WhiteSource Uses AWS to Drive 200% Annual Growth and Enable Innovation

WhiteSource, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider that helps developers and security teams secure and manage their open-source usage, has one main goal: helping companies harness the power of open source without compromising on security or agility. “It is estimated that 60 to 80 percent of the codebase of modern applications is made of open-source components,” says Dan Gross, vice president of business development for WhiteSource. “Our solution, integrated with customers’ continuous integration and delivery pipelines, automates the entire process of open-source component selection, approval, and management, including finding and fixing vulnerable components.”

As a startup company, WhiteSource needed the ability to quickly and securely scale its platform in order to provide its customers with reliable service. “We needed to provide an infrastructure that could onboard hundreds of customers simultaneously,” Gross says. The company also needed to provide the highest possible IT infrastructure availability. “As a SaaS provider, uptime is crucial. We don’t offer a physical solution, but our customers rely on our service to be available at all times,” Gross says. In addition, WhiteSource frequently offers new features to differentiate its business in a competitive field. “We want to focus entirely on innovation, not investing time and resources into maintaining servers and other backend technologies,” says Gross.

“In the past three years, we have grown at a rate of 200 percent year over year. AWS gave us the ability to quickly scale our solution and meet increasing demand.”

Dan Gross, Vice President of Business Development, WhiteSource

  • About WhiteSource
  • WhiteSource is the pioneer of agile open-source security and compliance management. Founded in 2011, its vision is to empower businesses to develop better software, faster, by harnessing the power of open source. WhiteSource is used by more than 700 customers worldwide, from all verticals and sizes, including 23 percent of Fortune 100 companies, as well as industry leaders such as IBM, Comcast, and many more.

  • Benefits
    • Drives 200% annual growth
    • Ensures 99.999% platform uptime
    • Enables developers to create innovative new features
  • AWS Services Used

Building a Business on the AWS Cloud

WhiteSource knew the cloud was the right technology choice to meet its needs for scalability, high availability, and innovation. “When you’re a startup, every dollar counts,” says Gross. “It didn’t make sense to invest a lot of money into data-center technologies to run our platform, which is where the cloud came in.” Specifically, the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud. “We looked around at a few other cloud providers, but AWS was clearly the most mature and trusted company in the marketplace,” Gross says. The organization chose to build its SaaS solution on the AWS Cloud, using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances to support the platform and taking advantage of the built-in security capabilities of AWS. WhiteSource integrates with many developer tools, including AWS CodeBuild, so AWS CodeBuild users can have full visibility and control of the open-source components in their builds.

WhiteSource is also using AWS Business Support to optimize its environment and mitigate risk. Relying on the fast response times provided by AWS Business Support, WhiteSource can promptly address any technical issues that arise. In addition, the proactive, in-depth architectural guidance that comes with AWS Business Support helped WhiteSource quickly launch its business and avoid downtime and other challenges by developing in accordance with best practices from an early stage.

Growing at a Rate of 200% Every Year

By running on AWS, WhiteSource launched its SaaS platform in several months and continues to expand at a rapid pace. “In the past three years, we have grown at a rate of 200 percent year over year. AWS gave us the ability to quickly scale our solution and meet increasing demand,” says Gross. Taking advantage of the agility and scalability of the AWS Cloud, WhiteSource can onboard multiple new customers at the same time. “If we have new customers, and they all want to quickly scan their entire environments and detect all open-source components, we can easily prepare for that mass usage of our platform without having to buy and install servers,” says Gross. “In a click of a button, we add the compute capacity that we need, and everything is instantly ready for them. If we had to build and maintain our own server farm, it would have killed our business as a startup. AWS gave us the ability to play at an enterprise level right from the start.”

Ensuring High Availability for SaaS Platform

WhiteSource is delivering a reliable experience for hundreds of customers across North America by running its SaaS platform on AWS. “Using AWS, we can ensure 99.999 percent uptime for our platform,” says Gross. “This is critical to our business, because our customers trust us to provide a reliable environment for the solution. AWS gives us reliability and strong security, so we meet our customers’ most important needs.”

Working with AWS Business Support, WhiteSource was able to quickly find the best architecture for its SaaS solution, and it can resolve support cases in an average time of 15 minutes. “Relying on AWS Business Support helps us move faster as a business,” says Gross. “Through the architectural guidance and best practices we received from the AWS team, we learned how to best leverage AWS services to get the best solution to market for our customers.”

Developing Innovative New Features

WhiteSource’s developers can now focus on innovating technology rather than spending resources on managing and maintaining hardware. For example, WhiteSource recently released a unique patent-pending technology called effective-usage analysis. This technology can help teams understand whether or not their proprietary code is making calls to a vulnerable functionality in their open-source components. “This helps team reduce security alerts by 85 percent. We were able to develop it because our platform is taken care of by AWS,” says Gross.

WhiteSource is also an Advanced Technology Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN). “As AWS evolves, we evolve with them,” Gross says. “We’re on a continuous journey with AWS, and we look forward to building on that partnership in the future.”

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