AWS: Airbnb Case Study
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is the practice of delivering resources including tools and applications like data storage, servers, databases, networking, and software through the internet rather than providing from our local server or personal computer.
Why Cloud Computing?
As a user, we always don't have minimum hardware resources required like RAM, CPU, and Hard Disk to run our program on the top of the operating system. So to solve this issue, the term cloud computing comes into play.
Let us take an example: Suppose we have created social media web applications as a startup with a server having hardware i.e. 100GB hard disk and 8 GB RAM. After somedays suddenly our web application goes viral and millions of users start hitting the site but our server doesn’t have the capability to handle such huge traffics coming. In this case, our site goes down which creates a bad reputation among the users. The another reason is, as a startup, we don’t always have that much money to invest to buy real physical hardware.
So to handle this type of situation, we can take rent from the cloud, resources like RAM, CPU, HDD, etc. We only have to pay for the time we use the resources of the cloud.
One of the famous clouds in today’s market is the AWS Cloud provided by Amazon.
AWS (Amazon Web Services) is a comprehensive, evolving cloud computing platform provided by Amazon that includes a mixture of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and packaged software as a service (SaaS) offerings. AWS services can offer an organization tools such as compute power, database storage, and content delivery services.
AWS launched in 2006 from the internal infrastructure that Amazon.com built to handle its online retail operations. AWS was one of the first companies to introduce a pay-as-you-go cloud computing model that scales to provide users with computing, storage, etc as needed.
One of the companies which is benefited by AWS services to handle its traffic and expand its business is Airbnb.
So let us discuss its case study.
Airbnb Case Study:
Airbnb is an American vacation rental online marketplace company based in San Francisco, California, United States. Airbnb offers arrangements for lodging, primarily homestays, or tourism experiences. The company does not own any of the real estate listings, nor does it host events; it acts as a broker, receiving commissions from each booking. The Airbnb community users’ activities are conducted on the company’s Website and through its iPhone and Android applications. The San Francisco-based Airbnb began operation in 2008 and currently has hundreds of employees across the globe supporting property rentals in nearly 25,000 cities in 192 countries.
Challenges faced by Airbnb:
A year after Airbnb launched, the company decided to migrate nearly all of its cloud computing functions to Amazon Web Services (AWS) because of service administration challenges experienced with its original provider. Nathan Blecharczyk, Co-founder & CTO of Airbnb says, “Initially, the appeal of AWS was the ease of managing and customizing the stack. It was great to be able to ramp up more servers without having to contact anyone and without having minimum usage commitments. As our company continued to grow, so did our reliance on the AWS cloud and now, we’ve adopted almost all of the features AWS provides. AWS is the easy answer for any Internet business that wants to scale to the next level.”
Reasons to move to AWS:
Airbnb has grown significantly over the last 3 years. To support demand, the company uses 200 Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances for its application, Memcache, and search servers. Within Amazon EC2, Airbnb is using Elastic Load Balancing, which automatically distributes incoming traffic between multiple Amazon EC2 instances. To easily process and analyze 50 Gigabytes of data daily, Airbnb uses Amazon Elastic MapReduce (Amazon EMR). Airbnb is also using Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to house backups and static files, including 10 terabytes of user pictures. To monitor all of its server resources, Airbnb uses Amazon CloudWatch, which allows the company to easily supervise all of its Amazon EC2 assets through the AWS Management Console, Command Line Tools, or a Web services API.
In addition, Airbnb moved its main MySQL database to Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS). Airbnb chose Amazon RDS because it simplifies much of the time-consuming administrative tasks typically associated with databases. Amazon RDS allows difficult procedures, such as replication and scaling, to be completed with a basic API call or through the AWS Management Console. Airbnb currently uses Multi-Availability Zone (Multi-AZ) deployment to further automate its database replication and augment data durability.
Airbnb was able to complete its entire database migration to Amazon RDS with only 15 minutes of downtime. This quick transition was very important to the fast-growing Airbnb because it did not want its community of users to be shut out of its marketplace for an extended period of time. Tobi Knaup, an engineer at Airbnb says, “Because of AWS, there has always been an easy answer (in terms of time required and cost) to scale our site.”
Airbnb believes that AWS saved it at the expense of at least one operations position. Additionally, the company states that the flexibility and responsiveness of AWS are helping it to prepare for more growth. Knaup says, “We’ve seen that Amazon Web Services listens to customers’ needs. If the feature does not yet exist, it probably will in a matter of months. The low cost and simplicity of its services made it a no-brainer to switch to the AWS cloud.
Thanks for reading. 🙂🙂