AWS Case Study: Worldreader
Worldreader is a US and European non-profit organization whose mission is to make digital books available to children in Africa. The organization has provided 100,000 e-books on Amazon Kindles, and the life-changing, powerful ideas contained within them, to 1,000 children in Ghana, Kenya, and Rwanda. As a result, these children are reading more, reading better, and improving their communities. Now with the support of FC Barcelona, Worldreader wants to give 1 million e-books to kids in Africa.
Realizing that there were children in parts of Africa that never had access to books, Worldreader made it their mission to improve the lives of kids by revolutionizing education through digital technology. Since wireless networks were already available in some of the most remote parts of the country, Worldreader set out to deliver a portable library made available on Kindle E-readers to children in Africa.
Worldreader had already provided 100,000 e-books to 1,000 children when it set a new goal: to raise enough funding by December 31, 2012 to send one million e-books to children in Africa.
To drive awareness to its goal, Worldreader partnered with internationally acclaimed soccer team FC Barcelona. With 31 million “likes” and 781,000 followers on Facebook as well as 5 million Twitter followers, Worldreader knew that it was going to need a website that could scale to handle the increase in website visits when launched.
“When we were a few weeks away from launching our campaign with FC Barcelona, we realized that if FC Barcelona ramped up their marketing power to full blast, our website would probably crash," said David Risher, CEO and Co-Founder, Worldreader. "We could not risk losing donations, which are the lifeblood of any non-profit. We turned to Amazon Web Services (AWS) because we wanted a strictly pay-as-you-go solution so that our donors’ money goes towards providing books to children, and not to infrastructure.”
Why Amazon Web Services
Planning a multi-strategy marketing campaign, Worldreader knew the traffic on its sites would increase though it could not precisely forecast that growth. This resulted in two problems: a) getting on a production platform that can scale; and b) doing so in mere days while allowing testing without downtime. Therefore, Worldreader sought help through AWS partner, Transcend Computing, Inc., whose inherent capabilities were in ‘cloudifying’ applications.
Transcend, through its ability to generate AWS CloudFormation templates, quickly allowed automated generation, testing and tuning of Worldreader’s cloud architecture. Using AWS CloudFormation and the services it supports in AWS, Transcend was able to generate the templates necessary to bring Worldreader’s sites to life on AWS in merely three days while allowing continuous content editing and site testing with zero production downtime.
Transcend generated AWS CloudFormation templates that automate the creation and management of multiple auto scaled sites with load balancing between. The templates allow tuning of dynamically allocated AWS resources (e.g., compute instances and database horsepower) as necessary to handle site traffic loading. The system automatically scales down AWS resource usage when traffic subsides to reduce costs.
Because Worldreader could not predict future website traffic, the scalable, on-demand cloud services provided by AWS was the perfect remedy. AS well, the scalability of the AWS cloud combined with the pay-as-you-go model simultaneously helps minimize costs while maintaining optimal performance. “We wanted a solution that would seamlessly scale up when needed and scale back down so we could handle volume without paying for what we didn’t need,” said Risher.
Through Transcend, the migration team delivered the AWS solution in days, precisely as Worldreader needed. This included delivering the ability to rapidly react to new marketing content with high availability, maximum performance, cost containment, and providing the best user experience without breaking the bank. “Worldreader’s decision to move to the cloud not only shortened their time to market significantly,” said Jeff Schneider, CEO and Founder of Transcend, “but they also saved valuable dollars to put towards their cause and not in costly infrastructure or the manpower required to run it.”