For photo box provider kruu.com, the cloud must be simple, relieve the IT team and offer extensive automation and cost transparency.
Weddings are often captured in photos, and wedding couples usually hire professionals to do so. The startup kruu.com offers an alternative to wedding photographers. It rents out photo boxes. The idea is that party guests stand in front of the box and a picture is taken in a flash. It is stored in the cloud, but can also be printed out on site.
With the photo boxes from kruu.com, party photos become an event within an event. This is made possible by digital cameras, photo printers and the cloud. The young company now lends out several hundred photo boxes every week. After receiving the returned boxes, the kruu team transfers the photos to an online platform from which customers can download and share their photos for six months.
Photo boxes are a seasonal business
kruu’s business is seasonal. During the winter months, less capacity is required as many storage areas are phased out and not needed. From late spring onwards, demand increases again and the company needs additional IT resources “The crucial thing is that we largely automate both the photo upload and the scaling of storage capacity so that our customers can access their images promptly and quickly,” says Philipp Schreiber, CEO of kruu.com. This creates a typical high-load scenario for We Manage, the IT service provider that manages the IT infrastructure for the company. As with many startups, the beginnings were small, but with increasing success, resources had to be scaled significantly.
The previous hosting provider proved to be too inflexible. The photos would have had to be distributed to more and more new storage instances according to their age. This would have meant the development of a separate application as well as constant manual readjustment – far too much effort. In addition, it would have been necessary to optimize the storage areas for peak loads in the summer, says Schreiber: “The more we grew and the more storage space we used in the peak season, the more storage units remained unused in the winter.”
Transparency and simplicity with the cloud
Kruu looked for a new cloud provider, even among the well-known hyperscalers. However, those were not an alternative, according to WeManage CEO Andreas Lehr. The oversized range of functions and complicated operation were a deterrent. In terms of cost transparency, too, the hyperscalers were confusing because “the final costs depend on a lot of factors and can hardly be calculated.”
That’s why kruu.com decided on gridscale, a public cloud from Germany that is better tailored to the needs of medium-sized companies and startups. A clear cloud dashboard was crucial. Without any training or specialized knowledge, an administrator can build and modify the infrastructure online in a graphical user interface. A Cologne-based cloud provider now offers the wedding platform high-performance storage on demand without cumbersome workarounds and superfluous reserves for peak loads in the future. Instead, kruu.com now has a storage solution that they simply pay for based on usage. This allows the company to easily scale its IT infrastructure without manual labor.
Keeping an eye on processes and costs
The simplicity won them over, and We Manage also moved most of its customer’s other primary systems, such as the platform’s backend, to the German cloud. The monthly invoices are easy to understand and the costs incurred can be tracked at any time. Schreiber now also works as a coach for other startups and warns founders against becoming dependent on hyperscalers.
That’s not a problem, he says, as long as it’s financed through by the capital providers. “But now, when many of them might have to save money for the first time, they realize how expensive their infrastructure really is. But then it’s too late, because they’ve been technically dependent for a long time,” warns Schreiber. He also recommends generally avoiding proprietary solution approaches, which are common among the large hyperscalers. That’s why kruu.com’s system landscape is largely based on standard architecture. “The gridscale concept fits perfectly with our strategy: no featurism, but proven open source technology in top quality,” says Lehr.