AWS Case Study: Educations.com
Educations.com helps current and potential students research and compare higher education institutions around the world. One of the company’s main focuses is connecting students with study-abroad learning opportunities. Educations.com’s services are provided internationally through its Websites, which are managed by approximately 100 employees in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
Educations.com turned to Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2009 after experiencing downtime with its physical servers. The company initially began using Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to store static Web resources, such as images and CSS files. Then, the company started utilizing Amazon CloudFront to expedite the delivery of content to its non-European Website visitors. By the summer of 2010, Educations.com stopped using its physical production servers and began using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for all of its computing needs.
Why Amazon Web Services
Marcus Boström, Educations.com’s founder and CTO, says, “The main reasons for choosing AWS is scalability, reliability, and flexibility. Moving our Web resources to Amazon S3 was an easy decision, but moving the whole production platform was a leap of faith which turned out really well.”
In early 2011, Educations.com began using Amazon EC2 and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) to operate a search service for the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education. Shortly thereafter, the company migrated all of its Domain Name System (DNS) requirements to Amazon Route 53.
Amazon Route 53 is a DNS Web service that manages the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses associated with specific domain names. This service also handles the requests from Internet visitors to translate domain names into IP addresses so that the visitors can access Websites and Internet applications within AWS and in other locations on the Web.
Prior to utilizing Amazon Route 53, Educations.com reports that it struggled to find a DNS provider that was both economical and reliable. Today, Amazon Route 53 is saving the company approximately ninety percent every month compared to its previous DNS service costs. Marcus Boström explains that, “All Internet businesses need a high quality DNS service to ensure high availability and good performance for users connecting from all around the world. Amazon Route 53 is the most cost-effective, highly scalable, and highly available service we have seen on the market.”
Currently, Educations.com states it is managing 17 larger websites in different countries and languages, 67 smaller websites, 40 websites integrated with media partners and online magazines and 405 microsites covering specific topics such as how to become a doctor in Sweden. The company is able to operate this extensive network of Websites with the combined services of Amazon Route 53, eight Amazon EC2 instances, and a variety of Amazon S3 and Amazon RDS options.
Educations.com is also considering integrating Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES), Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS), Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS), and Amazon SimpleDB into its AWS infrastructure as the company continues to expand.
Marcus Boström says, “Building a truly redundant physical infrastructure is harder than it looks. By using the existing infrastructure of AWS, we can focus all our energy on building great applications which create value for our customers instead of patching servers in the server room.”
To learn more about how AWS can help your website needs, visit our Websites on Amazon Web Services details page: http://aws.amazon.com/websites/.