Although Summer is starting to ebb into Autumn in the northern hemisphere, it's just getting going south of the equator, so there is still time to profile another start-up in our on-going series of profiles!
Today I'm very happy to introduce you to Mendeley, a London based startup that harnesses cloud computing to help the academic community manage existing libraries of research, discover new research and collaborate with researchers around the world. They are simultaneously building the world’s largest crowd-sourced database of research covering all disciplines from Arts to Zoology. Mendeley’s software also anonymously aggregates all usage data in the cloud and tracks what articles are being read, by whom, when and how often.
Like a lot of great ideas, the founders of Mendeley set out to solve their own problem, and came up with the concept for Mendeley while studying for higher degrees in business, psychology and machine learning. The team includes many people with backgrounds in software development, academia and publishing.
I spoke to Dan Harvey, a Data Mining Engineer at Mendeley about how they came to use AWS:
"We started out buying our own hardware 3–4 years ago. Initially our main reasons for using AWS were due to being able to scale up far more quickly and cheaply than we could ourselves for document storage. Over time this is still true with regard to cost and scaling, but the elastic properties of EC2 mean we only have to pay for resources when we are using them. More recently we're finding that AWS gives our developers more flexibility to have the resources they need to test out new code and ideas, rather than stepping on one another's toes on shared servers"
Mendeley are using a wide collection of AWS services to power their fast growing business, which now manages over 100 million papers.
"We wanted to produce previews of these documents for use on our article pages on the web. This was done using a combination of Elastic Beanstalk to host a Java app to render PDFs into raw images, S3 to store the data, CloudFront to serve the images to end users, and SQS to glue this all together", said Dan.
Introduction to AWS
Dan will join us to talk about Mendeley's use of AWS in more detail at our upcoming Introduction to AWS event in London, where newcomers to the cloud can learn about how to build scalable, elastic applications on AWS. Attendance is free, but you'll need to register.
- Mendeley have their own API, with which developers can build applications... for science! The Mendeley Binary Battle, an API competition judged by Amazon CTO Werner Vogels and others, runs until the end of September.
- If you're a start-up running on AWS, don't forget that there is still time to enter this year's AWS Start-up Challenge, a worldwide competition with prizes at all levels including $100,000 in cash and AWS credits for the grand prize winner. Learn more, and enter today.