The first driving lesson booking platform, driving-school.app puts learner drivers in contact with driving instructors throughout Switzerland. The platform provides a turnkey service developed in collaboration with qualified instructors. It automatically manages schedules, payments, bookings, student monitoring and invoices. To oversee its development, the driving-school.app team opted for the Infomaniak infrastructure with Jelastic Cloud.

“For a small development team, it is essential to choose reliable, high-performance and dynamic tools that are easy to maintain. Opting for Jelastic Cloud offers us peace of mind in fostering the growth of our solution.” Julien Suard, CEO of driving-school.app

driving-school.app: the new starting point to obtain a driving licence

Appointment management, prospecting, student monitoring, invoicing, answers to questions, diversification of the current offer: driving-school.app saves driving school instructors over 25 hours of administrative work every month.

In Switzerland alone, 200,000 driving licence candidates take lessons every year to become independent on the roads.

Developed with learner drivers and instructors, driving-school.app is the reference platform for learning to drive. Candidates trying to obtain their driving licence can compare instructors as well as booking driving, awareness, first aid or theory lessons.

Specialists in development and the user experience, Julien Suard, CEO, and his associated, Florent Poittevin, CTO, identify the paths of both learner drivers and instructors in order to remove all the obstacles on this market and “inject a little gas”. Initially focussing on Switzerland, the platform already lists 1,400 instructors, while 1,500 student drivers have already made some 10,000 bookings during its first year.

The technical challenge

  • To create development and production environments for driving-school.app independently (without having infrastructure administration skills).
  • To handle the expanding operations of the app by changing the capacities and configuration of the infrastructure without wasting the budget on a pool of resources.
  • To implement an activity recovery plan (ARP) to redeploy the service easily in the event of a problem.

The decision: Infomaniak preferred to Microsoft Azure and AWS

Florent Poittevin, CTO @driving-school.app

With the plethora of active cloud operators, we already had experience with certain renowned cloud services. We were very disappointed with Microsoft Azure, which suffered numerous glitches for a high price. The experience with AWS was catastrophic, despite the assistance of a senior developer. Advanced training was an absolute necessity in order to know how to use it and understand what the 50 acronyms for AWS services meant.

Could we really go down that road as a start-up? Not with any realistic chance of success. That’s when a colleague told me about Jelastic Cloud. This discovery was a pleasant surprise as, without any training, we required absolutely no assistance in implementing the infrastructure that drives the website and the driving-school.app.

For the users (students and instructors), it is also reassuring to know that their data are stored in Switzerland under local legislation, and are not exported abroad where they would be subject to less stringent legislations relating to personal data.

An infrastructure developed independently

Jelastic Cloud provides a simply incomparable lever. We created the infrastructure necessary to our production and pre-production environments in just a a few clicks with no outside assistance. The architecture of the app is simple and couldn’t be more conventional. It includes:

  • an Apache proxy
  • a MySQL database
  • an image docker containing our .NET application (application server)

All this was done with the Jelastic Cloud environment topology system. Moreover, it was easy to implement the SSL via the integrated Let’s Encrypt module. Once our production environment was installed, it was easy to create the pre-production environment by duplicating the entire environment, reducing the resources allocated and assigning a new URL. Done!

Attractive rates. Payment on demand. Scalable and dynamic resources.

In terms of popularity, driving-school.app is well on its way to becoming the leading platform for anyone looking for a driving instructor in Switzerland. We are very well referenced and the current traffic offers the instructors registered with us an unprecedented increase in visibility. There is naturally a snowball effect. Hence the importance of the scalability and prices.

“The cost of Jelastic Cloud is extremely low compared to the cloud giants such as Azure or AWS. We even have a clear vision of the cost per period according to our configuration, depending on whether the environment is in demand or not.” Julien Suard, CEO of driving-school.app

To ensure the growth of the service, we can implement load balancing by installing a new application server node and automatically configuring our Apache proxy. Until now, this hasn’t been necessary and we have only needed to increase the resources allocated to our application server by assigning more units of resources to offset the increased demands placed on our service. We can subsequently add an ElasticSearch to our infrastructure in order to improve the performances of our lesson searches.

“Instead of provisioning resources to cover busy periods (and paying an extra cost for slow periods), we can configure the automatic addition of dynamic resources in the event of a sudden rise in demand. This ensures financial savings while providing reassurance with regard to increased demand.” Florent Poittevin, CTO of driving-school.app

With an, as yet, small technical team, Jelastic Cloud is really THE ideal solution for us to host our service. Today, it would be difficult for us to change solution because it provides genuine user comfort thanks to its simplicity, cost and flexibility. Add to that the high-quality support, and we can’t imagine ourselves continuing without Infomaniak.

Automatic with Swiss Backup

We also need to back up our databases several times a day in order to be able to redeploy our service easily and without losing any information in the event of a problem. In technical terms, only the database element is necessary to reconstruct our service without any information loss as the images are also stored in the database.

We therefore chose to perform recurrent database dumps (copies) several times a day on a dedicated volume using a script called via cron. Furthermore, to guarantee that we can recover these dumps in the event of a problem on this volume, we implemented a copy routine on Swiss Backup. The system copies the database node and the volume containing the dumps.

We successfully implemented this mechanism in just a few clicks via the integration available in Jelastic Cloud. This routine is executed several times a day with a rotation of backups so that the copies are only kept for a certain period of time.

Swiss Backup therefore enables us to have a sound activity recovery plan.

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