Published July 18, 2019
Ten years ago, John Fenn and Mark Campbell teamed up to open a boutique real estate office and also create a junk removal company. As requests begin filtering in to the junk removal service for dumpster rental needs, the duo quickly realized there was the demand and opportunity to service these customers. They seized on the idea of creating a service that could easily connect anyone with a dumpster rental. Budget Dumpster was born.
Based near Cleveland in Westlake, Ohio, Budget Dumpster has rented over 500,000 dumpsters serving homeowners, contractors and businesses in 46 states. The company works with local partners throughout the United States to sell thousands of temporary roll-off dumpsters each week. In January 2018, Budget Dumpster launched its brick-and-mortar company, Dumpsters.com.
Roadblocks to Expanding Dumpster Services
The company has experienced double-digit growth since 2009 by focusing on leading-edge technologies. These include proprietary in-house technology that streamlines price-quoting for customers and a custom content management software that addresses Budget Dumpster’s specific digital marketing needs.
As Budget Dumpster grew, its technological challenges increased. The company explored Google Cloud Platform, a cloud computing solution, to address these challenges. They met with Onix, a nine-time Google Partner of the Year, and began developing a relationship.
“We started to reimagine our product delivery, which included our continuous integration/continuous deployments, our cloud platform, security, monitoring, all of it,” said Joe Swislocki, Budget Dumpster Director of Web Development. “That’s when we started talking to Onix. We wanted a partner that could aid our success criteria.”
Budget Dumpster’s technological challenges ranged from faster analysis of various application programming interface (API) data to data migration and scalability.
Among its biggest issues were:
- Development and growth of APIs. Budget Dumpster relies heavily on the Google Map APIs for its internal quoting software and as a tool its customers use to get pricing in their local market. It also develops and tests APIs. Both caused Budget Dumpster’s usage—and costs—to increase. The company wanted a way to monitor this while continuing to develop leading-edge technologies.
- Infrastructure migration. Although the company used another vendor to host its infrastructure in the cloud, it wasn’t confident in its ability to provide a modern and scalable infrastructure that would meet their growth and needs. For instance, if Budget Dumpster made a major code change to the Dumpsters.com website, the upgraded environment might work in its staging environment but fail in production. The inconsistency between environments and deployment practices impacted the company’s websites, BudgetDumpster.com and Dumpsters.com. It affected its customer service and its search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, which helps generate dumpster sales. For these reasons, a complete migration to GCP was attractive to Budget Dumpster.
- Scalability. As part of its infrastructure modernization, Budget Dumpster wanted to implement a microservices architecture to separate application concerns, thereby increasing operational reliability and allowing more flexibility in individual service deployment and elasticity. The orchestration capabilities offered by the combination of Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) with Istio (network service mesh) and Spinnaker (continuous deployment tool) provided further deployment flexibility, allowing things like canary testing and blue/green deployment. With best practices guidance from Onix’ DevOps architects, Budget Dumpster was able to successfully deploy a microservices architecture designed to accommodate the scaling and resiliency requirements demanded by the business.
APIs and Microservices Empower Budget Dumpster’s Digital Transformation
The meeting with Onix inspired Budget Dumpster and gave its leadership confidence in knowing they had a deployment and managed services partner who could help them transform their websites and business. It was time to explore the benefits of DevOps and Kubernetes as related to Google Cloud Platforfm
“Once we met with Matt Greene (Onix's Principal DevOps Architect), Mat Iglehart (Onix's Cloud Architect) and the rest of the Onix Continuous Innovation Team, we were impressed by their breadth of knowledge and enthusiasm,” Swislocki said. “It gave me inspiration knowing that we can innovate and reimagine our product delivery.”
Here’s a snapshot of the Google Cloud Platform and budget management services Onix provided:
- Streamlined the budget management process. By implementing OnSpend by Onix™, a billing analytics tool, Budget Dumpster is able to proactively monitor its forecasting and expenditures in line with its APIs usage. This value-add service enabled Budget Dumpster to be better aware and more cognizant of where money was spent.
- Gained faster insights from data without additional costs. Budget Dumpster used different development environments within GCP to test new APIs. These incurred costs added up. Working with Onix, management identified the IP addresses used for staging and quality control. Onix then bundled the IP addresses and gave Budget Dumpster a test API key that eliminated additional testing costs. “The test API key was pretty big because it saved us hundreds of dollars per test cycle,” Swislocki said. “This key, along with alerting us when our usage and spend went up, those are two big things. They’ve been invaluable.”
- Created an infrastructure migration plan focused on success. By contracting with Onix, Budget Dumpster took advantage of Onix’s industry-leading GCP experience, knowledge of microservices architecture, and state of the art continuous integration and deployment practices. Because Onix has expertise with GCP products, it translated into flexibility, agility and speedier deployments for Budget Dumpster.
- Positive Impact on SEO. GCP doubled Budget Dumpster’s CDN network with 90 locations.
- Helped stage and deploy GCP Kubernetes. Budget Dumpster needed help to create and deploy Kubernetes clusters. By using Onix developers’ 100+ years of combined experience with creating and moving to container environments, the company has successfully developed new GCP-hosted clusters and integrated Spinnaker for continuous deployment. The ability to use GCP container strategy with microservices is improving Budget Dumpster’s IT reliability and security, and driving faster software development cycles.
Wins All Around Now
“It gives me peace of mind knowing that we've got experts helping the DevOps now,” Swislocki said. “I feel confident knowing that when we do a deployment for production, we're in good hands.”