- Scale infrastructure in real time to stay ahead of user demand
- Accelerate innovation by enabling more than ten infrastructure and
developer personnel to configure and deploy compute resources as needed
- Improve collaboration and transparency by providing complete, easy to
understand documentation of all resources and systems' history
Prezi's Recipe for Success
As Prezi's business grew, it moved much of its compute infrastructure to
Amazon EC2 to take advantage of Amazon Web Services scale and
cost-efficiency. As its server count multiplied, the company also added a
number of infrastructure and developer personnel to manage these resources
and accelerate the company's rate of innovation. Leveraging Chef and
its Knife EC2 command-line plug-in, Prezi has rapidly scaled out its cloud
simultaneously enabling more than ten different engineers and developers to
productively use Chef for provisioning new compute resources.
"Our customer base is soaring, so staying ahead of the curve – both in terms
of resources and new product updates – is one of our top priorities," said
Gabor Veszi, Infrastructure Lead, Prezi. "We moved to Amazon EC2 for easy
access to cheap compute, but managing infrastructure growth and accelerating
application development requires talent. Chef is a force multiplier
that makes our engineers and developers much more productive."
Prezi offers a range of presentation solutions for users, requiring a
sophisticated website infrastructure that handles everything from member
sign-ups to presentation streaming to media storage. To keep its website
running smoothly around the clock, Prezi employs a range of back-end
applications and systems including data mining, usage monitoring and
analysis, and media file archiving. With so much complexity in its
infrastructure, Prezi needed an automation
solution that would establish a model for
reuse to make resource configuration easily repeatable and highly
"Our site handles a lot of user-generated content, which makes it difficult
to predict spikes in traffic and the associated resource requirements,"
Veszi continued. "We need to be able to scale-up on-demand when the site's
getting hit hard and be confident that resources are configured properly
every time. Chef lets us to easily configure complex infrastructures
just by putting together already existing pieces like Lego blocks."
Prezi uses the Chef Community cookbooks Ruby Version Management (RVM) for
the various Ruby versions in its many environments and the Advanced
Packaging Tool (APT) Cookbook for managing software installs and removals in
its Linux-based infrastructure. Using Chef to automate all resource
configuration gives Prezi a complete data repository of infrastructure
documentation, so the company can easily track recipe and cookbook changes,
improving transparency throughout Prezi's IT and development operations.
The transparency of Chef empowers Prezi's engineers and developers to
use easily repeatable code commands at will, delivering new compute
on-demand. Now, Prezi is more adaptable to change and can develop new
software updates faster than before Chef.
"Chef's documentation ensures any new developer or engineer can
easily understand how our infrastructure works and ramp to productivity very
quickly," Veszi said. "With a record of everything done in our
infrastructure, it makes identifying issues or averting trouble much easier
and less time-consuming, so we can focus on our products."