Smrt English - TriNimbus

Smrt English - Case Study

Delivering a secure and highly available deployment and improving performance and scalability.

Smrt English provides very popular English courses online through their web platform. The platform is used by almost 100,000 students from close to 100 institutions around the world and the site is very popular with students in Mexico and Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia.

Goal

  • Maintain high availability, performance and security requirements
  • Automated software configuration management

Solution

  • Robust and scalable solution addressing resiliency concerns
  • Auto-scaling on the application tier for handling load increases

Outcome

  • Fully automated environment that meets high availability and performance requirements
  • Transformation to Agile cloud business

Challenge

Smrt English provides very popular English courses online through their web platform. The platform is used by almost 100,000 students from close to 100 institutions around the world and the site is very popular with students in Mexico and Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia. With a global footprint like this, the uptime requirements for SmrtEnglish.com are very high. The site also has to handle increases in load during peak times – like exam periods in certain institutions.

Smrt English has been hosting the site on EC2 for some time, but the deployment was not providing the high availability they needed. After few unexpected outages causing the web site to go down for prolonged time and the inherent risk in losing data due to the limited deployment architecture, they decided to invest in implementing a fault-tolerant deployment that would be architected to handle increased performance requirements to support the ongoing growth in popularity.

AWS and Partner Solution

When Smrt English contacted TriNimbus for help, we immediately recognized the potential in delivering a robust and scalable solution that would not only address the concerns around resiliency, but also provide future-proofing for handling load increases by implementing auto-scaling on the application tier. By combining VPC, RDS, EC2, ELB and AutoScaling we have architected a new deployment that would meet the high availability and performance requirements. We also put a number of monitoring tools to get better visibility into the performance of the environment and the application and enable us to ensure the smooth operations that Smrt English required. Having this insight helped us to fine tune the system and reduce the cost of the infrastructure while providing a much improved performance compared to the original deployment.

One key requirement from Smrt English was the need for automated software configuration management. By using CloudFormation and Elastic Beanstalk, TriNimbus fully automated the entire environment, from the underlying network to the auto-scaling configuration, and as a bonus, enabled Smrt English to deliver the system in any region of the world with a click of a button if they require to improve the experience in certain parts of the world. On top of automating the environment, TriNimbus also implemented a fully automated build system that connects their SVN repository and Elastic Beanstalk and allows them to frequently release new versions of the code without requiring direct support from TriNimbus. This has proven to be very beneficial as the organization has successfully made many code pushes to production, allowing them to run an agile process and constantly improve the service they provide to the students.

Working with TriNimbus has been a great pleasure and it’s totally changed the way we run our website. Now our site can handle any amount of traffic.

Jeremy Clark

CIO, Smrt English

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