Runtastic Saves €300,000, Stays on Track for Growth Using AWS
Runtastic has served fitness enthusiasts since 2009, creating a community of users around its health and wellness apps. The company now has tens of millions of customers across Europe, South America, and the US. But its rapid growth brought challenges for the firm’s aging technology infrastructure. By migrating to AWS, Runtastic has reduced latency, improved the customer experience, and saved more than €300,000 in new infrastructure spending alone.
We saved a lot of time and money using AWS. Replacing one cluster of on-premises database servers saved about €300,000.”
Chief Technology Officer, Runtastic
Runtastic Saves €300,000, Stays on Track for Growth Using AWS
Online fitness company Runtastic has seen a lot of change since its launch in Austria in 2009. In the beginning, it ran services using web hosting and on-premises systems before beginning to migrate to the cloud. Along the way it was acquired by international fitness brand adidas and streamlined its product offerings. At every step of the way, it has looked for the best infrastructure to support its growth.
Now, in the next phase of its development, Runtastic has improved scalability, bolstered backup and recovery, and saved €300,000 by migrating on-premises servers to Amazon Web Services (AWS). In addition, using AWS means its developers have fewer infrastructure maintenance and are free to focus on building new products and upgrading existing ones.
Runtastic Used AWS and On-Premises during Start-up Days
Runtastic has a rich and deep pool of technical talent. Out of 280 staff, 140 report to chief technology officer (CTO) Stefan Damm. The company was proud of its talent but optimizing the use of that talent became a problem. “We developed a lot of expertise in managing our own infrastructure,” says Armin Deliomini, head of infrastructure at Runtastic. “Unfortunately, it was time-consuming and took highly skilled staff away from work that added more value.”
The need for greater scalability and performance, right-sizing its infrastructure, and freeing staff from routine admin and maintenance work led Runtastic to migrate to AWS from an on-premises infrastructure. The company realized that using Amazon CloudFront, a content delivery network (CDN) service, and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), a scalable object storage service, would be a better solution than trying to run everything on-premises.
As the firm grew, its offerings and infrastructure developed. Runtastic started with a website and mobile apps tailored for running and other outdoor pursuits, using GPS to track activity. That expanded to 30 different fitness apps, including ones for running, biking, and nutritional tracking. “We were operating a lot of things on premises, but it made sense to use Amazon CloudFront and Amazon S3 for asset delivery,” says Damm. “As a startup, we were always looking for the best value. We saw that this sort of hybrid approach made sense, so Runtastic started using AWS early on.”
Scaling to Support Real-Time Services for Popular Apps
In 2015, Runtastic was acquired by international fitness brand adidas. The acquisition boosted Runtastic’s profile globally. It also gave the business an opportunity to evaluate the product offerings, operations, and infrastructure it had built over the previous 6 years.
Soon, mobile internet became sufficiently widespread for the company to move away from multiple apps that logged data then uploaded it from a user’s fitness tracker after a session. Real-time connectivity was what users wanted. In 2019, the business decided to focus on delivering just 2 apps—adidas Running and adidas Training.
This strategic shift transformed Runtastic’s infrastructure needs. “We needed to move more services to the cloud because we had marketing campaigns that were producing large, unpredictable spikes,” says Damm. “We also saw more load as we added social aspects, like news feeds and interaction directly between users in features such as comments. We needed better scalability to help us deliver real-time services to our users around the world.”
A growing numbers of user registrations and activations, and an increased volume of activity tracking also stressed infrastructure and slowed down processing.
When Runtastic’s community totaled tens of millions of users around the world, latency became a critical issue. “We were using on-premises solutions for years,” says Deliomini. “However, migrating to AWS improved performance in overseas markets without us having to build new data centers abroad. This has also freed staff to innovate and enhance our products.”
To serve its enlarging user base, Runtastic migrated to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)—which provides secure and resizable compute capacity for workloads—and expanded its use of Amazon S3 and Amazon CloudFront.
Reducing Hardware Costs €300,000 While Meeting Demand Spikes
Runtastic soon faced a new challenge when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. It saw use of its apps surge. Whenever a country locked down, demand spiked as users suddenly had more free time to exercise.
To maintain performance, Runtastic decide to spin up more AWS services, as this strategy had previously worked well in responding to spikes in demand. “We saved a lot of time and money using AWS. For example, we were considering replacing one cluster of on-premises database servers—64 servers in total—and on the hardware cost alone for that, we saved about €300,000,” says Damm. “Then there’s the cost of maintaining the infrastructure, the staff to manage it, and all the extras. Using Amazon S3, we were able to scale quickly and cost-effectively to meet demand.”
Runtastic is evaluating cost savings and service improvements so it can better use AWS to improve performance and increase efficiencies. That will help determine how and when it will migrate additional on-premises infrastructure. It is participating in the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP), a comprehensive and proven cloud migration program based on the experience AWS has migrating thousands of enterprise customers to the cloud. This will help Runtastic make the choices that are right for it.
Runtastic, despite still having on-premises solutions, knows that the cloud is where business is headed and is committed to it. “If I were a new startup, I’d launch in the cloud. It avoids a lot of headaches,” says Damm. “Even for us—and we’re skilled at using on premises—using AWS makes a lot of sense. We remain focused on making the choice that’s best for our customers and the business. Increasingly, that means the cloud.”
Founded in 2009 in Linz, Austria, Runtastic is a fitness tracking provider acquired by sports brand adidas in 2015. The company, which employs 280 people, has tens of millions of customers around the world. Using the app, users can track, log, and share their fitness achievements in 10 different languages.
Benefits of AWS
- Saved €300,000 in hardware costs
- Met unpredictable spikes in demand
- Freed developers to focus on new products
- Improved redundancy with scalable backup and recovery
AWS Services Used
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.
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.
Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is an object storage service offering industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance.
Organizations of all sizes across all industries are transforming their businesses and delivering on their missions every day using AWS. Contact our experts and start your own AWS journey today.