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Posted: December 12, 2013
Startup Uses Cloud Solution to Build Top-Selling Application
When Eric and Liz Hedstrom were married, they decided that the world needed a better way to manage all the details that go into a wedding. So they created WeddingHappy, one the most popular wedding planning applications in the Apple App Store. Initially, all data from the app was stored locally on the device. To ensure a consistent experience across devices and help customers to share data with family members (present and future), the rapidly expanding company chose Windows Azure.
WeddingHappy is one of the top wedding planning applications in the Apple App Store. Created by Fuphie, LLC, an emerging mobile application development company, WeddingHappy can be used to create wedding task lists, set deadlines, and get automatic reminders. The app also integrates a vendor management system so users can keep vendors’ contact information in one place as well as assign tasks to specific vendors.
Until recently, all data associated with the app was stored locally on a user’s smartphone. This limited data accessibility, however. “The challenge is that many of our customers have more than one device, and they want to be able to access data across devices and share with it their fiancé and family members,” says Eric Hedstrom, Chief Technology Officer, Fuphie, LLC. “We've known for a long time that we needed to build a server storage solution so we could enable this functionality.”
Initially, the Hedstroms set out to create their own data service. They quickly realized, however, that this would draw them away from their core business activities. “We didn't want to have to maintain the servers and the operating system on the servers, as well as the databases and everything else such as security and scaling. That's why we started looking at services that were already built out,” says Eric Hedstrom.
The company’s search for a cloud service began with smaller providers such as Parse, which offered many of the storage features that the company required. But Parse had just been acquired by Facebook, and that raised concerns. Eric Hedstrom says, “We wanted to be sure we were entering a long-term business relationship. We simply didn’t know what Facebook’s plans were for the service.”
The Hedstroms also looked at StackMob. But reliability posed an issue. The free service plan offered by StackMob did not offer a service level agreement, and the fee-based plans were too expensive, especially for a startup. “We're not at the point where we can afford thousands of dollars a month for an SLA,” says Eric Hedstrom. There were technical issues as well, including an overly complicated backup process. As he says, “We discovered that StackMob didn’t offer backup of data without us having to create a whole database by hand. It doesn't offer any way to back up the whole set of data.”