Summer Startups: GoSquared
AWS is a pay-as-you-use mix of tools and services that help businesses of all sizes build innovative products. Over the summer months, we’d like to share a few stories from startups around the world: what are they working on and how they are using the cloud to get things done. Today, we’re profiling GoSquared.
GoSquared is a real-time web analytics platform, built entirely on AWS, enabling businesses to improve and adapt their online presence quickly. The real-time metrics allow rapid website optimisation through buyer conversion, signups, engagement or other measurements important to a site.
The company was founded in 2006 by three 15 year old school friends, James Gill, Geoff Wagstaff and James Taylor and has been rolling on AWS since 2009. It is now funded and run out of the legendary White Bear Yard offices in Clarkenwell, London.
I talked to Geoff, GoSquared CTO, about their use of AWS. In his own words:
“Initially running on a low budget with experimental technology, we needed flexibility not only for our compute resources but for billing, so that we could develop our system without worrying about over or under provisioning resources and expenses. It was clear we needed the cloud.”
The analytics platform runs on a wide range of AWS services. EC2 is the workhorse for compute resources, including web, processing, development, application, database and cache servers. The GoSquared architecture is configured for high availability with fault tolerance and cost-effective vertical and horizontal scaling. The site uses Elastic Load Balancing and the AWS Auto Scaling service with CloudWatch to distribute workloads and drive down costs. The team also use CloudFront to deliver low latency assets, including tracking code for customer websites. A few other details that make GoSquared interesting:
A really nice architectural feature of the GoSquared platform is the integration of Spot Instances. For their data analysis and tracking platform, GoSquared balance incoming data across a collection of EC2 instances. Some of those instances are under Auto Scaling control, which means they automatically scale up and down based on demand, but the remainder are provisioned as Spot Instances. A low bid price ensures that costs stay down, and a collection of CloudWatch metrics and alarms gracefully replace terminated Spot Instances to ensure availability should the EC2 spot price exceed the bid price.
The small team (which has just hired employee #4!) have done a great job in taking advantage of the AWS services to build a robust, available, scalable, joyful product and we couldn’t be happier to help GoSquared as it continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
“The overall flexibility and diversity of the AWS platform has been an intrinsic ingredient to the agility of our technology and business, and has lowered barriers to entry in our market. Before AWS, the kind of infrastructure required to run a real-time web analytics operation was largely only available to highly skilled datacenter technicians managing their own physical hardware, accounting for all the overheads associated with that. By attacking this problem, AWS has brought infrastructure right to the fingertips of everyone.”, says Geoff, GoSquared CTO.
Join us in London!
We’re hosting an evening meetup in Shoreditch on 12th July for startups and entrepreneurs. The AWS team will be joined by GoSquared and the fine folks of Mendeley to discuss how they’re using the cloud to build their businesses. Join us! The event is free, but you’ll need to register to attend.
AWS Start-up Challenge
We’re getting close to launching our yearly contest. Sign up to get notified the second we open it up for submissions.