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

Techniques for Image Enhancement With Cloudinary

Indisputably, visual presentations of events, places, people, and even intangible things make deeper impressions and linger in our minds for longer than words or any other communication medium, hence the meteoric rise through the ages of transmitting ideas and promoting brands in the business sector through images. The recent discovery of the first image of a black hole has generated calls for techniques for enhancing digital images. Specifically, the clamor is for quality-oriented tweaks that would result in optimal display and increased visibility of slightly hidden yet important content.

Read more
Video Manipulations and Delivery for Angular Video Apps

On social media, videos posted by users constitute a significant amount of the content appeal on those platforms. From upload to manipulation to delivery, a smooth, efficient, and effective pipeline for the posting process is mandatory to ensure consistent user sessions and their steadily increasing volume. However, building such an infrastructure is a complex, labor-intensive, and problem-prone undertaking.

Read more
Green Screen Queen: Dynamic Video Transparency Fit For Royalty

If you were reading your social media or news feeds on or around June 11 this year, no doubt you came across your fair share of posts about Queen Elizabeth and her outfit-color faux pas. For her 90th birthday, she chose a solid neon green suit, and it didn't take long for Photoshop fanatics to suggest alternative designs for the Queen's green-screen threads.

Read more
Content-Aware Automatic Cropping for Video

Delivering videos according to the aspect ratios defined by social media for multiple devices and platforms is a growing challenge. The continuously rising volume of vertical videos and the corresponding increase in video traffic on mobile devices (now up to 57% of online videos watched) have only exacerbated the situation, with no letup in sight.

Read more
Use a custom function in the image delivery pipeline

Cloudinary offers a wide array of image manipulations and effects to apply to images as part of our image-processing pipeline, helping to ensure that your images fit the graphic design of your website or mobile application. Cloudinary is an open platform, and you can use our APIs, Widgets and UI to build the media management flow that matches your needs.

Read more