Executive Summary: Send Photos to Prison

Flikshop helps families stay connected with their incarcerated friends and relatives in over 2,000 jails, prisons, and juvenile facilities across the United States. Several times individuals in jail, prisons, and juvenile facilities lose their connection with their loved ones. Flikshop helps reconnect those incarcerated individuals with their families. Not only does Flikshop bring incarcerated individuals closer to their loved ones by sharing postcards, but it also helps them make an easier transition back home.

Customer challenge

  • The project was for developing a comprehensive CI/CD pipeline on AWS, enabling modernized deployments, resource optimization, proactive monitoring, and enhanced security for the client's application.
  • The client's monolithic architecture, with its tightly coupled codebase, suffered from code-level inefficiencies that caused performance bottlenecks and frequent downtime, especially under load.
  • The client's manual deployment approach involved repetitive tasks across multiple EC2 instances, creating operational overhead and increasing the risk of human error.
  • The client's legacy deployment across 27 EC2 instances resulted in high AWS costs ($2000/month).

Partner Solution

ITTStar recommended a development strategy using a separate region within the same account to isolate changes. This, combined with microservices deployed on EKS (with EC2, EBS, Autoscaling, and ELB), reduced costs by a substantial 75%.

The solution incorporated Amazon Route 53 for highly available and scalable DNS, along with self-healing capabilities and Horizontal Pod Autoscaling (HPA). This minimized downtime during maintenance, proactively scaled resources to meet demand, and ensured service continuity for users.

We deployed a scalable and resilient infrastructure using AWS CloudFormation, including a VPC, subnets, gateways, an autoscaling group (ASG), EKS cluster, ECR registry, and load balancer.

Implemented Jenkins-powered CI/CD pipeline for automated builds, tests, and deployments, significantly reducing deployment time and manual effort.

Integrated Kubernetes-Lens for visualization and Prometheus for comprehensive metrics collection, enabling proactive performance monitoring and incident detection.

Why AWS?

  • The client was already on the AWS Cloud platform.
  • Initially, the client was using 27 instances for 27 APIs. Later, ITTStar deployed each API as a micro-service and deployed them in the K8s cluster with 5 nodes which reduced the cost to 3/4th of the initial.
  • Old deployment was done manually, now ITTStar automated it by using the CI/CD tool (Jenkins). It reduced the deployment time.
  • ITTStar configured K8s-lens and Prometheus for monitoring.
  • With K8s deployment, there was zero downtime.

Why customers chose ITTStar?

ITTStar has previously worked on many similar implementations and this, combined with our strong skill set around DevOps won us the business. We also won with our dedication and service to the customer, which was very well received and praised.

We won this customer through experience, solid processes, and a strong customer service ethos. We also implemented all the requirements client had asked for and provided them smoother transition to the new platform running in Kubernetes with autoscaling configured and monitoring.

Impact & Result

ITTStar's unique solution transformed Flikshop’s business functioning in the following ways:

  • Flexibility - Old deployment was done manually. Now, ITTStar has automated that by using the CI/CD tool (Jenkins). It reduced the deployment time. With K8s deployment, there is zero down time.
  • Scalability - With the new solution, we have enabled horizontal Pod autoscaling in Kubernetes.
  • Cost Reduction - Initially Client was using 27 instances for 27 APIs, later ITTStar deployed each API as a micro-service and deployed it in K8s cluster with 5 nodes which reduced the cost to 3/4th of the initial.
  • Security & Resilience - Instances are running in a private subnet and controlled the network access to the instances. Configured HPA for better resilience

About Customer

  • Flikshop keeps families connected to their loved ones incarcerated in over 2,000 jails, prisons, and juvenile facilities across the US.
  • The Flikshop app allows users to send photos and personal messages as real postcards directly to their loved ones.
  • Flikshop makes it possible to share moments instantly, keep the family connected, and create a stronger reentry plan for every person in every facility in the country

Customer Testimonial

“I We had an incredible experience working with ITTStar. They were incredibly responsive, very capable and awesome communicators along our development journey.

ITTStar's team has been one of the best:

  • The ITTStar team maintained a diligent, detailed, and professional approach through the entire project, from planning to execution to follow up.
  • ITTStar always made us feel as if we were one team working to achieve a common goal.
  • The team members are very knowledgeable I will recommend this team a 100% of the time..“

Marcus Bullock, CEO & Founder, Flikshop

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