Steve Jones, the Director of Engineering at Transaction Wireless, explains how the company is using AWS to provide security and rapid scalability to its clients:
Briefly tell us about your business.
With our cloud-based digital gift card platform, we help retailers transform their traditional gift card business to engage with the ever-changing lives of digital consumers via mobile, social, and online storefronts and channels.
AWS played an integral role in enabling Transaction Wireless to achieve its initial Payment Card Industry (PCI) Level 1 compliance, making us one of the first digital gift card providers to meet this standard, which is a part of the latest industry compliance requirements that incorporates cloud-based platforms. Obtaining PCI Level 1 compliance strengthens our commitment to ensuring the highest level of data security for our customers, which is a key differentiator for us.
Due to the seasonal nature of retail, our customers require a digital gifting platform that is not only highly secure but provides 365/24/7 uptime and rapid scalability during peak times. By utilizing AWS to support our cloud-based digital gift card platform, we are able to realize key efficiencies.
How have you incorporated Amazon Web Services as part of your architecture? What services are you using and how?
Transaction Wireless uses AWS almost exclusively. All machines in the AWS cloud are small and medium Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. We also use the following:
What programming languages and/or tools did you use to build this solution?
We started with AWS before many of the new tools were built and have developed our own system of tools based on the command-line Java tools to run the web services. We use a series of Make files and Bash shell scripts to perform the various functions such as starting up, shutting down and creating snapshots of the running machine instances that make up the system.
The Transaction Wireless platform was designed from the ground up to run 99% on AWS. We maintain one additional machine within a secure co-location which we have physical access to in order to run some proprietary hardware.
Why did you decide to use AWS?
We chose AWS because it accommodates rapid scalability during peak season and off season which allows Transaction Wireless to run highly efficiently.
How has AWS helped your business?
We appreciate the fact that we have a vast amount of server resources at our finger tips. AWS not only saves us money but makes the concept of having to maintain our own servers in a data-center a thing of the past.
AWS is enabling us to power some of the most recognized brands in retail such as AMC Entertainment, American Eagle Outfitters, Applebee’s, Bass Pro Shops, California Pizza Kitchen, Cracker Barrel, Finish Line, O.co, SpaFinder and many more.
Can you share any metrics on your usage of AWS to date?
We are running 18 instances with 3 clusters each with 6 machines. The clusters are:
Have you learned any valuable lessons during this development process that you’d like to pass on to other developers?
We learned that using AWS cloud not only gives us the flexibility to maintain control of our infrastructure costs, but gives us access to almost unlimited capacity as the system grows.
Do you have any future plans to incorporate other AWS solutions?
We plan on adding the following services from AWS:
To learn more, visit http://www.transactionwireless.com/ .
Added December 21, 2011