AWS Case Study: MileSplit
MileSplit’s network of websites offers coverage of high school and college-level cross country, track and field, and road racing events in the United States and Canada. The company was created in 2001 by then college-student Jason Byrne, now MileSplit’s CEO. Since its inception, MileSplit has developed a large following of users who conducted more than 144 million page views in 2010, which included a peak of 1.1 million page views during a single day in October.
MileSplit’s corporate headquarters are in Longwood, Florida, but the company has employees and contractors working remotely all across the United States and Canada to input sporting event results and provide traditional sports news coverage, such as articles, photos, and video. MileSplit prides itself on being a cloud-based company because it uses cloud technology for all of its interactions with its employees and contractors as well as all of its other IT needs.
Before becoming a predominately cloud-based company, MileSplit experienced the difficulty of outgrowing a more traditional infrastructure. Due to the increasing popularity of its network of websites, the company encountered downtime on its third-party rented servers during heavy traffic periods. In response, MileSplit hired cloud computing consultant Shlomo Swidler to help the company migrate all of its server and storage needs entirely to Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Why Amazon Web Services
CEO Byrne explains, “I started wading into AWS slowly but surely, starting with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). The further I got in and the more I read, the more I liked it. I love the ability to fire up new instances to scale really easily or the ability to totally rebuild and restore a failed server in minutes.”
MileSplit is using Amazon S3 for static content storage, as well as Reduced Redundancy Storage (RRS) within Amazon S3 to store non-critical data, such as thumbnail files. Presently, the company is running four Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances for application, cache, search, and database purposes. The company’s persistent storage and RAID utilize Amazon Elastic Block Storage (Amazon EBS), while Amazon SimpleDB is used for log storage. Additionally, Amazon CloudFront provides prompt content delivery to MileSplit’s users.
The diagram below shows MileSplit’s infrastructure utilizing AWS. The company built this cloud-based solution using PHP and plans to begin using the AWS SDK for PHP in the near future.
The company is examining the possibility of expanding its existing Amazon SimpleDB usage beyond log storage to include other types of data, and has also begun logging errors in SimpleDB as a means to review recent errors and work proactively to resolve bugs. Byrne adds, “SimpleDB has been great for customer support because when [customers] email us about what happened, we can quickly search for it and find the specific errors they threw and know what they were trying to do...since users aren't typically very descriptive about their problems.”
Although MileSplit is currently using another cloud-based email system, it is also interested in future uses for Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES).
MileSplit is looking forward to further corporate growth and increased popularity with AWS as an integral part of its network of websites. Byrne says, “AWS has allowed us to focus on our growing site and improving our product, rather than worrying about how we would keep up with that growth. It has also forced us to implement better policies and a more robust network architecture. I sleep better at night now.”
To learn more about how AWS can help your web application needs, visit our Web Applications details page: http://aws.amazon.com/web-mobile-social.