From traditional server
Towards efficiency serverless architecture
Tech stackUsed tools & technologies
It’s quite a big challenge, acknowledges Sascha Worms (27) – Full Stack Developer & Scrum Master at Team Rockstars IT. Everything had to go into the cloud for Publishing House Zwijsen, and that’s not just settled. But, with teamwork, anything is possible. “We always look at the big picture, beyond the problem a customer comes to us with.” Together with a team of IT professionals, Sascha went to work at Publishing House Zwijsen a year and a half ago to develop educational learning software in a cloud structure. “Everyone is very involved, I get a lot of energy from creating something valuable that an awful lot of students use every day.”
“Zwijsen develops teaching methods for primary education and is known for Veilig Leren Lezen: one of the oldest teaching methods in the Netherlands with which children learn to read from letters to first words. This has been around since the 1960s; some ten million children learned to read with it. What sets Zwijsen apart is the combination between books and digital methods, a hybrid model where schools can choose what to use. At Zwijsen, everything is about bringing learning to life.”
How would you describe Team Rockstars IT as a company?
“We are a secondment agency that focuses on making impact for SME+ companies. We work with companies where an IT person from us can really contribute something. Hence the name: we make sure our people can rock and shine. We are truly a community, and that is golden. People care about each other. You are not just sent anywhere, but always work on projects that are a good fit for you.”
Hoe begon de samenwerking met Uitgeverij Zwijsen?
“About a year and a half ago, we as Team Rockstars were asked to work for Zwijsen. The product portfolio was expanded. With the growing number of users and team members in the development team, Zwijsen did not want to run into limits, both product-technical and server-technical. Therefore, AWS, Amazon’s cloud environment, came into the picture fairly quickly because of their experience and commitment and the positive results from the proof of concepts. Then we started rebuilding the applications for a new serverless architecture, all cloud. One of the main reasons for doing so is that learning methods are typically only used from nine in the morning to four in the afternoon. If you do that with a traditional server, you still pay full time for power and usage. So cloud is an ideal solution in this case: we can buy capacity in advance from AWS during school hours. It is part of a virtual device that we use for a third of the day, the rest of the time someone else can use it. So super efficient.”
What are the biggest advantages to working with a cloud infrastructure?
“Because we work entirely in the cloud, we can scale up very easily. You can imagine that the time when all students log in at 8:30 is quite a peak, we can handle that much better now according to our performance tests. Real-time dashboards allow us to track how intensively applications are being used. Furthermore, we can also roll out new features much faster. In general, cloud makes things you used to have to go to a server farm or spend days doing, a matter of seconds or a push of a button. This not only increases your capacity, but also your job happiness. After all, at the end of the day, you prefer to be developing great new features.”
Edwin Derks was a guest on the live radio show during Smart Business Week. You can watch that excerpt below.
What are you currently working on, and what are you proud of?
“We are working on a pilot that will go live early next year. I can’t release too much about it yet, but what’s special about it is that we as an IT team get to watch along in the classrooms. So we can see how everything is received and used by students and teachers. That makes me personally very happy. Technology is everywhere, there are few companies that do not want to make a cloud tour, but really contribute something to the development of Dutch children, in which company can you find that? That is unique and very valuable about working for Publishing House Zwijsen, I think.”
“Furthermore, I helped build the look-up book of Safe Learning to Read. This is a digital booklet especially for children for whom Dutch is a second language. You can click on a word after which it will be read aloud. This allows students to figure out for themselves which word to write without needing the teacher. It is only a relatively small product, but is very well received and gets good reviews.”
What does our rockstar say?
Technology can be found everywhere, but really contributing something to the development of Dutch children? That is unique and very valuable about working for Publishing House Zwijsen, I think.