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Safiri's Migration from Heroku to AWS with Flightcontrol

How transportation startup Safiri escaped high costs and low performance to achieve scalability with Flightcontrol

Executive Summary

Transportation startup Safiri chose Heroku as their initial development and deployment platform, but after going to market, the high costs and lower performance of Heroku had them looking for a more scalable solution with AWS and Flightcontrol.


Background: Safiri was looking to find a cloud provider that they could continue to grow with for the long haul.

The Challenge

Profile: Safiri is a transportation technology company that operates in Tanzania and Zambia. Safiri provides mapping and ticketing technology to bus systems that helps them automate their operations and helps riders find the location of buses en-route. All services are hosted in the cloud.

Pain Points: As Safiri continues to grow and add customers, the amount of traffic to their systems on Heroku was increasing.

CEO Abraham Itule: “As I started to grow and scale, I just started adding ridiculous number of dynos in there [Heroku] and I still found it not as fast as I would like it to be.”

The Decision-Making Process

Criteria: When it came to leaving Heroku, Abraham considered the two largest cloud options - AWS and Azure. He did create his own infrastructure with the PM2 process manager, but that did not give him the “git push” deployment workflow from Heroku.

Why Flightcontrol: Flightcontrol solved the initial infrastructure problem that many face moving to Amazon Web Services.

The Implementation

First Impressions: Abraham was in the middle of spinning up his own deployment infrastructure on AWS, and was able to replace two weeks worth of work with an hour of setup for Flightcontrol.

Collaboration: During the initial implementation on Flightcontrol, Abraham ran into a few issues with failing health checks. Because Flightcontrol offers first-class support, he was able to hop on a call with Flightcontrol’s CTO, Mina Abadir, to debug and solve these issues.

The Results

Immediate Benefits: Safiri kept the same “git push” deployment workflow they were used to, but now have the cost and scalability benefits of deploying on AWS.

Long-Term Impact: In addition to the cost and performance improvements, Safiri is able to use any AWS region to deploy their code. Because Heroku only supports two regions without paying extra for Private Spaces, they were deploying in Europe. Now, they can be close to their customers by deploying in AWS’s South Africa data center.

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