Onoko is a Hong Kong-based application development company that creates social and mobile apps, primarily for the Facebook and iPhone platforms. Onoko's apps are largely focused on relational games, such as quizzes and interviews. The company reports that its apps collectively support 15 million users worldwide. Onoko also develops custom browser homepages and browser plugins. All of the company's products are created by four full time developers.
Onoko began operations using a variety of cloud-based services, but struggled to find an individual provider with both the flexibility and economical price-point to meet the company's growing needs. In response, Onoko turned to Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Why Amazon Web Services
Janakan Arulkumarasan, Director of Onoko International, says, "We found AWS to be significantly cheaper than other hosted services, but the main appeal was the simplicity of the service, and the elegant way that various AWS services work together. Once you start using one service, it becomes easy and logical to use all the others."
The company now operates its entire application infrastructure on AWS. For example, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) provides all of Onoko's authentication and back-end services, while Amazon SimpleDB meets the company's requirement for scalable, non-relational data storage.
For Flash file hosting and delivery, Onoko uses Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) in conjunction with the content delivery service, Amazon CloudFront. The company is particularly impressed with Amazon CloudFront, which, the company explains, has improved the user experience by dramatically increasing app download speeds.
Currently, Onoko's various social and mobile applications, browser homepages, and browser plugins maintain an average of one million users per day. The company credits AWS with helping it sustain this high level of service while at the same time reducing its operating cost by more than 50 percent since switching from its previous cloud service provider. In fact, the entire operating expense of Onoko's Amazon S3 and Amazon CloudFront services is less than one percent of the company's total revenues.
In addition to the financial benefits the company has experienced with AWS, Onoko is also impressed with the support services of AWS, which help it concentrate on its own corporate goals, rather than worrying about outgrowing its infrastructure.
"AWS has allowed us to focus on building great apps and great user experiences with a very small team," Arulkumarasan says. "With AWS, scalability is never a problem, and we have survived—and profited—from massive spikes of up to 5 million additional users a day without any problems. The AWS staff has been enormously helpful and responsive, and I love how much time AWS developer relations staff spends organizing events and meeting one-on-one to understand our business model and needs."
Onoko is always exploring the possibility of adding additional features from AWS to its current service stack. "AWS keeps innovating new services that make app development easy," Arulkumarasan says. "I still get super excited whenever I see an 'AWS new feature' email."