Adopting Amazon Services Helped Ula Enhance Productivity and Scalability Instantly
Amazon helped Ula efficiently scale its operations and promote instant productivity
Micro enterprises are employing less than nine employees and selling locally, comprise 98% of Indonesia’s economy. Ula, short for Untung Lancar Aman, is a B2B e-commerce marketplace app with a goal to solve these pain points through technology. Its MSME customers can order the products they need on their mobile phones and expect delivery within two days. The startup serves more than 100,000 customers across Java Island from its warehouses that stock over 6,000 in-demand stock-keeping units (SKUs).
The Ula app launched in January 2020 and has acquired over 100,000 users over the last two years. The app was built with simplicity and utility in mind, as many small business owners have basic mobile devices and struggle with poor network connections. Ula’s founders chose to build the app on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud, based on their past positive experience with the platform in their previous company. The app is at least one-third lighter than its competitors, making it easier for MSMEs to download and use in any setting. The Ula app uses about 10 MB of mobile device memory, whereas its competitors use between 15 to 19 MB.
In addition to simplicity, the Ula app was built to scale. Its business volume has grown 300 times since the company’s launch, and Ula plans for further expansion across Indonesia and into other Southeast Asian countries. The business adopted a fully containerized approach, using Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) for automated orchestration at any scale. The startup also controls costs by using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Spot Instances in its development, staging, and production environments.
Ula’s DevOps and Engineering teams configured its AWS infrastructure, including Spot Instances, using Terraform infrastructure as code software. The startup also consulted with its AWS account team and used the AWS Well-Architected tool to ensure high availability and reliability from the get-go in its production environment. As a result, the Ula app maintains at least 99% uptime. In addition, the startup leverages backup Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances, in case Spot Instances get terminated and uses AWS Auto Scaling to scale resources on demand.
Collaboration among team members, an innovative, customer-first mindset, and the ease of finding and using tools on AWS contributes to an efficient build-and-deploy cycle. As such, alignment between Ula’s DevOps and engineering teams is critical to the startup’s successful operation. Its DevOps team strives to create templates and tools that expedite the engineers’ ability to carry out their jobs.
Looking ahead, Ula plans to explore more AWS services to scale rapidly as it eyes domestic and international expansion. The business has captured the attention of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who invested in Ula’s most recent financing round. Its DevOps team is also working on enhancing its continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline, to roll out new tools for engineers and new features for Ula users even faster.