Currently, RedBubble has over 300,000 members and hosts over 5 million pieces of art and receives almost 2 million unique visitors per month
Initially, RedBubble was hosting all of its applications and data on its own servers. However, due to the company’s growth, the cost of continually acquiring new hardware was prohibitive. In response, RedBubble turned to Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is based on flexible pay-as-you-go pricing. In addition to the cost effectiveness, RedBubble CTO Paul Coia says, “We selected Amazon because of its reputation, service breadth, and third party support.”
RedBubble’s own image storage and processing application, called Imagehaus, is run on the cloud-based computing service Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and the Internet-based storage solution Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). Additionally, RedBubble is using Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), which provides block level storage volumes that are attached to Amazon EC2 instances. Within the Amazon EC2 instance, the Amazon EBS presents itself as a device.
The company accesses Amazon EC2 through Engine Yard’s AppCloud, which is a third-party platform-as-a-service for Rails applications such as Imagehaus. When a RedBubble member uploads an art file to the RedBubble website, the file is stored in Amazon S3 until it needs to be retrieved and recreated in the requested file format by Imagehaus, which is running on a cluster of Amazon EC2 instances. RedBubble uses Amazon EBS to store application code and database files, which exist in a master-slave MySQL replication.
RedBubble reports that its system is receiving approximately 5000 additional art files every day. The flexibility of AWS is helping the company to handle this impressive growth and explore new options for its Imagehaus application. Coia says, “The elasticity of the service means that spikes in load due to business activity are not causes for concern. Also, it allows a business to be more experimental as you only run servers for as long as you need.”
RedBubble has many ideas for utilizing other services within AWS in the future, including incorporating the message queue system Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) into an order fulfillment operation.
Coia says, “Amazon Web Services has revolutionized application delivery. As an application builder, I feel that it has enabled us to focus more on the creative aspect of solving business problems through software, and that is a great win for the industry. In terms of Amazon itself, I find it admirable that it has taken a quieter role about its work in this area, letting the quality and innovation of its endeavors do the speaking.”
To learn more, visit http://www.redbubble.com/ .
Added March 25, 2011