Before going through the Case Study, Let’s see…
What is AWS SQS?
Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS) is a fully managed message queuing service that enables you to decouple and scale microservices, distributed systems, and serverless applications.
SQS eliminates the complexity and overhead associated with managing and operating message oriented middleware, and empowers developers to focus on differentiating work. Using SQS, you can send, store, and receive messages between software components at any volume, without losing messages or requiring other services to be available.
Get started with SQS in minutes using the AWS console, Command Line Interface or SDK of your choice, and three simple commands.
SQS offers two types of message queues. Standard queues offer maximum throughput, best-effort ordering, and at-least-once delivery. SQS FIFO queues are designed to guarantee that messages are processed exactly once, in the exact order that they are sent.
What is SQS used for?
The most common ways to use SQS, and of course other messaging systems, in cloud applications are:
Decoupling microservices. In a microservice architecture, messages represent one of the easiest ways to set up communication between different parts of the system. If your microservices run in AWS, and especially if those are Serverless services, SQS is a great choice for that aspect of the communication.
Sending tasks between different parts of your system. You don’t have to be running a microservices-oriented application to take advantage of SQS. You can also use it in any kind of application that needs to communicate tasks to other systems.
Distributing workloads from a central node to worker nodes. You can frequently find messaging systems in the flows of distributed large workloads like map-reduce operations. For these kinds of operations, it’s essential to be able to maintain a queue of all the tasks that need to be processed, efficiently distribute the tasks between the machines or functions doing the work, and guarantee that every part of the work is only done once.
Scheduling batch jobs. SQS is a great option for scheduling batch jobs for two reasons. First, it maintains a durable queue of all the scheduled jobs, which means you don’t need to keep track of the job status — you can rely on SQS to pass the jobs through and to handle any retries, should an execution fail and your batch system returns the message to the queue. Second, it integrates with AWS Lambda; if you’re using AWS Lambda to process the batch jobs, SQS automatically launches your Lambda functions once the data is available for them to process.
Benefits provided by AWS SQS
Eliminate administrative overhead
AWS manages all ongoing operations and underlying infrastructure needed to provide a highly available and scalable message queuing service. With SQS, there is no upfront cost, no need to acquire, install, and configure messaging software, and no time-consuming build-out and maintenance of supporting infrastructure. SQS queues are dynamically created and scale automatically so you can build and grow applications quickly and efficiently.
Reliably deliver messages
Use Amazon SQS to transmit any volume of data, at any level of throughput, without losing messages or requiring other services to be available. SQS lets you decouple application components so that they run and fail independently, increasing the overall fault tolerance of the system. Multiple copies of every message are stored redundantly across multiple availability zones so that they are available whenever needed.
Keep sensitive data secure
You can use Amazon SQS to exchange sensitive data between applications using server-side encryption (SSE) to encrypt each message body. Amazon SQS SSE integration with AWS Key Management Service (KMS) allows you to centrally manage the keys that protect SQS messages along with keys that protect your other AWS resources. AWS KMS logs every use of your encryption keys to AWS CloudTrail to help meet your regulatory and compliance needs.
Scale elastically and cost-effectively
Amazon SQS leverages the AWS cloud to dynamically scale based on demand. SQS scales elastically with your application so you don’t have to worry about capacity planning and pre-provisioning. There is no limit to the number of messages per queue, and standard queues provide nearly unlimited throughput. Costs are based on usage which provides significant cost saving versus the “always-on” model of self-managed messaging middleware.
How Amazon SQS helped RedBus?
redBus is an Indian travel agency that specializes in bus travel throughout India by selling bus tickets throughout the country. Tickets are purchased through the company’s Website or through the Web services of its agents and partners.
The company also offers software, on a Software as a Service (SaaS) basis, which gives bus operators the option of handling their own ticketing and managing their own inventories. To date, the company says they have sold over 30 million bus tickets and has more than 1750 bus operators using the software to manage their operations.
With the time savings that the IT and development staffs obtain from the AWS solution, AWS gives us an overall cost benefit of about 30–40%.”
Chief Technology Officer, redBus
The company previously ran its operations from a traditional data center by purchasing and renting its systems and infrastructure. In addition to the expense, several logistical problems evolved from this arrangement. The biggest problem was that the infrastructure could not effectively handle processing fluctuations, which had a negative impact on productivity. Additionally, the procurement of servers or upgrading the server configuration was an extremely time-consuming endeavor. Over time, redBus realized that a better solution was imperative — a solution that offered scalability to handle the company’s processing fluctuations. redBus looked to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for a solution.
Why Amazon Web Services
After testing the AWS solution on a small application for several months, the travel agency determined that it was very workable and convenient. Although redBus was quite enthusiastic about the on-demand instances and variety of instance types, several other features cemented the company’s decision to migrate completely to AWS.
These features included the ability to easily manage access to servers through security groups, the easy-to-use, self-service management console, the concept of Elastic IPs, and superior support.
The company has incorporated many of the AWS products into its solution, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Elastic Load Balancing, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), and Amazon CloudWatch.
Charan Padmaraju, Chief Technology Officer believes that “with features like Elastic Load Balancing and multiple availability zones, AWS provides the required infrastructure to build for redundancy and auto-failover. When you incorporate these in your system/application design, you can achieve high reliability and scale.”
Since migrating to AWS, redBus has seen measurable improvements in the bottom line. Padmaraju says, “By scaling up and down dynamically based on the load, we maintain performance as well as minimize cost.
With the time savings that the IT and development staffs obtain from the AWS solution, AWS gives us an overall cost benefit of about 30–40%.” He adds, “By hosting at [the AWS Asia Pacific (Singapore) region], redBus.in gained significantly in terms of website performance by way of reduced latency (about 4x). This is a great advantage when the customers are from India.”
Of the many excellent characteristics of AWS, perhaps the most significant to redBus is the ability to “instantly replicate the whole setup on demand for testing by creating and destroying instances on demand for experimentation, thereby reducing the time to market.” Less time to market translates to increased profitability and success.
The travel agency anticipates expanding the AWS solution to include Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) and Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) for monitoring, alerts, and intercommunication. “Amazon SQS is an especially good solution for enabling messaging between external applications and our applications,” says Padmaraju.
Since joining forces with AWS, redBus has gained the freedom to experiment on new solutions and applications at minimal cost, increased the efficiency of its operations, and improved its profitability.
Benefits of AWS:
Reduced costs by up to 40%
Reduced website latency by 4x
Able to instantly replicate test environments, which in turn reduces time to market
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