SundaySky employs a variety of Amazon Web Services (AWS) solutions throughout its architecture: Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Cloudfront, Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS), Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) and Amazon Mechanical Turk. SundaySky also uses Amazon Elastic Load Balancing to simplify its operational environment.
The SundaySky platform is made up of five main components:
The SundaySky front-end and media-management layers typically hold 45 platform instances on Amazon EC2 in the steady state, scaling up to as much as 150 instances during peak times and generating 2 million videos on a monthly basis. The front-end machines collect all relevant data for producing a video, store it in Amazon RDS, and log it in Amazon SQS.
The high-performance “worker” machines update the database and queue according to the progress of separate video-production stages. Each video generated by the SundaySky workers is uploaded to a CDN of the customer’s choice, often an Amazon S3 bucket configured with an Amazon CloudFront distribution.
“The CloudFront CDN has delivered excellent quality videos with minimal wait and buffering time across the U.S. and in Europe,” says SundaySky’s Yaniv Axen, noting that this is crucial for SundaySky customers, whose sales volumes are affected by the load times of their websites’ content.
Additionally, SundaySky uses the Amazon Mechanical Turk service for processing tasks such as validating tens of thousands of logical back-end decisions that are resolved according to pre-set business rules and customer data, or to collect underlying data for SundaySky’s quarterly, “State of the Video in E-Commerce” industry report, including locating videos in specific e-commerce sites in order to analyze video deployments that index well by search engines.
SundaySky began using AWS early in the life of the company. Transitioning to AWS within a matter of months allowed SundaySky to scale to tens of deployments quickly and with limited spending on system administration.
“Had we not used AWS, a large portion of the company’s attention would have been diverted toward operational issues: hardware procurement, scaling our datacenter, significantly expanding our operations team, et cetera,” says Axen.
Related to speed and ease of transition were the ability to scale quickly, handle spikes and deliver high-quality videos with minimal costs due to the AWS model that lets SundaySky pay-as-it-goes with no up-front fees. AWS supplies not only the CPU power (Amazon EC2), but also the storage and delivery platform (Amazon S3 and Amazon CloudFront), considerably simplifying platform deployment. “Had we had to make the decision today, we would choose AWS again,” says Axen.
SundaySky offers four key lessons learned from using AWS:
“SundaySky is all about scalability,” says Axen. “AWS enables us to meet our mission to deploy product videos throughout the entire catalogs of top-tier websites.” Axen explains that SundaySky originally chose Amazon EC2 because it was the only solution that allowed the company to manage occasional spikes caused by the large batches SundaySky frequently faces due to the nature of its solution. “We found ourselves using more and more Amazon services,” says Axen. “Every newly introduced service proved to be as scalable, functional and cost-effective as the first ones that attracted us. These complementary services work together in perfect harmony.”
To learn more, visit http://www.sundaysky.com/ .