Rangespan is a one-year-old ecommerce startup based in London. The company has developed a hosted supply chain service that makes it easy for retailers to offer as many as millions of additional products. Rangespan sources suppliers and inventory for retailers who wish to expand their selection; integrate new categories of products; and experiment with products, manufacturers, and mix—all at a minimum cost.
In order to grow, Rangespan wanted the ability to quickly experiment with technologies, services, and architectures. They also wanted the peace of mind that comes with not having to manage physical resources. To give a sense of scale, Rangespan's catalogue currently has 10 Million records, in a 44 GB collection, and supports more than 2,000 operations per second. Order volumes increase substantially during the holidays necessitating elasticity and the growth of the business requires planning for an order of magnitude growth in catalogue-size and two orders of magnitude (or more) growth in order volume.
Christian Ricci, CTO at Rangespan, says, “Amazon Web Services [AWS] is both simple to integrate and cost effective. Combined, these benefits allow us to experiment with technologies, services, and architectures just as soon as we think of them."
The entire Rangespan business is completely cloud-based. Rangespan uses the following products from AWS: Amazon EC2, Amazon EBS with snapshots, Amazon ELB, Amazon RDS, Amazon S3, Amazon EMR, Amazon SES, Amazon SQS, and Amazon IAM.
Christian notes, “We are distributed across three availability zones with two web servers, one scheduled job server, a redundant three-host MongoDB configuration, RDS-MySQL (includes redundancy), and EMR hosts that we launch as necessary. We use Amazon EMR for ad-hoc web crawling, parsing data from crawled materials, and for applications leveraging Natural Language Processing [NLP] and Machine Learning [ML] techniques to build and validate our product catalogue.”
Figure 1: Rangespan infrastructure
The Rangespan platform leverages the following technologies:
The Rangespan team has been happy with the results so far. Christian Ricci comments, “We have elected to use AWS so that we can focus on features that add value to the business. The peace of mind and time saved for invention is very valuable. Month over month, growth in traffic and transactions is in the double-digits.”
Through the development process, the team has learned some valuable lessons:
Christian Ricci, CTO describes how Rangespan will use AWS products over the next 12 months: “I expect to expand and further automate our use of Amazon EMR, introduce new hosts for scalability and redundancy using Amazon EC2, and increase the capacity of our Amazon RDS. I may be scaling up our MongoDB instances for Amazon EC2 as well, adding a data warehouse, and migrating some or all of the platform to a new geography. We’re also contemplating use of Amazon ElastiCache.”
"The reliability and scalability of AWS provide peace-of-mind, allowing us to focus on invention, not operations," concludes Christian.
To learn more, visit http://rangespan.com/ .
Added June 5, 2012