Brandfolder is a digital asset management platform that helps customers like Angi, Ibotta, Stripe, and more than 5,000 other companies organize, store and distribute their brand’s assets. In a single, visually elegant, secure location, anything from logos and color palettes to images, ads, and videos can be uploaded, edited, and accessed instantly, from anywhere.
Industry: Digital asset management
Location: Denver, CO
Customer since: 2018
One of Brandfolder's key features for fast content dissemination is their Smart CDN, which allows users to implement content changes across their websites instantly, convert file formats on the fly, and manage asset usage rights automatically. Fastly provides the backbone for that service, serving and purging content reliably and quickly.
Originally, Brandfolder did their own eager image transformations: when a file was ingested, they would try to anticipate the size of images needed and create a few different renditions. Doing eager transformations can potentially speed up request response times, but it increases ingest time, leaving customers refreshing impatiently, waiting for their image.
Image Optimizer supports real-time asset management while cutting costs
Offloading image transformation to Fastly's edge cloud platform eliminated the delay at ingestion by converting images on demand instead. Now 95% of JPEG and PNG images are processed in fewer than 5 seconds—including full image optimization, resizing overlays, and thumbnail creation. On the ground, that means that a photographer covering a live event can upload images and make them available to customers almost instantly. Through Brandfolder's Smart CDN, users can start editing those images via Fastly's Image Optimization API right away. And in addition to reduced latency, shifting image transformation to Fastly helps Brandfolder save on storage costs.
“Our customers are looking for speed-- from ingesting images to distributing them to their users. Using [Image Optimizer] has been fantastic for significantly reducing ingest times.” Brett Nekolny, Director of Engineering
Purging drives efficiencies, shielding reduces costs
A key Brandfolder feature that enables easier content management is adding watermarks, which protect digital assets from being copied or improperly used. Before adopting Fastly’s Image Optimizer, each image was watermarked by Brandfolder individually and stored until it needed to be served. Now, watermark generation is on-demand. A client can upload a new watermark, apply changes across all or any subset of their assets, and then see the change instantly. The watermarking feature also depends on Fastly's surrogate key purge, which allows Brandfolder to issue a purge for a specific collection and immediately distribute the updated content across multiple servers, so the latest version is always correctly served.
As their architecture evolves, Brandfolder continues to leverage Fastly data through its integration with Datadog for enhanced visibility into metrics and efficient use of shielding. Brandfolder uses both Google Cloud and AWS, so optimizing shielding based on proximity to buckets enhances performance and keeps costs down. In particular, because of Fastly's partnership with Google, traffic routed through Google Cloud gets a 50% egress cost discount—something Brandfolder has been glad to take advantage of.
"What we're ultimately talking about when we talk about Fastly is scale. Enabling our clients to go in and perform operations on their content—at the edge and instantaneously—is a real game changer. Fastly has given us huge efficiency gains in that regard." Brett Nekolny, Director of Engineering
Dev tools accelerate problem solving
As Brandfolder developers keep rolling out upgrades and new features, they've used Fastly developer tools and integrations to facilitate production. For example, all new Brandfolder services are automatically going through Terraform. Developers can deploy changes in a staging environment, test that they're behaving as expected, then migrate them into production in a very consistent way.
"Fastly's Terraform provider has allowed us to have a very consistent rollout, testing changes in staging and making sure that's consistently applied to production. We're leaning on that heavily.” Brett Nekolny, Director of Engineering
Fastly developer tools also inspired a solution for one of Brandfolder's high-demand features. The company was looking to update their thumbnailing process, which includes generating thumbnails for all the assets in their system, so users have a visually intuitive means of finding or organizing content. As with other content, Brandfolder was generating these eagerly, which created bottlenecks and hindered scalability.
Rearchitecting the thumbnailing service turned out to be a bigger project than anticipated. Brandfolder used Fastly Fiddle, a tool for experimenting with code right on the Fastly platform, without setting up a server or impacting production service, to work out potential problems on a smaller scale. Using Fastly Fiddle, they could see how potential solutions would perform and try out solution recipes from Fastly's library of ready-made code samples to cut and paste or customize. Their eventual streamlined solution saves users a substantial amount of time.
"Fastly Fiddle has been invaluable for proof-of-concepting ideas and reasoning through the design process. And the Fastly recipes gave us a basis for a preflighting patterns that let us completely deprecate an intermediary service—basically cutting out multiple steps and still giving us control over details at the edge. It's been a huge benefit." Brett Nekolny, Director of Engineering
Boosting performance at the edge
With the rollout of the next version of their Smart CDN, Brandfolder is depending more and more on Fastly to optimize their user experience. Summing up their experience with Fastly, Brandfolder Principal Engineer Stew Blandford says, “Fastly has been a fantastic resource to lean on, whether we’ve got a hard problem, or some funky VCL code we’ve written, or something not working as expected. We’re still looking at how we can level up and replace some of our current functionality with Fastly.”
"Fastly has offered us a lot of support, from dev tooling recipes and documentation to the actual engineers. They've been very generous in offering time to help us work through roadblocks, so we aren't spinning our wheels for too long on one problem." Stew Blandford, Principal Engineer
“What’s nice about the Fastly infrastructure is once we had integrated Image Optimizations and our preflighting patterns, we could just lean on all the benefits without having to do any real additional work." Stew Blandford
"We can apply watermarks to 100% of our content instantaneously using Fastly. Previously, we would have had to reprocess our content to impose a watermark. Since our clients have millions of assets, that instant control with Fastly is a game-changer that helps us scale with our customers." Brett Nekolny
Director of Engineering