Xerox Global Services (XGS) provides software solutions for document management for Xerox customers. directthought had been building custom solutions for them for several years when Amazon S3 was launched. From that point, directthought worked with Xerox to build a scalable document processing solution that leveraged the cost effective storage of Amazon S3 and the scalable compute resources of Amazon EC2. This project allowed XGS to process documents from a variety of customers in a fraction of the time they used to take, and without the capital investment that their own hosted solution would have required.
“We brought in directthought to provide specific expertise with AWS and to help jump start our project,” states Dr. Rob Rolleston, Technical Manager, Xerox Innovation Group. “They came in with an established base of knowledge in cloud/grid/AWS and were able to help us quickly prove a concept. At the end of the project they helped us understand and learn what we had so we could take it from there.” Leveraging this experience, senior directthought engineer, David Kavanagh wrote an article for Amazon’s Developer site entitled, “Automated Server Pool Management in Java”.
NuSkin Inc. is involved in a variety of businesses, one of which was the PhotoMax.com web site. In 2007, it became obvious that the site wasn’t scaling well. They spent a lot of time and money managing their internal data center and trying to keep several servers that managed the bulk of the workload up and running. Having heard of Amazon Web Services and seen the promise it held, directthought was contacted to help NuSkin design a new version of their web application that could best leverage AWS. directthought was involved in the early design meetings where we were able to help them come up with a solution that leveraged both the cost effective storage of Amazon S3 and the on-demand compute power in Amazon EC2.
“directthought was instrumental in our successful implementation of AWS – specifically S3 and EC2,” says Ryan Newman, Director of Marketing Technologies at NuSkin Enterprises. “Their experienced consultants had a code base we were able to build from and brought our internal team up to speed in a very short period of time. In addition, they made every effort to ensure our staff had the knowledge and skill set necessary to support the system after our consulting relationship was complete.”
The new application, re-branded as MaxVault.com, uses Amazon EC2 instances to proxy data to and from Amazon S3. The original digital files are stored in Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2 is used to provide on-demand scaled versions of those files for their own application and to satisfy requests from their fulfillment partners. While they kept much of the application in their own data center, the heavy lifting was moved into the cloud, allowing them to scale rapidly as demand grows.
These are just two examples which have made directthought believers in Amazon Web Services. Directthought has supported the AWS community by continued involvement in open source. Their support for the popular Java AWS client library (typica) and EC2 scaling solution (lifeguard) demonstrate not only a belief in the technology, but a commitment to helping others leverage that technology. directthought also has an advanced Amazon EC2 management iPhone application available, called directEC2, which is constantly being improved to provided a richer set of management capabilities. directthought is based in Rochester, NY.