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Brainly Focuses on Expanding Its Learning Community Using AWS

2020

Using AWS, Brainly eliminates outages and reduces virtual server costs by 60 percent. Brainly is a peer-to-peer learning community and educational technology company. The Brainly platform runs on Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances and Spot Instances, with Amazon ElastiCache providing caching services, while Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service orchestrates microservices containers.

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Using AWS, we don’t have to build large teams around infrastructure and security management.”

Bill Salak

Chief Technology Officer, Brainly

A Community Sharing Knowledge

Brainly, founded in 2009, is the world’s largest online learning community, uniting more than 250 million students, parents, and experts in solving academic problems. Based in Kraków, Poland, and New York City, Brainly is available in more than 35 countries.

Making Sure Performance Scales

Building an online community from zero to millions would be challenging for a company that couldn’t maintain IT performance. For Brainly, this became a concern when the number of on-premises servers exceeded 100, and the small IT team struggled to keep on top of network and hardware issues.

Eliminates Outages

Brainly migrated to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to improve performance and take advantage of managed services. “By moving to AWS,” says Bill Salak, chief technology officer at Brainly, “we eliminated outages, increased uptime to 99.98 percent, and cut operational costs by 50 percent. We also freed up resources that can now be dedicated to development.”

Reduces Costs 60%

“When we migrated to AWS, we were focused on boosting performance,” says Salak. “Our relationship with AWS today is more strategic.” To maximize the strategic value of AWS, Brainly has AWS Enterprise Support and a Technical Account Manager (TAM) to guide its cloud journey.

Since joining the program, Brainly has had regular sessions with an assigned TAM, receiving optimization guidance and attending tailored deep-dive technology sessions. With these insights, Brainly uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Savings Plans, Reserved Instances, and Spot Instances—lowering its Amazon EC2 costs by up to 60 percent.

IT Team of 4 Doing the Work of 25

Brainly continually improves the performance of its IT environment using AWS, while keeping down administration costs. To avoid managing a cluster of caching servers, Brainly adopted Amazon ElastiCache, a fully managed in-memory data store.

To strip out the management expense of its Kubernetes environments, Brainly also migrated to Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS). Container orchestration now runs 2–3 times faster, increasing platform flexibility.

Says Salak, “It’s not just about saving a few hours here and there—it’s about existing as a company 2−3 years from now. Using AWS, we don’t have to build large teams around infrastructure and security management. That’s why our IT is managed by a team of 4 rather than a team of 25.”

Enables Continuous Innovation Through the Ecosystem

Brainly sees its journey with AWS continuing. “We look forward to working with AWS in the future because of its investment in new services,” says Salak. “Its track record in innovation is proven.”

Salak values how AWS offers multiple options for its solutions. “AWS doesn’t produce just one service per solution, such as business applications or analytics,” he says, “there are several services for each solution, so you can find one that best fits your organizational need.”

Moving forward, the company expects to reduce management workloads still further to focus on its core competency.

“The way the AWS ecosystem is evolving allows me to offload more administration,” comments Salak. “That gives us the ability to serve business and product stakeholders more effectively.”


About Brainly

Brainly is an online learning community and educational technology company. Members share knowledge, helping students and parents tackle homework questions.

Benefits of AWS

  • Eliminates outages
  • Reduces virtual server costs by 60 percent
  • Avoids the cost of building cloud expertise
  • Increases speed of orchestration services 2–3 times
  • Keeps IT team down to four people
  • Enables continuous innovation

AWS Services Used

Amazon EC2

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.

Learn more »

Amazon ElastiCache

Amazon ElastiCache allows you to seamlessly set up, run, and scale popular open-Source compatible in-memory data stores in the cloud. Build data-intensive apps or boost the performance of your existing databases by retrieving data from high throughput and low latency in-memory data stores.

Learn more »

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) is a fully managed Kubernetes service. Customers such as Intel, Snap, Intuit, GoDaddy, and Autodesk trust EKS to run their most sensitive and mission critical applications because of its security, reliability, and scalability.

Learn more »


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