Case studies

Carsales gains visibility of cost and quality in the cloud with Stax

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Customer Name: Carsales.com Limited

THE CHALLENGE:

  • Required greater insight to cloud usage in the areas of cost, risk, security and quality

The solution

  • Stax

THE BUSINESS RESULTS:

  • Greater predictability for cloud usage
  • Ability to pre-empt potential issues
  • Improved time efficiencies among teams

About carsales

Founded in 1997, carsales is the largest online automotive, motorcycle and marine classifieds business in Australia. With more than 650 employees across Australia, the company is an ASX top 100 business with a market capitalisation of $2.7 billion. carsales develops world leading technology and advertising solutions that drive its business around the world. The company has operations across the Asia Pacific region and has interests in leading online automotive classified businesses in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Columbia, Mexico, South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand.

The need

carsales moved from a physical dedicated hosting environment to a cloud-based environment using Amazon Web Services (AWS). The AWS platform offered carsales far greater flexibility to operate and grow, but it faced some of the common challenges of organisations moving to the cloud.

Once carsales transitioned from fixed to variable billing, it realised it had no visibility into what it was costing to operate in a cloud environment, resulting in bill shock for the organisation.

In addition, carsales was concerned it had little insight to other dimensions of managing cloud infrastructure such as risk, security and the quality of its cloud deployments. Without a holistic view of what was occurring within the organisation, carsales didn’t know exactly what employees were doing in AWS and how they were doing it.

Finally, carsales also desired quality metrics which would enable it to effectively leverage the AWS platform to meet the business needs, ensuring optimum performance through best practises.

The solution

While the technology was important to carsales, so too was having a good fit and rapport with its vendors.

Melbourne start-up, Stax, had similar values to carsales. According to Michael Ridgway, Senior Development Manager at carsales, while there were many vendors that offered cost tracking solutions in the cloud, there was no other real tool in the market that was offering the quality tracking component that Stax had.

“We met with the Stax team and realised that Dave and his team had very similar values and drive to what we have at carsales. Despite Stax being a relatively new product, its technology was superior to any that we had seen in the market. Stax ticked all the boxes for us, said Ridgway ”

Stax provided a complete overview of carsales’ use of AWS. The solution covered not only the cost component but also provided visibility of other components such as security and risk. Stax provided carsales with aggregated data which translated into greater insight for the company. In addition, alerts were set up to keep tabs on managing resources, which has led to carsales better handling its business risk.

carsales used Stax to gain greater visibility across multiple teams in the company and what employees were doing in AWS. The company also used Stax to monitor spend and quality of the work in AWS and within the business.

carsales provided the Stax team with regular feedback which included feature requests, co-design of the features and testing of the design. We had a lot of collaboration with Stax from how we were using the solution to how it could be improved, said Ridgway.

“It’s been a learning process for both sides. Being a greenfield project, we managed to work with Stax to customise the solution as needed. Stax helped us to build features that were useful to our company. This allowed us actionable insights to our business needs, said Ridgway. Having a clear and complete picture of cost, security, compliance, and best practise is key for us”

Ridgway also believed that having input into shaping the Stax solution for carsales added extra value for Stax’ customers as features were being built with the end user firmly in mind.

The result

Since implementing Stax, carsales has seen significant improvements in time savings and has been able to provide greater predictability about its cloud usage. In addition, employees are able to be more proactive in preventing and fixing potential issues. This in turn has helped the company reduce its risk, improve efficiency and save money in the long run.

carsales is planning to roll out Stax to at least 20 more employees in the coming months. The company aims to use Stax ongoing to measure the quality of its infrastructure and to be able to compare how it uses AWS against other similar companies in the market, to remain on a competitive footing. carsales is also looking to work with Stax to expand its feature set in the security and compliance space.

“Our relationship with Stax has been good and one that we value tremendously, added Ridgway. The people at Stax are passionate about their product and we see the value they provide. Our objective in using Stax is to move away from risky practices to best practices, which will help to ensure the success of the company”