SportPursuit.com offers 7-day flash sales on sports products and services, offering discounts of up to 70 percent to its members. SportPursuit Ltd. partners with 600 brands to reach a member base of more than 1 million sports enthusiasts in 40 countries worldwide. The company incorporated in 2011 and is based in London, England. Brand partners include Marmot, Helly Hansen, Canterbury, Garmin, GoPro, and Icebreaker.
When SportPursuit founders Adam Pikett, Victoria Walton, and Rhys Jones first set up the company, they needed a platform that would enable them to put together a site quickly and cost-effectively. “We couldn’t commit to long-term server licenses, and we needed a solution that was inexpensive,” says Bryn Snelson, Marketing Director and Director of International at SportPursuit. “Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the quickest way to get SportPursuit.com to that point—it was the most robust cloud services provider out there.”
As the company matured, it has expanded beyond the UK and Europe to include Australia and the U.S., bringing a new set of challenges. “We have a huge number of members, and we push them to the site with a daily email,” Snelson says. “So between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m., we have thousands of concurrent users. We strive for 100 percent availability, which is a challenge.” The site must be available, and latency must be low, or the customer experience will suffer.
Why Amazon Web Services
To handle huge spikes in traffic while providing low latency, SportPursuit hosts its site on AWS. The company uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances to run its site, and Amazon CloudFront as its content delivery network (CDN), serving content to 50,000 daily visitors to the site. Amazon Route 53 provides domain name service for the company.
SportPursuit uses Amazon Relational Database Service to store product, order, and customer data, and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for backup and storage of close to 1 TB of data. ElastiCache is used for in-memory caching and Elastic Load Balancing provides load balancing. The company manages its AWS Cloud infrastructure using AWS CloudFormation, using it to create and manage a collection of related AWS resources, provisioning and updating them in an orderly and predictable way. The company and hosts its public-facing site in an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC). SportPursuit uses Amazon CloudFront to serve static resources around the world.
By using AWS, the company has been able to provide the kind of always-on site that keeps its customers coming back. “Thanks to AWS, we can offer customers an experience that’s fast and user-friendly—while saving time and money,” says Adam Pikett, co-founder and CEO. The company experiences availability of more than 99 percent.
The company has experienced cost savings by using the AWS Cloud rather than a traditional data center. “Not spending loads on services and a massive team is a great advantage,” Pikett says. “If we were using a hoster, we’d have to run 10 instances 24 hours a day, instead of just during peak traffic periods.”
SportPursuit has also saved time on infrastructure maintenance. “Time is our most valuable resource,” says Steve Blake, CTO. “If we had an in-house data center, it would take three to five days to provision a new instance, With AWS, it only takes us three to five minutes. Our business wouldn’t work without AWS.”