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Case Study: PF Loop Relies on Engine Yard to Deliver Reliable, Scalable Positivity Platform Hosted on AWS


Industry: Information Technology and Services
Location: Arlington, MA

It was a big decision to go with Engine Yard and I have not had a single regret since we started working with them three years ago.
- David Kopans, Founder of PF Loop

Customer Profile

PF Loop is a software company with a global mission to help people Make More Positive in the world. Research shows that remembering and celebrating the good things in life has a huge positive impact, so PF Loop has created a positive feedback software solution, the pSnap Platform, that allows you to record, share, and remember the moments in life that matter. PF Loop’s Positivity Platform captures and delivers positive feedback using cloud-hosted applications such as the Positive Selfie App and the Positive Coaching App now being offered to mobile users. PF Loop is also delivering pSnap connected solutions to provide positive employee reinforcement in the workplace via the Weekly AGU service. The company also plans to offer a third-party developer API for its pSnap Platform.

PF Loop has its headquarters in Arlington, Massachusetts.


When PF Loop decided to launch a new hosted Positivity Platform and associated services, they knew they wanted to use Ruby on Rails as their staging and deployment platform. The founders of PF Loop had previous experience developing in Ruby on Rails, and it seemed the perfect approach for their new pSnap Platform. They also knew from past experience that Engine Yard offers the best Ruby on Rails support available. By partnering with Engine Yard, the PF Loop engineers know they have a technical team that understands their Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosting environment and that can provide a reliable and robust Ruby on Rails production platform. By leaving IT worries to Engine Yard, the PF Loop technical team is free to focus on developing their core platform rather than deployment. As David Kopans, Founder of PF Loop, explains, “Thanks to Engine Yard, I sleep better at night.”

The Opportunity

When Gene Nomicos, Chief Technologist for PF Loop, began architecting the pSnap Platform and making key technology choices he determined from the outset that Ruby on Rails would be the ideal development platform for the patented Positivity Platform. Gene knew he needed a cloud-based platform that could handle enterprise and mobile users for not only the underlying pSnap Platform but also the growing family of positive feedback apps that connect to pSnap via its developer API.

Ruby on Rails made sense for a variety of reasons. Firstly, with eyes set on large scale growth, they wanted a platform that was robust and scalable. Ruby on Rails also serves as a great MVC (model-view-control) platform that allows for rapid software development cycles. Most importantly, when Ruby on Rails is implemented proficiently, it delivers outstanding website performance. In fact, many of the leading high-performance commercial sites are built using Ruby on Rails, including Basecamp, Hulu, CrunchBase, SlideShare, Shopify, Airbnb, Zendesk, and GitHub, to name a few.

As part of its go-to-market strategy, PF Loop planned to offer various hosted applications, including The Positive Coaching App for desktop and mobile users, The Positive Selfie App for mobile users, and the Weekly AGU enterprise software platform to help both companies and employees ask for, give, and use feedback effectively in order to improve operationally and professionally. The company also planned to open the pSnap API to third-party developers to provide interdependent communications with other mobile and hosted applications. To support these products, PF Loop required a stable and scalable web hosting platform, so they chose Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) cloud computing services, but what about deployment support?

As a startup, it was important that PF Loop be judicious with available resources. The decision was made to outsource critical, non-customer-facing technology in order to focus in-house development resources on the customer interface and core application development. They knew it was time to call in the Ruby on Rails experts at Engine Yard.

The Results

Having mapped out their strategy, the PF Loop team decided not to start writing any code before engaging Engine Yard.

“We wanted to use AWS, but we did not want to hire a team of IT experts to figure out how to manage and maintain it, so we chose Engine Yard simply because it is the best platform to deploy our applications to AWS,” said Nomicos.

Nomicos adds that Engine Yard’s support has been an important component of PF Loop’s software development strategy. The company uses agile software development with rapid sprint cycles. PF Loop uses Bitbucket for source code version control and Engine Yard for their Staging and Production environments. Pushing code to Staging and Production could not be any easier, and Engine Yard makes scaling those environments trivially simple. At present, much of the low-level testing is being done on an internal local test environment; but as the PF Loop development and test teams grow, Nomicos plans to set up a separate test environment on Engine Yard as well.

“Our experience with Engine Yard has exceeded all of our expectations,” said Nomicos. “Engine Yard just works as expected—we don’t have to know the bits and bytes of AWS, and we don’t have to be IT experts.”

Engine Yard also has proven to be a valuable business partner. According to Kopans, Engine Yard has been able to provide a reliable infrastructure that he can bank on. When talking to potential investors and enterprise customers, PF Loop can boast a robust framework built using Ruby on AWS with Engine Yard as part of the stack.

Kopans says he sleeps better at night knowing that he doesn’t have to worry about his business’s core infrastructure. He counts on Engine Yard as the partner he can rely on to maintain PF Loop’s business-critical systems. And if there is a problem, Kopans doesn’t have to fill out a ticket—the Engine Yard support team is there right away to help find a solution.

“Upon occasion, we have had some quirks in our own code that Engine Yard helped us track down,” noted Nomicos. “Engine Yard does not play the ‘that’s your problem’ game. They truly care about helping us have the best solution for our customers.”

“It was a big decision to go with Engine Yard,” Kopans said, “and I have not had a single regret since we started working with them three years ago.”

About Engine Yard

For more than a decade, companies have relied on Engine Yard to keep their online operations running flawlessly. Engine Yard is one of the most trusted names in Ruby on Rails development, deploying and managing business-critical apps for customers in the cloud. In fact, Engine Yard was founded by leaders in the Rails open source community, and the company’s team of Rails support engineers continually receive a 98 percent satisfaction rating from customers.


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