Cloudinary Blog

How bidorbuy reduced R&D costs and improved site performance

How bidorbuy improved site performance with Cloudinary

bidorbuy is the largest online marketplace in South Africa. Launched back in August 1999, the Johannesburg based online marketplace brings buyers and sellers together to trade merchandise via online auctions and fixed price sales. 
 
The challenge: managing an image laden website
 
bidorbuy mobile app screenshotAs the largest online marketplace in South Africa, bidorbuy hosts over 1.7 million products on its site. With thousands of images loaded daily, managing such an image based website has presented some unique challenges. As the site’s success is driven by selling products accurately represented by their images, these challenges must be faced head on. The potential buyer’s initial decision is almost entirely based on the image that the seller has uploaded, so a fast–loading site with sharp images is a must.
 
The bidorbuy platform needs to handle a significant volume of image uploads in a fast and secure manner, storing the images and applying modifications before efficiently delivering them to the end-users. These are not easy tasks, and there is an obvious business need to optimize this process, as even a single-digit improvement can result in significant savings and improved user experience.
 
Initially, bidorbuy managed their images with a separate infrastructure - running Apache HTTP, Varnish and standalone processes, which would statically generate thumbnails for their product pages; however, they soon ran into scalability and file-system issues. bidorbuy required a solution with flexibility in order to support the different sized images required for their site and native mobile applications. With over 300 million images, it became challenging to provide an appropriate disaster recovery solution (i.e. restoring from backup would take 5 days).
 
Since over 80% of the source images for bidorbuy’s products are hosted with 3rd parties, a solution that could simply generate thumbnails from remote images without having to retrieve and store the image was required. 
 
The solution: use Cloudinary to generate thumbnails on-the-fly
 
bidorbuy products page screenshotUsing Cloudinary, bidorbuy found their solution. They started by using named transformations, generating thumbnails dynamically as and when needed. This was especially handy when displaying different images on various delivery platforms (i.e. high-res retina images on Apple retina devices). “The automatic browser detection and image optimization on the fly for browsers (i.e. automatic WebP delivery) is a great addition” says Gerd Naschenweng, bidorbuy’s CTO.
 
bidorbuy also used Cloudinary's auto-upload and remote fetching features to migrate existing bidorbuy images straight to Cloudinary. Gerd mentions that Cloudinary's choice of CDN, Akamai, and the local CDN nodes it provides “has dramatically improved end-user experience and obviously reduced our administrative requirements with regards to images.” 
 
To sum up, in Gerd’s words, “This year, we will decommission self-hosted infrastructure and storage as Cloudinary has reliably served images for us over the last nine months. This will not just result in a reduction of operational expenditure (infrastructure, storage, monitoring, reduction of bandwidth), but will also free up administrative staff managing our self-hosted infrastructure.”
 
Are images an important aspect of your website or mobile app? If so, drop us a line so we can talk about the ways Cloudinary can help. 
 
Are you an existing customer and would like to share your Cloudinary experience? Let us know! We would be happy to feature your story.
 

Recent Blog Posts

Hipcamp Optimizes Images and Improves Page Load Times With Cloudinary

When creating a website that allows campers to discover great destinations, Hipcamp put a strong emphasis on featuring high-quality images that showcased the list of beautiful locations, regardless of whether users accessed the site on a desktop, tablet, or phone. Since 2015, Hipcamp has relied on Cloudinary’s image management solution to automate cropping and image optimization, enabling instant public delivery of photos, automatic tagging based on content recognition, and faster loading of webpages. In addition, Hipcamp was able to maintain the high standards it holds for the look and feel of its website.

Read more
New Image File Format: FUIF: Why Do We Need a New Image Format

In my last post, I introduced FUIF, a new, free, and universal image format I’ve created. In this post and other follow-up pieces, I will explain the why, what, and how of FUIF.

Even though JPEG is still the most widely-used image file format on the web, it has limitations, especially the subset of the format that has been implemented in browsers and that has, therefore, become the de facto standard. Because JPEG has a relatively verbose header, it cannot be used (at least not as is) for low-quality image placeholders (LQIP), for which you need a budget of a few hundred bytes. JPEG cannot encode alpha channels (transparency); it is restricted to 8 bits per channel; and its entropy coding is no longer state of the art. Also, JPEG is not fully “responsive by design.” There is no easy way to find a file’s truncation offsets and it is limited to a 1:8 downscale (the DC coefficients). If you want to use the same file for an 8K UHD display (7,680 pixels wide) and for a smart watch (320 pixels wide), 1:8 is not enough. And finally, JPEG does not work well with nonphotographic images and cannot do fully lossless compression.

Read more
 New Image File Format: FUIF:Lossy, Lossless, and Free

I've been working to create a new image format, which I'm calling FUIF, or Free Universal Image Format. That’s a rather pretentious name, I know. But I couldn’t call it the Free Lossy Image Format (FLIF) because that acronym is not available any more (see below) and FUIF can do lossless, too, so it wouldn’t be accurate either.

Read more
Optimizing Video Streaming and Delivery: Q&A with Doug Sillars

Doug Sillars, a digital nomad and a freelance mobile-performance expert, answers questions about video streaming and delivery, website optimization, and more.

Doug Sillars, a freelance mobile-performance expert and developer advocate, is a Google Developer Expert and the author of O’Reilly’s High Performance Android Apps. Given his extensive travels across the globe—from the UK to Siberia—with his wife, kids, and 11-year-old dog, Max, he has been referred to as a “digital nomad.” So far in 2018, Doug has spoken at more than 75 meetups and conferences!

Read more