Founded in 2007 by Rodrigo Teijeiro (CEO), is a social networking site with more than 48 million registered users, 85 percent of them located in Latin America. Sonico employs 75 people and is headquartered in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with offices in Miami and Brazil. offers three separate “spaces” (Private, Public, and Professional) to help users organize their lives online. Uploading, sharing, and commenting on photos are among the most popular user activities.

Before signing on with Amazon Web Services (AWS), stored user photos in more than 25 servers under a managed hosting agreement. Alvaro Teijeiro, partner and CIO, says, “Because we have small technical and operations teams, we wanted to explore the possibility of offloading this content from our back end. Reducing costs and improving data backup and scalability were a priority.”

The company looked into several options, including network-attached storage, storage area networks, and cloud computing alternatives.

According to Teijeiro, the combination of Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) was the best match for overall price and performance.

Initially, faced the challenge of moving a large number of files (more than 1 billion images) over to Amazon S3. Teijeiro says, “We spent a couple of weeks finding the right combination of technology and settings to produce an acceptable upload performance that balanced transfer time and backend overhead. Unfortunately, there was no out-of-the-box solution that worked for this kind of data migration.”

Sonico’s engineers moved their data to AWS over a period of four months. Now, 100 percent of their image upload, processing, and storage is done with AWS. They use multiple Amazon EC2 instances running Linux and Apache to receive and process images, and Amazon S3 to store them.

Teijeiro says, “This migration resulted in a 70 percent savings compared to the cost of our previous architecture, while improving storage redundancy and scalability. We’re happy we don’t have to worry about provisioning and financing new storage servers anymore. AWS solved one of our key infrastructure pains with its scalable, cost-efficient solution.”

Sonico is also leveraging other AWS offerings, such as Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) and MySQL instances running on Amazon EC2. Overall, Teijeiro appreciates the cost, scalability, and reliability of AWS.

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