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BetterMe Gets in Shape for Expansion with AWS

2020

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The key reason to choose AWS was autoscaling. We’re growing fast and it was really hard to manage it before.”

Vitalii Malakhovskyi
Chief Technology Officer, BetterMe

BetterMe offers a suite of mobile apps to help people improve their fitness, lose weight, and adopt a healthier lifestyle. The apps provide users with an AI-based workout program and meal plans based on weight and fitness goals, food preferences, and dietary restrictions. BetterMe has experienced rapid growth since March 2020 after COVID-19 forced the closure of gyms and fitness centers and increased demand for health and fitness apps. The company’s apps have been downloaded more than 85 million times since launch and regularly scores high customer reviews in the Apple and Google app stores.

Kyiv-based BetterMe has a strong start-up and developer-led culture. CEO and co-founder Victoria Repa's motto is: “We fail cheap and fast, we test and learn, and speed is everything.” That belief has been central to the swift growth of the BetterMe business and its team. Working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) means the company can offer its developers and engineers the tools and freedom to pursue that license to innovate.

The Migration to AWS

All its production workloads are already on AWS and BetterMe plans to go all-in by the end of 2020. The company had three main goals in moving to AWS. First, it needed to improve stability after suffering downtime with its previous provider. BetterMe systems have to respond to spikes in demand. Like gym memberships, the apps have a surge in sign-ups in early January. At its busiest the company would use 200 servers running at full capacity; in more typical times it only needed 12. Demand was affected by other seasonal and promotional changes that varied from region to region and dealing with the scaling was a constant headache. 

Vitalii Malakhovskyi, chief technology officer at BetterMe, said: “Autoscaling was the key reason to choose AWS. We’re growing fast and it was becoming increasingly hard to manage it before using other cloud providers.” Second, BetterMe needed to reduce costs. The company credits AWS billing and close resource monitoring via Amazon CloudWatch coupled with auto-scaling on Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) for a 30 percent reduction in expenditure compared to its previous cloud provider. 

The migration was expected to take between six months and a year. In reality BetterMe made the move in a matter of weeks. And using AWS Database Migration Service, the team shifted the high-load website with zero downtime. Finally, as an expanding global company, BetterMe needed the ability to scale and add resources to any new region and respond to changing demands instantly. AWS CloudFormation means new environments can now be set up in hours rather than days with infrastructure as code. Using Amazon CloudFront as its content delivery network has meant big reductions in download times for BetterMe’s customers. On Wi-Fi there has been a 79 percent reduction in image download times across all countries. In China waiting times fell from 10.96 seconds to just 1.45 seconds. 

The company is currently launching localized services in China. Because it qualifies as a medical advice provider, this requires complex licensing and certification to prove compliance with Chinese data laws. However, the company hasn’t had to make any significant changes to its AWS infrastructure or architecture, which is automated by Amazon CloudFormation and Amazon EKS stacks.

Easier Management and Benefits for Developers

The move to Amazon EKS has ended management headaches and time spent on scaling and stress-testing infrastructure. Arseniy Zinchenko, cloud infrastructure engineer at BetterMe, says: “For developers, it is much easier to develop and manage applications on AWS. We can easily stand up infrastructure, make significant changes and test the impact on our software all in one place.” He also credited AWS documentation for providing technical clarity for his team of developers.

Malakhovskyi added that AWS support has made life much easier while also saving the company money. AWS billing and reserved instances have helped further reduce operational costs. He adds: “AWS business support and field sales support is really professional. We get replies very quickly—and in an emergency really, really quickly. We’ve had lots of tips on building better solutions and making better use of their services. AWS architects always help us find the most cost-effective solutions.”


About BetterMe

BetterMe is a mobile app for improving users fitness, diet and lifestyle. It has experienced rapid growth since March 2020 when COVID-19 forced the closure of gyms and fitness centers. The company has a strong start-up and developer-led culture.

Benefits of AWS

  • Agility & Performance
  • Cost Optimization & Savings
  • Availability
  • Innovation

AWS Services Used

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) gives you the flexibility to start, run, and scale Kubernetes applications in the AWS cloud or on-premises. 

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Amazon CloudWatch

Amazon CloudWatch is a monitoring and observability service built for DevOps engineers, developers, site reliability engineers (SREs), and IT managers. 

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Amazon CloudFront

Amazon CloudFront is a fast content delivery network (CDN) service that securely delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to customers globally with low latency, high transfer speeds, all within a developer-friendly environment.

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