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Bare metal migration to cloud data warehouse


The Problem

Intent Media was running an on-premise bare media database solution for its ad placement business. Peformance was key to the very success of their business. As they planned for an increased workloads, hardware and license costs were escalating. They chose to migrate their high-performance database to Redshift technology.

The New Architecture

Intent Media’s data warehouse running on Amazon Redshift is part of a larger solution running on AWS:

  • The process begins with more than a billion raw log entries per day, which are ingested in near-real-time using Amazon Kinesis.
  • Event data is stored in Amazon S3, which contains petabytes of such data at any given time. A single 30-day period may examine 10 terabytes.
  • Nightly Apache Spark jobs, which are scheduled using Apache Airflow and run on Amazon EMR and Amazon EC2, handle the ETL process and load the data into Amazon Redshift.
  • The data warehouse also consumes reference information that is stored in Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) and synchronized to Amazon Redshift using FlyData, an Amazon Redshift Partner.

““By working with Full 360, we received a guaranteed deliverable, and our internal team was able to stay focused on furthering our business objectives instead of getting dragged into the drudgery of migrating queries and so on."”

PJ Julius - CTO

“We were highly impressed with Full 360’s extensive knowledge of both Vertica and Amazon Redshift. We already had a high-level project plan, which, combined with Full 360’s expertise, enabled them to get started on the work almost immediately.”

Will Norman - Director of Engineering


With help from Full 360, Intent Media migrated its data warehouse workload from Vertica to Amazon Redshift quickly and smoothly, without the need to divert internal engineering resources from other business objectives. The company’s new analytics platform not only is more scalable and less expensive, but also has improved availability and eliminated a good deal of day-to-day administrative work.

Key benefits include:

  • On-demand scalability. Intent Media no longer needs to worry about the capacity of its analytics platform. Moving forward, when more headroom is needed, the company can simply use the AWS Management Console or the ModifyCluster API to increase the number of nodes within its data warehouse cluster — and have those changes be applied immediately. “We’re more agile because we no longer need to worry about the size of our data warehouse or make trade-offs to stay below its capacity,” says Julius. “Instead, we have the freedom to do whatever’s best for the business.”

  • Lower costs. By moving its aggregation data to Amazon Redshift, Intent Media avoided the immediate, six- to seven-figure investment that would have been required for more capacity on Vertica. Considering existing data volumes, Julius estimates that the move to Amazon Redshift will save the company an estimated $1.5 million per year in operating expenses. Just as important, the company can pay for additional capacity as it’s needed — in proportion to future revenue growth.

  • Less system administration. Because Amazon Redshift is a fully managed service, Intent Media’s engineering team will no longer need to worry about things such as monitoring, snapshots, and system upgrades and maintenance. That will enable the team to shift a large part of the roughly 40 hours a week that were required to keep Vertica up and running to more important and productive efforts, such as the delivery of new business value.

  • Improved availability. Having a fully managed service has also decreased downtime, resulting in fewer interruptions to business decision-making and happier customers. For Norman, it also means fewer pages at 2 o’clock in the morning to, as he puts it, “Scramble to something that’s broken.”

While the above benefits are powerful on their own, the advantages of working with Full 360 to achieve them are also noteworthy. “We could have done the work on our own, but that wouldn’t have been as beneficial,” says Julius. “By working with Full 360, we received a guaranteed deliverable, and our internal team was able to stay focused on furthering our business objectives instead of getting dragged into the drudgery of migrating queries and so on. From a business perspective, in terms of everything from opportunity cost to employee satisfaction, the decision to use Full 360 was an easy one.”

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