SpareFoot.com helps self-storage facilities market their extra space, and helps consumers make educated decisions on which storage unit is best for their needs. Andrew Deagman, System Administrator for SpareFoot, says, “Our expertise is creating web apps that facilitate the relationship between storage facilities and storage consumers.” The company is located in downtown Austin, TX, and has grown to 31 full-time employees.
Deagman explains what SpareFoot was looking for when they researched AWS: “We needed help managing a network of consumer-facing sites, along with pricing and availability information for 6,000 storage facilities, keeping in mind these numbers are constantly increasing.”
Deagman notes, “We successfully migrated our entire architecture from Rackspace to AWS. The tools that make up AWS help ensure our application is redundant. Because everything’s well integrated, all the services work seamlessly together.” SpareFoot now uses several AWS products to build a stable system for their applications:
Deagman adds, “We use Puppet configuration management and the AWS administration console. Our application runs off of the LAMP stack.” The architecture is represented in the following diagram:
During the development process, Deagman learned a couple of valuable lessons. He says, “With a cloud-based server, you first have to build redundancies in your system and learn to expect failure. Second, when something is this much easier to deploy and maintain, you have more time to focus on the things that matter, like improving performance and optimizing the application.”
The biggest business problem SpareFoot solved through use of AWS was improving stability. Deagman says, “AWS allowed us to create a stable and redundant system, so our applications are more reliable and less time is spent on server maintenance.” Using ELB, SpareFoot was also able to drastically reduce the number of instances running.
Other benefits include a 30 percent reduction in overall sysadmin man hours by greatly reducing time spent maintaining servers. Deagman explains, “We spend less time managing the processes that Amazon RDS and Amazon CloudWatch now handle. And because we have on-demand storage capacity to support the growth of internal data and server load from incoming traffic, there’s less time spent worrying about the size of our application.”
Finally, says Deagman, “Having all these systems in the cloud allowed for mobility and flexibility for sysadmins. The ability to work from home, or from across the world, means a higher job satisfaction for our administrators.”
To learn more, visit http://www.sparefoot.com/ .
Added March 5, 2012