CASE STUDY

Zenfolio Relies on Wasabi for Highly-Performant Primary Storage of Photography SaaS Platform

August 2, 2023By David Ball

Zenfolio is a unique software-as-a-service platform that enables photographers to easily create stunning online storefronts to showcase and sell their photos as prints, ready-framed art, on coffee mugs, tee-shirts, calendars, and more. With a community of more than 150,000 photographers and creative professionals spanning 130 countries, the company is entrusted with petabytes of customer image files, so reliability and fault tolerance is Zenfolio’s number one priority. To ensure that their service–and their customers’ livelihood–operates smoothly 24×7, they needed a dependable backup to their primary storage that provided excellent performance without breaking the bank. 

High Availability Drives Search for a High-Performance Primary Storage Solution 

When Zenfolio was founded in the mid-2000's, the company stored customer images in its traditional data center using an array of disks in a storage area network (SAN). A few years ago, when the company decided to begin leveraging the benefits of the cloud, it developed its next-generation service using IBM Cloud. Today, Zenfolio stores over 20 PB of data in cloud-based storage powered by trusted partners like Wasabi and IBM for use by its systems in the data center and various cloud compute providers.  

“Our customers rely on Zenfolio to maintain their images and ensure that they’re always available, so we try not to put all of our eggs in one basket,” said Chris Gauthier, Senior Manager for Data Center and IT Operations at Zenfolio. In fact, the company’s CTO, Keith Barraclough, has always put great emphasis on performance, reliability, and availability. Zenfolio partnered with IBM because of the triple-redundant storage for photographers’ precious original photographs.  Wasabi was chosen as the primary storage provider for digital order fulfillment, web-optimized images, watermarks, and other content served on Zenfolio Classic platform because of the performance, reliability, availability, and affordability. 

Wasabi Hot Cloud Storage Is Fast with No Hidden Fees  

Gauthier was pleased with the performance of the storage solution he’d inherited from his predecessor. Since he first began at Zenfolio in 2019, Gauthier has helped the company expand its Wasabi footprint, especially when it comes to simplifying its storage provider usage. “Wasabi is very competitive and performant for our platforms, so we are trying to further integrate them into our ecosystem,” said Gauthier. 

He also appreciates the low cost of Wasabi. “We’re always price-conscious,” said Gauthier. Wasabi gives us both performance as well as value.”  

Part of that value is Wasabi’s policy of not charging any additional fees for API calls or requests. “That is an immense benefit,” said Gauthier, especially because Zenfolio developed its own unique application to store data with Wasabi via the AWS S3 API. “While the other cloud providers add on API charges as well as data egress fees, Wasabi doesn’t do either. That keeps costs down and prices predictable.” 

Gauthier also did his own testing for performance across a variety of cloud storage solutions. When asked if the results showed that Wasabi was faster, he said, “Unequivocally.”  

Wasabi gives us performance as well as value. While the other cloud providers add on API charges as well as data egress fees, Wasabi doesn’t do either. That keeps costs down and prices predictable.”

- Chris Gauthier, Senior Manager for Datacenter and IT Operations, Zenfolio

Zenfolio Boosts Fault Tolerance and Reliability with Wasabi  

Since partnering with Wasabi, Zenfolio has been able to deliver a robust platform based on reliable high-performance storage. Zenfolio leverages multiple storage providers to meet performance and availability goals.  Wasabi’s is consistently a top-performer enabling Zenfolio to meet those goals. 

Zenfolio’s platform is intelligent enough to detect when a storage provider is having performance issues or is unreachable.  If such a situation occurs, Zenfolio’s platform will automatically use an alternate storage provider to continue providing a high-quality experience to its customers. 

Today, “Zenfolio is a cloud-first company,” said Gauthier. “We partner with top-tier companies that give us the best ingredients to deliver a reliable, high-performance service.” One of those companies is Wasabi, which offered the combined performance and value that, according to Gauthier, enabled Zenfolio to “use a multicloud strategy, never reliant on a single vendor.” 

What’s Next for Zenfolio? 

Gauthier reported that Zenfolio is updating its Classic platform, which is a data-center-based application, to work in the cloud alongside the company’s latest-generation service. As Zenfolio leverages cloud-based services, it is working with its partners, like Wasabi, to implement private connectivity between the application and storage layers, thus increasing security.  “When you move as much data as we do, you need a top-tier storage provider who can handle our volume,” said Gauthier. 

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