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  1. The Challenge: Issues with the core What If Media Group (WIMG) Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) PostgreSQL database were causing outages and application performance degradation. Current observability was not sufficient to diagnose the issue.
  2. The Solution: 2nd Watch initiated a comprehensive data flow assessment coupled with an application architecture assessment. This dual approach surfaced both database design and performance issues and application data access pattern issues.
  3. The Outcome: WIMG expects to decrease the load on the Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) by over 20%. Offloading the click-stream analytics will further reduce load.

About the Business

What If Media Group is an award-winning performance marketing company that enables the world’s leading brands to acquire valuable new customers at scale. By leveraging data-driven engagement and re-engagement strategies across multiple proprietary marketing channels and sophisticated targeting technology, and utilizing insights based on millions of consumer ad interactions each day, What If Media Group delivers the most cost-effective and highest performing marketing campaigns for its clients.

AWS as Part of the Solution

A critical and low level of effort first step was to add Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) Postgres read replicas to the architecture and refactor the Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) application to utilize the read replicas. Further performance gains were achieved by refactoring event streams to insert instead of update data. We are performing a POC (Proof of Concept) with Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose to offload the handling of click-stream data from Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS).


A key component of achieving the desired results was working collaboratively with WIMG’s Engineers to ensure proper knowledge transfer for future enhancements. This collaborative working partnership led to the successful implementation of the read replica pattern. Due to the heavy application architecture relying heavily on reads, WIMG expects to decrease the load on the Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) database by at least 20%. Offloading the click-stream analytics will further reduce the load with expectation of a significant reduction in bottlenecks.

Lessons Learned

When faced with a lack of sufficient observability understanding how the data flows through the system and how the application expects to access the data is paramount. The approach of having data experts and application experts working together to analyze performance issues proved successful.

About 2nd Watch

Transformation can mean anything. Let’s make it mean something. As a global enterprise tech consultancy, 2nd Watch is focused on our clients’ future. We work alongside them to untangle complex challenges on our way to creating elegant, iterative, and enduring solutions that meet their business objectives. Solutions including Data Center Migration, Cloud Modernization, Data Strategy, Cloud Economics / FinOps, Modern Cloud Operations and Co-Innovation Engineering. We’re not here to just solve tech challenges, but to use technology to solve business challenges. Let’s start a conversation.

2nd Watch’s team of experts works with global brands in financial services, retail, fast-moving consumer goods, media and entertainment, manufacturing IT, healthcare, and education. We have been an AWS Premier Consulting Partner since 2012, an audited Managed Service Provider since 2015, and an AWS Training Partner. We currently hold the AWS DevOps, Data and Analytics, Financial Services, Microsoft Workloads, Cloud Operations, and Migration and Migration Delivery Competencies.