Ticketmaster experiences the traffic equivalent of Black Friday every time tickets for a major gig or show go on sale.
That's according to Simon Tarry, director of engineering strategy at the firm, speaking to V3 ahead of the V3 Cloud and Infrastructure Live event on 20 and 21 April 2015.
"Ticketmaster has been handling web traffic for almost two decades so we've built up a lot of our own infrastructure, and part of the challenge we face, as a US company, is how to manage that diverse array of infrastructure that has grown through the acquisition of ticketing businesses around the world," Tarry explained.
Ticketmaster's existing infrastructure was facing unprecedented demand from scaling ticketing platforms and a growing audience increasingly consisting not just of fans but automated bots.
"We’re faced with Black Friday-size traffic during a large on-sale, so we try to separate our human traffic from bot traffic," Tarry told V3.
"We're assessing at the moment that kind of journey - how best to take advantage of cloud architecture -so a lot of planning and training is going on right now."
An earlier pilot involved a cloud migration with an e-commerce stack. "We tried that first as a short project as it was limited in scope to a certain degree," said Tarry.
"But we made a lot of assumptions about the infrastructure that weren't true. So we had to challenge a lot of our thinking about the infrastructure and how it would perform. The key criterion for us is to handle a very large on-sale on any platform."
Keeping the lights on and maintaining the ability to cope with a punishing level of traffic was achieved by "strong tooling", including a number of load-testing tools and mechanisms to interrogate and block unwanted traffic.
"Part of our DevOps culture is a kind of ‘SWAT team' who play ‘hunt the bottleneck', spending time diagnosing, testing and finding the next problem," Tarry said.
"Ultimately, when we're cloud based we want that capacity on-tap. It's not something you can just do. You need to configure your systems to use that capability."
Join us on 20 April 2015 for the first day of our two-day Cloud & Infrastructure Live 2016 event and hear more from Tarry as he takes part in the panel debate: Deciding when a 'cloud first' strategy is right.
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