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CDS Keynote: Twitpic Grows with Amazon CloudFront

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Amazon kicked off the recent Content Delivery Summit in New York City by showing how Amazon CloudFront helped build a business familiar to many: Twitpic.

"Many of our customers start out with a very simple idea. In this case, Twitpic had a very, very simple idea: they wanted to share photos on the internet," said Tal Saraf, general manager for Amazonn CloudFront. "This was a side project essentially. A single developer started this project in 2008 with an extra server, and that person ran Twitpic for 18 months. During that time, they were getting over 500,000 visitors per month to their offering."

With Twitter itself growing quickly, Twitpic soon followed.

"Today, they have eight employees and a hundred times the volume. Basically, 50 million unique visitors a month are using their site," said Saraf. "What comes with that kind of growth? One of the reasons we talk about the emerging startups is the level of growth they go through very quickly."

While strong growth leads to opportunities, it also brings new challenges. Twitpic's teams found themselves overwhelmed and taken away from jobs they wanted to work on.

"While they started with that very simple vision, it was soon into that process they realized, Wait a second, we're spending less time on this particular vision and more time on what we call undifferentiated heavy lifting. The problems that they faced were storage: you're storing all these photographs, huge volumes of photographs; compute, right -- what started as a single extra server off to the side could never meet the demands of that user base," explained Saraf.

The solution for Twitpic was to work with Amazon Web Services,  which helped with the burdens of growth.

"They reasons they like taking advantage of Amazon Web Services and what we bring in general is this notion of no upfront capital expenses," said Saraf, telling how AWS turns capital expenses into operating expenses. The CloudFront pay-as-you-go model is also attractive to many companies.

"By taking advantage of this move into the cloud, they were really able to focus on their core business. In doing that, their business grew a hundred times in just a couple of years," Saraf added, noting that Amazon saves about $70,000 per month by using CloudFront.

For more from Saraf, including a related announcement, watch the full video below.


Tal Saraf is the General Manager of Amazon CloudFront, AWS's pay-as-go content distribution service, and Amazon Route 53, AWS's DNS service. In this role, Tal is responsible for the overall development, management and product direction of Amazon CloudFront and Amazon Route 53.

Tal Saraf, GM, Amazon CloudFront

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