Amazon Web Services Talks To Spark CTO, Ben Hoskins, About Migrating To The Cloud


When Affinitas merged with Spark Networks Inc. in 2017, our portfolio expanded from three to nine apps overnight. These apps spanned various technology platforms, for which our existing data center setup simply wasn’t sufficient, so our CTO, Ben Hoskins, set to work devising a way to build out a new platform. It was a daunting task, but necessary if we wanted to effectively and efficiently manage so many diverse properties.

Amazon Web Services spoke to Ben about how migrating to the cloud was the answer.

Looking For Love In The Cloud

Spark had been beset by long and repeated data center outages due to outdated hardware and multiple services running on the same physical servers with little virtualization or isolation. This prevented the operations team from detecting and resolving issues effectively. “The data center that we were in wasn’t fit for purpose,” Hoskins says. “Data, for us, is a main driver for business success and we couldn’t even guarantee that it would be available. It made zero sense for us to run our business that way, so I proposed that we move our platform into the cloud.”

Most of Spark’s dating sites are based on the Affinitas web platform, which is a 10-year old Java system with too many stored procedures (which means that it wasn’t suited to the cloud). Replacing it was a long-term project, but Hoskins was keen to migrate operations to the cloud as quickly as possible. “We knew AWS was going to help us launch new products in a more efficient and cost-effective way,” he explains.

Read on to find out how we used AWS to:

  • cut release time by 300 percent
  • drop page load times by 75%
  • shipped new features without customer-facing downtime