Customer Stories / Education


Developing EdTech Solutions Using AWS Lambda with Wakelet

Learn how Wakelet in the EdTech industry grew exponentially and expanded into new markets using AWS services such as Amazon DynamoDB.

80% reduction

in image hosting costs versus SaaS

93% reduction

in use of API servers compared with original architecture

2,000% growth

in viewers

100,000% increase

in database operations


Wakelet, an AWS Partner, has grown its database operations and volume by more than 1,000 times since 2015 without expanding the small team that managed its infrastructure. The education technology (EdTech) firm provides applications for saving, organizing, and sharing collections of online content, from videos and podcasts to articles and social media. Making this possible for new customers in expanding markets requires cost-effective storage and scaling.

The UK-based startup found the solutions it needed on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Using AWS products and support, Wakelet scaled up, increased traffic and revenue, and created multi-region architecture for expansion into new markets while maintaining the highest compliance and security standards.

How the cloud can help educational institutions with grading, assessments, and admissions

Opportunity | Using AWS Funding to Catalyze Growth for Wakelet

Wakelet provides a suite of free tools that helps schools captivate learners, maximize engagement, and achieve district goals. The company offers apps for students and teachers to save, organize, and present unlimited collections of multimedia content. Wakelet has used AWS from the beginning, which has helped the startup’s nine engineers to perform like a much bigger team. Using Funding Benefits for AWS Partners to manage training, development, and marketing costs, Wakelet started to think big. “AWS was great about offering us development funds and strong growth-related support,” says Teijas KY, head of business development for Wakelet. “We’ve been able to use AWS to accelerate certain projects and to allocate funding from investors better.”

With success comes growth, and Wakelet needed strategies to meet new demand. “The biggest challenge was how to handle increasing traffic and scaling in a cost-effective way that was simple for a small team to manage and didn’t require spending all our time building and maintaining infrastructure,” says Nick Blow, chief technology officer for Wakelet. Database operations for Wakelet were about 1,000 times higher in 2022 than in 2015, and API calls grew from millions to billions. “We’re in a growth period in which every year we add more data than in all of the previous years combined,” Blow says. Besides needing to handle increasing traffic, Wakelet faced other common tech challenges like data modeling, storage, security compliance, and API requests.

Wakelet has weathered the transition seamlessly without adding large numbers of engineers. Since 2015, the engineering team has grown by only three people. “We had only one person responsible for infrastructure and experienced no major outages,” Blow says. “Using managed services on AWS meant we could work with a tiny team without having to compromise availability or uptime.” Wakelet started by consolidating its service-oriented architecture from multiple microservices into fewer, larger services for managing content, processing files, and controlling identity tasks. The company then strategized to make the most of AWS services and products.


Using managed services on AWS meant we could work with a tiny team without having to compromise availability or uptime.”

Nick Blow
Chief Technology Officer, Wakelet

Solution | Scaling Up and Cutting Costs Using Amazon DynamoDB

By reorganizing architecture and data tables, Wakelet optimized its use of Amazon DynamoDB, a fully managed, serverless, key-value NoSQL database designed to run high-performance applications at virtually any scale. For asynchronous tasks, memory, and compute power, Wakelet used AWS Lambda, a serverless, event-driven service that runs code without provisioning or managing servers. AWS Lambda is triggered by Wakelet’s use of Amazon Kinesis, which makes it simple to collect, process, and analyze video and data streams in near real time. The firm pays only for what it uses. Further, the company reduced the number of API servers it had to run from 40 to three, a reduction of more than 90 percent. For workloads that are not running in Lambda, the firm achieves autoscaling by using Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), which runs highly secure, reliable, and scalable containers, alongside AWS Fargate, a serverless, pay-as-you-go compute engine for building applications and running APIs.

All events are published on Amazon Kinesis, and now the company’s users—both curators and viewers of content—enjoy the fastest possible access to their Wakelet media collections. Massive amounts of data must also be stored while remaining accessible at high speeds. So, to cache commonly used data, Wakelet relies on Amazon ElastiCache, a fully managed, in-memory caching service supporting flexible, near-real-time use cases. The effects of this caching have been dramatic. Wakelet saw cached API request times drop from 200 milliseconds to less than one millisecond, even as the number of viewers grew by 2,000 percent and active curators grew by 250,000 percent, while achieving a hit rate of around 95 percent.

Another important area for innovation and savings was image optimization. Wakelet built its own serverless, automatically scaling image hosting and processing pipeline using AWS. As a result, Wakelet cut image hosting expenses by 80 percent. For cost-effective uploads, the company used Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), offering industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance. Now, customers can retrieve any amount of data quickly from wherever they are. As the “front door” to the functionality of all its data-rich applications, Wakelet uses Amazon API Gateway, a fully managed service that makes it simple for developers to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure APIs at any scale. The company also strengthened its security using Amazon CloudFront, a content delivery network service.

In 2022, Wakelet joined the AWS Partner Network (APN), a global community of partners that employs AWS programs, expertise, and resources to build, market, and sell customer offerings. “By becoming an AWS Partner, we’ve gained access to resources and, as we expand, we can avail ourselves of additional marketing support and funding,” says Blow.

The benefits Wakelet achieves using AWS are passed on to users through fast, reliable performance, resilience to disruptions, and privacy. Wakelet’s products have been particularly well received in the US education market, which comprised a majority of the company’s users as of 2022. Using AWS, Wakelet needed only 2 weeks to build multiregion infrastructure that met all security regulations in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Outcome | Achieving High Growth while Continuously Improving

With a new round of funding and the added resources from AWS, including being an AWS Partner, Wakelet is piloting a premium product for sale in US school districts. As the Wakelet team continues to make ongoing improvements to meet users’ needs, it plans to keep using AWS services. “AWS is always bringing out new tools and improving its services,” Blow says. “Basically, everything that we had on our wish list at the start—everything we wanted or needed—we have built using AWS.”

About Wakelet

UK-based Wakelet provides a suite of free tools that helps schools captivate learners, maximize engagement, and achieve district goals. It offers students, teachers, and learning communities apps to save, organize, and present multimedia content.

AWS Services Used

AWS Lambda

AWS Lambda is a serverless, event-driven compute service that lets you run code for virtually any type of application or backend service without provisioning or managing servers.  

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Amazon ECS

Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) is a fully managed container orchestration service that simplifies your deployment, management, and scaling of containerized applications.

Learn more »

Amazon DynamoDB

Amazon DynamoDB is a fully managed, serverless, key-value NoSQL database designed to run high-performance applications at any scale.

Learn more »

Amazon Kinesis

Amazon Kinesis cost-effectively processes and analyzes streaming data at any scale as a fully managed service.

Learn more »

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