In case you haven’t heard of them, A Cloud Guru is the social learning platform for cloud professionals that helps engineers prepare for AWS certification exams. In this post on Medium, founder and CTO Sam Kroonenburg explained the startup’s decision to employ a serverless architecture on AWS.
A Cloud Guru bootstrapped their launch and limited funds made the decision easier, but it seems that the more the team considered it, the more sense a serverless approach made. “Why manage something, if someone will manage it for us?”, says Kroonenburg.
The platform was built entirely on AWS and leverages cloud services for just about everything, from authentication, data storage and real-time streaming of updates, to video transcoding, Web page rendering and analytics. All of this without a single server running anywhere. Kroonenburg even states that the only computers the company has are the staff laptops.
This serverless architecture brings three main benefits, beginning with incredible speed to market. Within four weeks from starting the build, the platform was live and gathering user feedback, leading to quick product improvements. Secondly, the lack of servers and people to run them meant extremely low operating costs from the beginning. And rather than development fees, A Cloud Guru pays scalable subscription fees for the services it uses.
These low operating costs allowed the team to provide a low-cost pricing model that grew the user base quickly, reaching 40,000 users in 6 months. The team believes the serverless concept fuels the third benefit, which is a change in mindset. Kroonenburg says that the approach has crafted the ethos and identity of the entire company.
Leveraging the talents of other developers has allowed A Cloud Guru to focus on building the best social learning platform for their users. Now, every little decision is made only after they’ve asked themselves, “Do we really need to do this ourselves? Is this already a solved problem?”