Burst SMS accelerates application modernization with Harness

Burst SMS has accelerated its application modernization journey with Harness, achieving cost savings, improved reporting, efficient deployments, and positioning itself for future growth.

By
Published on
11/25/2023

Introduction

Burst SMS is a leading technology company at the forefront of the SMS marketing industry. Their SMS gateway enables customers to increase sales, retain more customers, and streamline operations. Recently, Burst SMS has found success expanding their APAC connectivity, achieving a new milestone - with over 20 billion conversations for over 35,000 businesses.

However, at the core of their business was a monolithic application written in PHP. As the company grew, it became clear that to continue scaling the business and improve agility, they needed to modernize their application.

The Challenge: Modernizing a Monolithic Application

The decision to modernize their application was not without its challenges. After a failed attempt at a complete rewrite, Burst SMS decided to employ the strangler pattern, rewriting portions of the application as services while leaving the core in place. This approach, while effective, introduced new complexities. With more moving pieces, cloud costs grew and became harder to predict, manage, and understand.

Simultaneously, Burst SMS was undertaking a Herculean task of consolidating from seven brands into one, requiring surgical precision to ensure a seamless transition for their customers.

Harness: DevOps for Application Modernization

In these challenges, Burst SMS turned to a familiar ally: Harness. Having previously wielded Harness to reduce system downtime from one hour to mere minutes, Burst SMS expanded its usage of Harness to navigate this modernization journey.

Harness was now the backbone for building and deploying 30 services, not just monolith deploys. Burst SMS also adopted the Harness Cloud Cost Management (CCM) module, a solution designed to provide visibility and control over cloud costs.

Harness Impact: Happy Engineers, Cost Savings, Improved Reporting, and Efficient Deployments

The implementation of the CCM module yielded swift and substantial benefits. Through its automation capabilities, it facilitated the automatic shutdown of test environments outside of operational hours. This led to a 66% reduction in environment-related costs, contributing to notable financial savings. Furthermore, the CCM module greatly simplified reporting processes. In the pre-CCM period, the arrival of the monthly cloud bill would trigger a time-consuming investigation process, followed by a lengthy meeting to discuss the findings. However, with CCM, anomalous charges were detected within a single day. Additionally, the system seamlessly generates regular reports, offering clear explanations of any modifications made. Consequently, the once-dreaded and time-consuming monthly meetings were no longer necessary, replaced by an automated and efficient process that streamlines reporting and enhances cost-efficiency.

Moving to Harness’s build infrastructure for Continuous Integration (CI) also delivered significant cost savings. Previously, Burst SMS had to maintain their own cluster for builds and related activities. The cloud costs alone were $110,000 per year. By moving to Harness CI, builds accelerated and those infrastructure costs were cut by 76%, saving over $80,000 annually. 

Harness also brought improvements to Burst SMS's deployment processes. By using team tags alongside the native Slack integration, failure notifications were sent directly to the impacted teams. This reduced noise and improved responsiveness, ensuring errors were dealt with quickly.

One of the most significant improvements came from adopting the blue/green deployment technology built into Harness Continuous Delivery (CD). According to Thomas Wilson, SRE Manager at Burst SMS, “My CEO was next to me when an update brought our whole service down. He was shocked at how calm I was. Using Harness, we had everything back up in a couple of minutes. No harm done." Before Harness, outages could take two hours. Now, with blue/green deployments, that’s down to under five minutes, a 96% improvement. 

Conclusion: Harness Empowers Burst SMS's Future Growth

Harness has been instrumental in Burst SMS's application modernization journey. It has helped manage complexity, reduce costs, and improve deployment processes. As a result, Burst SMS has been able to deliver a customer experience that "just works," reducing stress for the engineering team and positioning the company for future growth and success. With Harness, Burst SMS is well-equipped to face the future, ready to take on new challenges, and seize new opportunities.

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