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Blog: amazon

Making the Layar App Faster

Chris Cameron January 25, 2013

If you’re a frequent user of Layar, you may have noticed some improvements to the speed of the app lately. From the end user’s perspective, speed is one of the top priorities for having a positive experience when viewing things like interactive print.

No one wants to sit around waiting for data to load, and that’s why we’ve recently taken steps to improve the speed of the information we send to your mobile device when you scan interactive print content.

When Layar launched, there was no way that our trio of co-founders could have foreseen where the app would grow to in just a few quick years. The Layar App has been downloaded 28 million times all over the globe, so it makes sense that our data be global as well.

Previously, no matter where you were, scanning interactive print content meant transferring data to and from our main servers in Europe. But now, thanks to the wonders of the cloud (Amazon CloudFront to be specific), we can spread multiple “nodes” out across the world closer to our users, increasing efficiency and speed.

There are close to 40 nodes in all, located in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Now, no matter where you are on Earth, chances are you are a lot closer to the data you want than you were before.

It’s faster, it’s more efficient, and it’s all part of how we’re dedicated to providing the best interactive print experience for our users.


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Layar was down due to Amazon problems

Cari Davidson August 8, 2011

[0:45 am] The latest news from Amazon: Lightning hit a power plant supplying power to the Amazon infrastructure. They’re working to restore power.
[8:40 am] Most of our services were back online at 4:00 am this morning. Still, indexing of our layers for the Nearby catalog page is not working and analytics on layer usage might not be running correctly. All in all, not a very good night to start the week.
[5.45 pm] We are fully operational again. Amazon has handled this the best they could actually and were very clear today in their communication to us about how to get back all our RDS instances. 

At the moment of writing this post, our services are still down. This is our longest ever major service disruption since we moved our services to Amazon’s Web Services infrastructure 18 months ago. Four hours ago, at 8 p.m. Amsterdam time, I was warned by Jurg, from, that there was major connectivity loss in Amazon’s network. That was just 5 minutes after the problems started.

Since then I’ve been continuously following #AWS on Twitter and looking at our AWS dashboards to see the progress. It’s frustrating, there’s nothing you can do except wait. You read of other web services in Europe that are down. You know Amazon engineers are probably working their best to get things back to normal. And you hope that when they do, you don’t have to restore from backups.

Right now, the instance serving this blog is working. So we’ve redirected our domain to point to the blog for now. Best thing you can do if you need Layar, is wait till Monday. I’m sure we’ll be back online by then.

Dirk, CTO


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