How have you incorporated Amazon Web Services as part of your architecture? What services are you using and how?
We use AWS intensely. Because we crawl and index billions of documents, our needs are incredibly elastic. It's incredibly useful to have something like AWS by our side. We use Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Identity and Access Management (Amazon IAM).
What programming languages and/or tools did you use to build this solution?
For the most part, we use the command line tools triggered by various deployscripts. Our infrastructure is a mix of Python and Java.
Why did you decide to use AWS?
The elasticity: We're an interesting startup breed because we have almost always used an elastic cloud provider (either Rackspace or AWS).
How has AWS helped your business?
Here's a great example of why Amazon is great for us: When a user signs up, we need to index all their data from the past few years in the first few hours of usage. Going forward, we only need to index new data that comes in. So, we have a massive job that we need to perform once per user index. Without AWS, we'd have to pre-calculate and pay a fixed cost for these servers. With Amazon EC2, we simply boot up servers as needed, and bring them down when we're done with the heavy job.
Can you share any metrics on your usage of AWS to date?
We have over 170 instances running at a given time.
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Added July 1, 2011