Classle is a cloud-based social learning platform that allows students to connect with other students as well as experts and professionals from academic, research institutes and industry. The goal of the company’s platform is to assist students pursuing higher education learn and develop skills in a manner unencumbered by socio-economic, location and resource barriers. Classle, a social enterprise, is currently focusing on rural regions of India where students struggle with resource limitations.
Why Amazon Web Services
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been the foundation of Classle’s infrastructure since the company’s inception. Vaidya Nathan, Founder and CEO-Classle, explains that AWS allowed the company to begin operations six months ahead of schedule and more economically than had been anticipated. Classle is also impressed with the growing list of additional services offered by AWS, which the company has embraced to help further its own expansion.
Vaidya Nathan says, “The flexibility, reliability, and elasticity were the reasons for the initial decision to use AWS. Over the past two years, other services coming from AWS like Amazon Relational Database Service(Amazon RDS), Amazon CloudFront, Amazon CloudWatch, Elastic Load Balancing, and Amazon Route 53 confirm that the decision was the right one. As a startup, we have to worry about balancing scalability with cash preservation, and we get the best of both worlds with AWS. We see AWS as a strategic fit for our long-term business strategy.”
Classle uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), with the Amazon Elastic Load Balancing (Amazon ELB), Auto Scaling, and Amazon Elastic Block Storage (Amazon EBS) features, to handle its application and analytics server needs. Amazon RDS acts as Classle’s data warehouse and transactional database.
Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), with the Reduced Redundancy Storage (RRS) feature, serves the dual function of providing Classle’s content downloads and acting as an origin server for Amazon CloudFront. The company has established Amazon’s content delivery service Amazon CloudFront as an edge server for streaming files and delivering the learning platform’s most requested video downloads. Classle indicates that the origin and edge server relationship the company has created between Amazon S3 and Amazon CloudFront has allowed it to reduce its Webpage load times by 180 percent and reduce its total costs by eight percent and in the case of video streaming, it brought the time-to-market down to 2 days.
The company monitors its AWS infrastructure with Amazon CloudWatch and uses Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) to delivery system load alerts to its developers. Additionally, Classle routes its users to its websites with Amazon’s Domain Name System (DNS) service, Amazon Route 53.
Figure 1 below demonstrates how Classle is utilizing Amazon Web Services.
Figure 1: Classle Architecture Diagram
Based on its success in India, Classle plans to eventually expand its social learning platform to the worldwide market. In the more immediate future, the company is planning a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering of its platform, in addition to the Website-based version. As Classle works toward these new goals, it will be looking to incorporate additional services from AWS, such as Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES) and AWS CloudFormation, which assists developers in combining AWS resources within the company’s infrastructure.
Vaidya Nathan says, “Adopting AWS has given our company a competitive advantage, both at tactical as well as strategic levels. Thanks to AWS, we are effectively competing with some large and strong players in the e-learning space. Adopting AWS has let us keep our focus on the business and assume that the infrastructure will be available to match the velocity and growth.”