Y-cam Solutions Ltd, based in the UK, is an award-winning provider of high quality, affordable, and easy-to-use security video solutions for residential and small-medium business use. Y-cam offers an innovative range of wireless cameras, including HomeMonitor: a wireless, cloud-based camera solution that lets users manage videos through a secure online account. HomeMonitor provides customers with free video storage, making video monitoring easy and accessible for everyone. Users can receive motion-detected emails or push alerts, and view live and recorded clips from anywhere by smartphone, tablet or computer to keep in touch with what matters most.

Initially, Y-cam operated the infrastructure for its HomeMonitor surveillance service on hardware it purchased and operated in a co-location facility. As its customer base grew in both Europe and the United States, the company found it difficult and expensive to scale hardware fast enough to keep up with demand. In addition, the infrastructure was becoming increasingly complex, requiring more resources to operate it effectively.

“The breaking point came when a major European telecommunication company became our first enterprise-scale customer,” says Jey Jeyasingam, Y-cam’s Director of Research and Development. “We realized that it would require a large injection of capital and staff resources to accommodate such a large customer without compromising the service quality for existing customers.” The company decided to move to a cloud environment to be able to scale quickly and securely without a large hardware capacity build-out.

Y-cam decided to move its infrastructure to Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2011 to take advantage of lower storage and processing costs provide by the AWS Cloud. The lower costs allowed Y-cam to increase free storage for its customers from three to seven days while still maintaining a high quality and profitable service.

Y-cam deployed the HomeMonitor service on AWS, using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for scalable compute capacity and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for database management. Amazon Simple Storage Service (AmazonS3) provides storage and gives Y-cam the ability to encrypt customer videos.

Y-cam runs the HomeMonitor service on AWS on c3.large, m3.medium, and r3.large Amazon EC2 instances, using Reserved Instances to optimize utilization. Using Reserved Instances allow Y-cam to purchase compute capacity ahead of time, resulting in an upfront discount compared to On-Demand Instances. (For more information about AWS pricing, please refer to AWS Pricing page.)

The HomeMonitor service increased Y-cam’s requirements for object storage. However, planning capacity for video storage is difficult because it depends on user demands. By using Amazon S3, the company can scale to meet demand as needed. The company pays only for what it uses, avoiding the cost of buying, maintaining, and deploying hardware for storage.

The following tables compare on-premises versus AWS compute and storage costs for Y-cam’s footprint in the U.S. and Europe over a three-year period from its launch in 2011.

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Figure 1. Y-Cam US Compute & Storage - Initial Cost.

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Figure 2. Y-Cam Europe Compute & Storage - Initial Cost.

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Figure 3. Y-Cam 3-Year TCO Comparison Co-Location vs. AWS.

By using AWS, the company successfully deployed its new HomeMonitor service in five months — a third of the time originally planned for the deployment. “AWS provided a scalable infrastructure very quickly, flexibly and at a lower cost that we would have been able to build on our own,” says Jeyasingam. After a six-month beta period, the company began accepting new customers.

Through careful design and use of its architecture on AWS, Y-cam also reduced the cost of its video storage and streaming service by more than 50 percent. “If we had deployed the same infrastructure in a co-location facility, our cost to support each camera per month would have doubled,” says CEO Devin Chawda. “We’re projecting an 80 percent reduction in our total cost of ownership (TCO) over a three-year period by moving to AWS.”

The success of the new environment on AWS enabled Y-cam to license the service as a platform, creating an additional revenue stream for the business and enabling other companies to use Y-cam’s underlying functionality in video surveillance product services.

To learn more about how AWS can help lower your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), visit our AWS Economics page: http://aws.amazon.com/economics/.