MeinProf (My Professor) started in 2005 as a side project for five German students and quickly became one of the largest online student communities in Germany. On MeinProf, students can rate and discuss their courses, thus recommending lectures and universities to their fellow students.
Alexander Pannhorst, one of the founders, recalls the beginning: “It was the first major website in Germany built with the web framework Ruby on Rails. At first, we used to host the site by ourselves at the university. But with the growing traffic and load, we quickly had to consider a more flexible and scalable solution.” Heavy newspaper and TV coverage thanks to its controversial nature caused some major traffic peaks. Because of the inflexible hosting, MeinProf started losing active and potential users and realized that they needed a much more flexible and scalable solution. So they turned to Peritor, who implemented a load-balanced EC2 cluster for coping with peak traffic.
“In the beginning we used EC2 as a separate cluster to handle extra load that our own system couldn’t handle. This solved our peak traffic problem and allowed us to start more application servers in a matter of minutes”, explains Alexander Pannhorst. “With the introduction of reserved instances we realized that we can move our complete infrastructure to EC2 and not only gain the ability to scale up and down but also to save costs.”
Peritor created a self-healing and self-scaling cluster for this purpose that now serves all of the MeinProf applications and lowers costs with higher reliability and scalability.
Another success story is Dawanda.com, an online marketplace for artists and small businesses where those who love uniqueness meet people with a passion to create. Available in France, the UK, and Germany, the site is also a social networking site for buyers and sellers of hand-made goods. At Dawanda.com sellers of hand-made goods upload many thousands of product pictures per day. As those pictures are the most compelling reason to buy a product, there are high requirements on the availability and scalability of the storage engine that holds and distributes this data. Further, being a cost dependent start-up, Dawanda.com needed the storage solution to be inexpensive.
Cases like this are the reason why Peritor strongly believes in the benefits of the
Amazon Cloud and accompanying Web Services as an inexpensive and effective
scaling platform. “We use AWS to help our clients to perform better and more
flexible than before at even lower costs. Many start-ups wouldn’t even be able to
implement their product without AWS and our support, as they do not have big
teams and budgets. Interestingly their solutions tend to be more scalable and
fault-tolerant than many enterprise solutions we have seen” says Thomas
Metschke, VP Marketing & Sales at Peritor.
Peritor is based in Berlin, Germany, and consults clients all over Europe. To learn more, go to http://www.peritor.com/ .
(Published July 2009)