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Landmrk & Serverless: innovation nirvana

chrisquinnr profile image ⚡️Chris Quinn ・3 min read

Big Beat Campaign, powered by Landmrk
The Landmrk Platform is our battle-tested, ultra-scalable platform for deploying web based, location-focussed digital experiences. During a recent campaign, our API gateway handled half a million requests in the space of 3 minutes with average CPU usage only touching 8% across a very lean autoscaling group. Landmrk campaigns typically experience huge traffic spikes in very short timeframes as our clients release new content, previously unseen artwork and tracks and compelling digital content. Fans are hyper-engaged, and we typically see high session lengths, low bounce rates and repeated engagements. Using a web-based campaign means nothing to install and no insidious permissions requests or continuous updates.

Our platform is ultra-efficient, but with this efficiency comes the need to carefully steward the continued development, innovation and maintenance of this frankly awesome product. Adding new features rightly takes careful consideration, specification and delivery with full test suites and documentation - all of which takes a reasonable amount of time.

Landmrk are, first and foremost about innovation, using cutting edge web technologies to deliver those compelling experiences that keep users coming back. So, my challenge as CTO is how to balance the stewardship of the platform versus our need to innovate & delight.

I've recently been using the Serverless framework (uppercase for the framework, lowercase for the concept) to generate quick, one-shot backend services that offload discrete campaign logic to completely isolated environments. Our stack is based on AWS and being able to use a node runtime for Lambda services means we have the wealth and breadth of the npm registry to draw from in conjuring creative ways to work with location data & more.

Our recent campaign with Big Beat used a serverless function that took the user's location and calculated the distance from the user to the current position of the International space station, as well as the weather at their location - all of which we stamped onto a bespoke digital collectible the user could download and share.

Naturally, none of this functionality would have been possible on-platform without significant time & investment. However, by mixing the flexibility of serverless endpoints with the robust, deterministic capabilities of the Landmrk platform, we were able to reach innovation nirvana with a digital collectible product that expanded a campaign's capabilities without compromising the platform codebase in any way.

One concern about serverless functions is the so-called "cold start" problem wherein lambda functions may need time to "spin up" on first execution. However, given the nature of Landmrk campaigns (rapid, intense surges in traffic) once an instance is active it can remain so for around an hour afterwards, wherein the execution time can begin immediately, which suits us just fine. We are also able to leverage AWS provisioned concurrency options, which keep a certain number of instance "ready-to-go" to avoid this issue entirely.

With the Landmrk platform and the Serverless framework at our side I'm excited at the possibility of bringing even bigger and bolder web campaigns to fans around the world.

If you'd like to know more about what we get up to at Landmrk, check out our website below, or reach out to us on Twitter or Linked In.

I'm Chris Quinn, CTO of Landmrk and you can catch up with me @chrisquinnr on Twitter or ping a note to hello@landmrk.it.

https://landmrk.it
https://serverless.com

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