I Love My Local Farmer is a fictional company inspired by customer interactions with AWS Solutions Architects. Any stories told in this blog are not related to a specific customer. Similarities with any real companies, people, or situations are purely coincidental. Stories in this blog represent the views of the authors and are not endorsed by AWS.
Today I am excited to introduce the I Love My Local Farmer (ILMLF) engineering blog on Medium. Here we will share the story of our cloud journey on AWS.
For those of you that have never heard of our company, allow me to introduce it. I Love My Local Farmer is an online marketplace that lets people buy and sell locally grown fruit and vegetables. We have been around for just over a decade, and business is great!
Our company was founded in the late 2000s by a group of friends that were passionate about local farming produce. We were looking for a way to easily find farmers who were based nearby and that were interested in selling directly to individual customers. We knew that such a service would not only be useful to us, but to the wider community. Our solution: a website with a simple directory listing farmers in our area.
Over time, the popularity of the website grew. The feedback from our users indicated a desire to see a richer set of features. What began as a simple directory of addresses quickly grew into a fully-fledged marketplace. Farmers were able to list specific products with prices and pictures, customers were able to search the site for specific products in their area, and all transactions were handled on the site. In addition to this, The ILMLF team curated a list of recommended producers in each region. In 2010 we launched the ILMLF platform in France nationwide, and by the end of 2016 we had expanded our activity to three more major agricultural producers Spain, Italy and Germany.
We felt we had arrived at a business model that was working well. We decided to reduce our focus on innovation, and concentrate on stabilisation. This was before the COVID-19 pandemic began to have a major impact on the operations of many businesses, including our own. We could no longer run on the assumption that customers were able to collect produce directly from farmers. In order to keep things moving, we had to find a way to help farmers organise deliveries through the platform. We also needed to provide a solution to allow our employees to work from home.
At the beginning of the pandemic, company servers were running at almost full capacity, and we had trouble provisioning the required additional infrastructure. Our CTO, Inès, considered the Cloud to be the only viable option. We decided to adopt AWS as a cloud provider due to its broad portfolio of services that would accommodate our needs.
This blog is dedicated to retelling the story of our cloud journey in the hope that you, the reader, will find it as a helpful guide in your own endeavours. We should clarify that the architectural decisions we made were influenced by our business requirements, budget and IT staff skills. We will nonetheless attempt to explain how and why we made these choices in the hope that our experience will be of educational value.