Digitalparking serves more than half of drivers in Switzerland through its parking payment solutions. With a history that reaches back to far more basic parking payment options in the 1960s, the company has evolved alongside the proliferation of smartphones and digital payments to meet the demands of today’s customers.
To transform its services, Digitalparking migrated its infrastructure away from on-premises legacy technology to cloud computing. “Everything changed when reliable, secure management of digital payments became possible,” says Reto Schläpfer, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer of Digitalparking. “We realized we had to transform from a hardware to a software company.”
Let’s take a look at how a combination of technologies from Google Cloud and partners Aiven and Datadog modernized Digitalparking’s technology stack while improving uptime, security, and simplicity—and the services people rely on daily.
Keeping IT simple
According to Schläpfer, roughly 2.5 million of the 4.8 million cars in Switzerland have used Digitalparking’s system in the past year. The company started processing a low number of digital payments in 2018, but has seen demand skyrocket to up to 60 million transactions annually.
To accomplish this, Digitalparking takes an approach to innovation that emphasizes customer experience.
“The people using our services value reliability and consistency over everything else,” says Schläpfer. “Our customers park 24 hours a day and want to pay for their parking spot quickly and effortlessly. Any issues can result in hassles for them and problems for us. A big challenge for us was looking at how to scale to handle such a big jump in digital transactions without increasing complexity. We knew we needed a simple and reliable IT infrastructure to support our parking software.”
Digitalparking chose to migrate its VPS-provider-based infrastructure to Google Cloud. Today, the company uses a combination of Compute Engine, Cloud Storage, and Cloud Run, as well as Secret Manager. As maintaining security is vital, Digitalparking takes advantage of firewall configuration capabilities through Terraform by HashiCorp. This enables the business to avoid the costly and time-intensive provisioning of firewalls on individual operating systems while maintaining compliance with data security regulations.
Further, network peering has been critical to Digitalparking’s success, as it allows the company to keep all IT assets within one system.
“Between network peering and Google Cloud firewall capabilities, we not only improved our general data and IT security, but also our system reliability,” says Schläpfer. “Network peering dramatically reduces latency compared to a more fragmented architecture and that translates to better reliability and higher uptime.”
Leveraging a dynamic partner ecosystem
Digitalparking looked at multiple approaches to simplify its IT environment. In addition to adopting Google Cloud solutions, the company began working with a cloud data platform from Google Cloud partner Aiven to remove maintenance and management demands from its DevOps team. The company proved Aiven’s reliability after a year of testing as a secondary database.
Now, Aiven acts as the core database that stores transaction history and other customer data from more than two million customers. “Aiven was the best solution for us. It works great with Google Cloud via network peering and alleviates security challenges as our digital business grows,” says Schläpfer. “Now, we don’t worry about building or managing our own database — that is all outsourced to Aiven. It has had a very positive impact on our business.”
Digitalparking also works with Google Cloud partner Datadog for all of its logging and application monitoring (APM) needs. “We get a lot out of a relatively small integration effort with Datadog,” says Schläpfer. “We don’t have a big team, but with Datadog, we can efficiently observe our machines’ load, manage logging, and ensure high uptime with little to no management or maintenance burden.”
The combination of Google Cloud, Aiven, and Datadog has enabled Digitalparking to manage roughly 2,000 database queries per second without having a DevOps team.
“The beauty of the Google Cloud, Aiven, and Datadog partnership is that we can connect the systems we need once and then never have to worry about it,” says Schläpfer. “We can focus on scaling our business, meeting our customer needs, and keeping our systems secure.”
Gaining even greater customer trust
In the future, Digitalparking intends to continue refining its architecture to achieve the highest levels of security, scalability, and affordability.
“Our market requires us to be as dependable and affordable as possible,” says Schläpfer. “There are actions we can take to further reduce the total cost of ownership for parking lot operators while providing reliable and secure services to their customers. Google Cloud, Aiven, and Datadog help us optimize simplicity across our systems. They will play a primary role in our success going forward.”
Check out the Google Cloud Marketplaceto learn more about how partners like Aiven and Datadog can simplify your IT. Additionally, read Aiven’s article on its work with Digitalparkingfor further details on this great customer success story.
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