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Elite Delivers Video Races to Cyclists Worldwide Using Amazon CloudFront

2021

As a niche company focused on serving avid cyclists, Elite must always be able to deliver its training videos to hundreds of thousands of global users efficiently. Because its customers use training videos primarily during the winter, when indoor roller trainers replace outdoor mileage, the company is accustomed to seasonal fluctuations in its web traffic. But the COVID-19 pandemic, which confined cyclists to their homes, unexpectedly increased traffic year-round and presented Elite with a scaling challenge. The company suddenly needed the capacity to collect and analyze increasingly large volumes of customer data while keeping latency—and costs—low.

To build a solution, Elite turned to Amazon Web Services (AWS). Since 2012, Elite has been working with zero12, a VAR Group company and an AWS Partner, on creating a robust digital system. Using a suite of AWS services, Elite reinvigorated its business model—especially in response to the recent unpredictability of its online traffic—adding innovative new choices for its users while lowering costs.

Male cyclist uses an Elite Suito interactive indoor bike trainer.
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The effort we invested in the design of a scalable infrastructure paid off with a transparent and smooth response to a dramatic increase in traffic.

Marco Orsenigo
Information Technology Manager, Elite

Using Data to Create Opportunities

A small Italian company well known in the cycling community, Elite sells cycling products and offers online training courses. In an effort to stay engaged with its users, the company hosts an online forum for its members to record and upload videos of their routes, which they can share with each other for free. With the help of zero12, Elite developed My E-Training, a software-as-a-service offering that uses customer data to develop customized 5-week training programs integrated with user roller trainers for an annual subscription. The subscription service stores the history of a user’s sessions, delivers pedaling analysis, and provides premium access to professionally recorded training sessions with GPS data—not only providing another revenue stream through the use of data but also giving Elite more insight into its customers’ habits.

Elite optimized My E-Training with a new infrastructure that integrates multiple AWS products around Amazon CloudFront, a fast content delivery network service that securely delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to customers globally with low latency and high transfer speeds, all within a developer-friendly environment. Amazon CloudFront works seamlessly alongside Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. Elite can scale exponentially using Amazon EC2, saving time and money in a cloud environment that doesn’t require the company to pay for resources it isn’t using.

Moving Fast While Saving Money

To track all its architectural resources, Elite uses Amazon CloudWatch, a monitoring and observability service designed to provide users with data and actionable insights. Amazon CloudWatch triggers scaling of the infrastructure based on workload and sends notifications to the support team in case of error. “The effort we invested in the design of a scalable infrastructure paid off with a transparent and smooth response to a dramatic increase in traffic,” says Marco Orsenigo, Elite’s information technology manager.

Elite streamlines the development of new applications by enlisting zero12 to write code, test it, and seamlessly push it into production using three fully managed AWS services working in conjunction, automating many tasks that were previously labor intensive. AWS CodeCommit is a source control service that hosts Git-based repositories, making it simple for teams to collaborate on code in a secure and highly scalable system. To build, test, and deploy code, zero12 uses AWS CodePipeline, a continuous delivery service that helps users automate release pipelines for fast and reliable application and infrastructure updates. The final step in the testing environment relies on AWS CodeDeploy, which automates software deployments to a variety of compute services. The integration of AWS services provides a testing environment for Elite to verify software before releasing it into production. To make the most of its code development and deployment stack, Elite and zero12 use it alongside AWS Lambda, a serverless compute service that lets users run code without provisioning or managing servers.

zero12 works with Elite’s legal team to design the entire cloud infrastructure following AWS security best practices. The cloud-based infrastructure of AWS offers greater security features than Elite would have been able to afford with an on-premises solution. “The extremely high security standards of AWS let us focus our attention on development and application protection,” says Stefano Dindo, CEO of zero12. While moving more quickly and securely, Elite has also successfully kept an eye toward cost efficiency—a crucial factor for a small or midsize company. “Remarkably, throughout our 8-year collaboration with zero12, our cloud service costs have continually decreased,” Orsenigo says.

Securing the Future by Using AWS

As Elite continues to iterate on the systems it has developed, one priority is better video obfuscation to help maintain privacy for users who record and upload videos to share with the community. The company has been experimenting with using Amazon SageMaker—which helps users prepare, build, train, and deploy high-quality machine learning models quickly—to automatically identify and obscure features such as faces and license plates. As with the quantity and quality of its training modules, Elite and zero12 will continue to iterate on this solution so that it can be accomplished quickly and accurately. “Building on AWS is extremely stimulating due to the continuous evolution of services,” Orsenigo says. “Using cloud services empowers organizations of every size to engage in agile experimentation and achieve costs proportional to actual business results.”


About Elite

Elite, an Italian company run by cycling enthusiasts, specializes in the production, marketing, and research and development of technologically advanced products, including an innovative roller trainer that integrates with personalized, video-based e-training programs.

Benefits of AWS

  • Built infrastructure to scale
  • Enhanced user engagement
  • Implemented machine learning
  • Improved user security 
  • Reduced costs

AWS Services Used

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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AWS CodeCommit

AWS CodeCommit is a secure, highly scalable, managed source control service that hosts private Git repositories. 

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AWS CodeDeploy

AWS CodeDeploy is a fully managed deployment service that automates software deployments to a variety of compute services such as Amazon EC2, AWS Fargate, AWS Lambda, and your on-premises servers. 

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