If you’ve ever wanted to see the innards of an iPad or needed help fixing your toilet, you probably know iFixit, the DIY repair site, its popular teardown feature and its QA. (My favorite question: What to do when “my drunk friend slept with my iPhone and peed in his pants?”)
Now the company plans to parlay the Amazon Web Services and Rightscale infrastructure underlying the iFixit site to take on the problem of product support and documentation for businesses with a new division called Dozuki.
The thinking is that the days of paper manuals and documentation are (or should be) numbered. But the useful features of those manuals–the step-by-step photos and instructions–can be replicated and improved online, said Kyle Wien, CEO of iFixit. That’s what Dozuki wants to provide business customers including big retailers and manufacturers.
A beta version of the service has been used for months by Lezyne, the high-end bike parts maker and by Cal Poly, which is using it for instruction manuals and other material for internal use. Chip maker Micron’s Crucial division is also using early Dozuki code.
iFixit is a confirmed member of the AWS fan club because of the extreme, spiky nature of the demand it sees. Lots of Web sites point to iFixit when there’s a big product launch or problem. “We learned early on when Slashdot linked to us that we have to rapidly scale our servers,” Wien said. The AWS-Rightscale combo lets them do that in spades, he said. Dozuki, like iFixit, builds on the company’s own framework, with lots of PHP, MySQL, and memcache distributed memory. ”We build on our own framework and we’ve been working for six years — we are battle tested,” Wien said.
The Dozuki technology will be offered to big retail establishments and other companies needing public-facing guides or repair manuals/documentation for their sales and service reps.
Dozuki goes live on Wednesday. iFixit hopes that means you won’t be dealing with mountains of paper manuals or documentation any longer.
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