pixx.io: Less Work, More Flow

Thanks to migration to the AWS cloud, the media management software is now faster and more secure! kreuzwerker executed the complex project quickly and smoothly.

Richard Michel and Christoph Trautbeck founded an agency for individual software and web applications in 2001. They were constantly confronted with a jumble of images, videos and other files. To get a handle on this, they founded pixx.io in 2015. The digital asset management software initially came with a hardware box, but pixx.io has been available as software-as-a-service since the end of 2016. The software makes it easier to set up file archives and simplifies the handling of licenses and approvals. Its strengths include smart search and filter functions with automatic tags and metadata, as well as simple collaboration in teams and with external parties.

It began with a box that you put on your desk. You could save all your media files - images, videos, PDFs and much more - in it and search for them in seconds. Richard Michel and Christoph Trautbeck used this business model to found their startup pixx.io in Mühldorf, Bavaria in 2015. But already one year later, the pixx.io box was obsolete. It simply couldn’t keep up with the massive amount of media data. A lot of credit has to be given to the two founders for quickly realizing this and changing their business model. Today, pixx.io is a cloud-based software as a service. Small and medium companies and public authorities especially use the service to manage their teams’ media.

There were a few hurdles to overcome before the service became as powerful as it is today. One milestone was the move to the public cloud where pixx.io has now been for three years. Before that, the software ran on the customer’s premises. However, as the number of users grew, the management decided to migrate. They had no luck with their first cloud provider, and the lack of support left a lot to be desired. They had meant well and thought that a German provider would be easier to communicate to the predominantly German clientele.

In order to find another service provider, founder Richard Michel asked around in the cloud scene to see who might be an alternative. “AWS had been on our radar for some time, and we ended up at kreuzwerker on their recommendation,” says Felix Schillmaier. And because AWS funded kreuzwerker’s consulting, the deal was done quickly.

In January 2023 kreuzwerkers Arne Haese and Alexa Perovic hauled the pixx.io software into the AWS cloud. Using terraform, they rolled out the entire infrastructure as code. To set up the organization foundation in AWS they used superwerker, an open source multi-account management software from kreuzwerker, that offers the best conditions in terms of security and compliance standards for the separation of workload accounts. Haese and Perovic gradually developed a flexible solution from a complex and rigid software monolith with a master instance and various worker instances. For example, the worker instances are now managed in autoscaling groups, which automatically provide replacement instances in the event of failures or absorb peak loads by increasing capacity at short notice. In addition, there are now microservices outsourced in containers, such as the module for converting, indexing and thumbnailing images. It is also important to secure the instances according to the least privilege principle. If a hacker attack occurs, it cannot spread because each instance is only allowed to do what is minimally necessary, but no more.

Sounds time-consuming, and it was, says Arne Haese. A great deal of training and manual work was required to penetrate and simplify the complex installation at the previous cloud service provider and raise it to a modern level, for example in terms of data resilience and automation.

kreuzwerker completed the migration in August 2023. After additional work on the databases, pixx.io flipped the switch in December. Since then, the entire software has been running in the AWS cloud. The benefits were immediate. The system has become faster and more secure, and pixx.io is saving a lot of money. And the customers are having the last laugh. The frequent complaints about slow downloads are a thing of the past; the software has been much more stable since the move. “This is a huge step forward for pixx.io,” says Felix Schillmaier.

“The collaboration was perfect, the pixx.io team was very friendly and pragmatic,” praises Haese. The customer also had high praise. “Right at the first meeting, I noticed that we were a good fit both professionally and personally,” says Schillmaier. He sees kreuzwerker’s proactive and independent way of working as a huge plus point.