Smart Routing Speeds Infrastructure for Digital Ad Firm

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Cloud computing, often depicted as the vast treasure trove of seemingly limitless resources, is not a “one-size-fits-all” proposition. While there are certainly a wide array of needs that cloud computing can meet, some businesses are finding that they need a more customized set of infrastructure components to really maximize their business.

OwnerIQ, a digital advertising intelligence and media buying company, is an example of an organization that started in the cloud, but moved to the managed services provider Internap for a number of reasons. OwnerIQ is privately held and based in Boston. They are back by area investors: Kepha Partners, Atlas Venture, Common Angels, Egan-Managed Capital, Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation and Longworth Venture Partners.

“OwnerIQ needed a distributed footprint for hosting. Performance, low latency and ability to handle large data transactions were all very important to OwnerIQ,” said Raj Dutt, Senior Vice President of Technology, Internap.

Managed Hosting Still A Strong Solution

“Big data is associated with the cloud, but cloud doesn’t always make sense, depending on the customer’s requirements,” he said. Internap also provides cloud services, so Dutt’s  perspective is not driven by “cloud-knocking.”

“We have an ad platform that powers a digital ad solution,” said Eric Mabley, cofounder, executive VP ad platforms, OwnerIQ. “We work directly with brands and their agencies. We work with the digital agency of record, brand planners, media buyers.”

Mabley started the company in the mid-2000s. At first, the company’s mission-critical technology was hosted with a different service provider who was more “rack and stack,” he said. It’s all at Internap now, because of the networking capabilities and the cost savings, he said.

Multiple Infrastructure Needs

OwnerIQ has two parts to its business: a data marketplace where retailers and manufactures share their audience behavior data which is analyzed and leveraged for digital advertising opportunities (which the company calls “ownership targeting”) and media purchasing through national advertising exchanges from publishers and other media companies, Mabley said.

The data marketplace and the media buying function each have their own unique infrastructure needs, he said.

On transactional side of the house – working on the data marketplace analyzing big data for audience behaviors with data sets from major retailers and manufacturers such as Cisco, Green Mountain Coffee or RCA – there is need for storage space and compute cycles.  The audience data is kept in data warehouses sitting near each other. But the data doesn’t just sit there.

“We are not in the business of data storage. We are in the business of data analysis,” Mabley said.  For example, audience behavior from a visitor to a web site selling high-end appliances might indicate that person owns gourmet kitchen appliances. That might be an attractive audience target to a company selling life insurance products. So, one manufacturer’s data set might yield an advertising audience profile that can be reached through digital advertising from another company.

Mabley said, “We distill that data and use it to steer us when we see an advertising opportunity. We need horsepower to churn through the data and push the data around.” Dutt, who worked closely with the OwnerIQ team, noted that OwnerIQ had requirements for low internal latency to meet the big data analysis needs.

To participate in the ad buying auctions hosted on the East and West Coast and in Chicago where there are tens of billions of opportunities in the U.S. and Canada each day, OwnerIQ needed bicoastal hosting, a global content delivery network (CDN) and to take advantage of Internap’s IP network.

Low-latency Important in Ad Buying

Speed equals business advantage. It comes down to fractions of milliseconds when participating in ad purchasing auctions, not unlike traders in the world’s equity markets, according Mabley.

“It’s where a 1/20 of millisecond is important to take advantage of auction price in a timely manner, or we won’t get a bite at the apple,” Mabley said. “We have 50 servers across Internap optimized for traffic latency and a 99.9% success rate participating in auctions.”

What Internap has to offer, which speeds the ability to purchase in a fast-paced auction environment, is their patented routing solution, Managed Internet Route Optimizer (MIRO). MIRO is a route optimizing technology which uses a smart approach to routing traffic across the Web.

So as Dutt said, Internap is “hitting it from all angles.”

Mabley noted, “We had experience with different providers, including leveraging the cloud. We found that networking was a bottleneck.”

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About the Author

Colleen Miller is a journalist and social media specialist. She has more than two decades of writing and editing experience, with her most recent work dedicated to the online space. Colleen covers the data center industry, including topics such as modular, cloud and storage/big data.

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