AskHomey traced critical performance issues impacting their system, within seconds

Industry

Property management software

Location

United Kingdom

  • Small startup, always built 100% on AWS
  • Needed to reduce time spent on investigating error logs and firefighting in order to be able to focus more on developing new features
  • Cost control is AskHomey’s top priority
  • Dashbird’s automated error alerts via Slack notifications “have been a lifesaver

Starting point

AskHomey’s platform is built on AWS from the ground up. As a startup, they wanted to make sure they were cost and resource-focused and therefore decided to go cloud-based from day one. Keeping their cloud bill in control has always been a top priority.

AskHomey’s platform is running hundreds of thousands of executions and are constantly putting burst loads through their platform to get an idea of performance and scale capability

Periodically, they were suffering from error conditions impacting their system performance. Running a serverless stack, it was often difficult to identify the root cause, and consequently causing them to overpay on their cloud bill and increase the MTTD/R.

We’ve got a nice selection of AWS services that we use. Our probably most used: Dynamo, API Gateway, Lambda. We use AppSync for GraphQL. We use RDS. We use SQS. Across the range, we use pretty much most of the AWS’ Managed Service offerings in some form or another.

I have experienced the pain of not doing things in a sensible way from the beginning, and managing scale and growth is always a tricky one. But with AWS Lambda, the serverless approach, and using the managed services from AWS, it’s kind of a no-brainer. You don’t have to do anything and that’s the beauty. As long as you build and structure your application in a sensible way, use the guidelines, the design blueprints, and the style guides that they issue, you’re good to go.

Dharmesh Mistry, CEO at AskHomey

The challenge

AskHomey’s small team were building and developing their platform, while also running it. Sifting through operational logs (CloudWatch) was taking too long, and identifying potential problems became more and more time-consuming.

Without a more efficient way of debugging and capturing errors, they could only use CloudWatch directly for log grepping. AskHomey needed a better way of helping them keep costs down, and identifying and understanding errors easier and faster to reduce their MTTD/R.

How is Dashbird used?

AskHomey integrated Dashbird with Slack so that their team can see immediately what errors take place. They are using it to monitor their mission-critical Lambdas and a number of satellite services – which include about 80% of their total microservices – and regional replicated instances of DynamoDB.

Leveraging the integration with Slack, Dashbird was set up to send mobile phone notifications whenever alerts were detected. From the notification, Dashbird redirected the user to the exact error log feed to investigate and fix the problem immediately.

I mean, it is just extremely time-saving. It’s so efficient!

– Dharmesh Mistry, CEO at AskHomey

The Solution

AskHomey’s decision to implement Dashbird was driven by their need to reduce the time spent on investigating error logs. When weighing up the cost of spending time on fault finding against time spent on value-adding activities, AskHomey determined it’s a worthwhile expense investing in a serverless observability tool that saves time for their small team of developers.

Rather than investing hours upon hours to search for errors in CloudWatch, AskHomey’s team can immediately follow up an error straight from Dashbird’s dashboard.

As part of their efforts to build cloud-native applications following best practices, AskHomey needed a serverless monitoring tool to ensure that errors in their code are addressed as the company builds their products. 

Any developer will tell you that you can’t build perfect code the first time. But if we’re building this from the ground up, we have to do it properly. Otherwise, I’m going to get to a point where I spend the whole time firefighting with no time to do anything new, no development.

– Dharmesh Mistry, CEO at AskHomey

Using Dashbird has given AskHomey the confidence that their developments are not going to be hindered by unknown errors. Rather than spending time firefighting and going through error logs, they can focus their limited resources on delivering new features and services.

After implementing Dashbird into their workstream, AskHomey noticed their development process is significantly less stressful. They can write their code knowing that they will be notified if any problems arise without having to spend their energy to actively check CloudWatch and see if their code works as intended. 

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration or dramatic to say that Dashbird has been a lifesaver for us.

– Dharmesh Mistry, CEO at AskHomey

By combining Dashbird’s observability with good serverless practices and AWS’ comprehensive resources, AskHomey have gathered all the tools they need in their arsenal to build scalable and future-proof applications.

About AskHomey

AskHomey offers a SaaS platform that helps property developers in the UK to digitize current paper-based handover processes for new homebuyers. AskHomey creates a ‘virtual home’ for each newly-built property, including a gallery of images and sets of useful electronic documents such as floor plans and appliance manuals, each property holding tens or hundreds of these digital assets, all of which are indexed and fully searchable.

Dharmesh Mistry is the CEO of AskHomey, an investor and mentor in Proptech and FinTech, and manages his own property portfolio. He has supported financial services organisations with technology and management expertise for over 30 years. Dharmesh notably implemented the first transactional online insurance solution in the world, the first Java based banking solution in the UK and the first truly multi-channel banking platforms. He went on to deliver online commerce strategies for over 30 banks and insurance companies during his time at Entranet. Most recently in his role as Chief Digital Officer for Temenos, he was responsible for product, strategy and vision of their Global Digital Banking strategy. He led Temenos into becoming a leader in Digital Banking by Gartner, Forrestor and Ovum, and leadership in digital banking sales in the IBS global sales tables.