully around summertime.
This time we prioritised the upgrade and didn’t make changes to the configuration, however, with content such as images, etc. now held in Cloud Storage, we plan to optimise the system configuration to help reduce the number of GCE instances and lower usage fees.
By opting for GCP, we have a stable infrastructure environment in which to provide our services. Our principal goal overall is to increase the number of visitors to our websites, therefore we will continue to provide new information in the future in ways that appeal to as many people as possible.
(This article was originally published on our Japanese website in Spring 2015)