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AWS CASE STUDY

STUDIO BRUSSEL:
DE WARMSTE WEEK

“De Warmste Week”, a charity event from the VRT / Studio Brussel and the King Baudouin Foundation, required infrastructure with the capacity to absorb exponential increases in users registering for and participating in a week-long national charity event.

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Customer Profile

The Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroeporganisatie (Flemish Radio and Television Broadcasting Organization), or VRT, is the national public-service broadcaster for the Flemish Region and Community of Belgium. Studio Brussel is a radio brand from the VRT, they organise in conjunction with the support of King Baudouin Foundation an annual event called “De Warmste Week” (The Warmest Week):

  • This event takes place during the week before Christmas, load begins to grow on the application from when registration begins and peaks during the week itself.
  • During the event presenters from the radio station present from various outdoor locations across Belgium.
  • Listeners can request songs by donating money to charity via the website while also promoting a charity of their choice

The Challenge

VRT/Studio Brussel was running the applications to support “De Warmste Week” in a traditional managed hosting environment. Given the nature of the project, they were looking for a more scalable and cheaper solution,
while ensuring high-availability due to the public nature and political importance of the project.
As the event occurs annually the infrastructure should be provisioned in a reproducible manner that can be scaled down when the charity campaign is not active.
The solution needs to be continuously monitored and allow for the development team to deploy at any time, without intervention or assistance from an operations team.
Having already chosen AWS, VRT/Studio Brussel required a partner that was familiar with AWS best practices and DevOps methodologies to design an infrastructure capable of running their application.

“I would like to thank Cloudar for their cooperation and support throughout the entire project. The agility and speed in picking up requests was excellent. The shown expertise in problem solving exceeded our expectations and the way of communicating with our team was top-notch. See you at ‘De Warmste Week’ next year!”– PETER VERMAELE, VRT DIGITAL PRODUCTION CENTER

Our Solution

The solution designed by Cloudar for “De Warmste Week” was developed with High-Availability and cost in mind, maximizing the use of Amazon managed services where possible:

  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk managed Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling Group, spread across 2 Availability Zones for scalability and maximum fault tolerance.
  • Amazon ELB is used to balance traffic across the instances.
  • Amazon RDS Backend, spread across multiple availability zones for high-availability.
  • Amazon S3 object storage for static files.
  • Amazon CloudFront for edge caching, to reduce overall load on the system by caching where appropriate.
  • AWS CloudTrail to monitor the IAM actions taking place on the account.

 

We also made use of a number of AWS technical partner solutions:

  • CloudCheckr© was used to ensure the setup complied with AWS best practices and to ensure ongoing compliance once the solution was in production.
  • This infrastructure was managed using AWS CloudFormation, both code and infrastructure were deployed on AWS using Jenkins Pipelines making use of CloudBees© Jenkins plugins.
  • Site24x7© was used in conjunction with AWS CloudWatch to ensure optimal performance across all environments.

The Result

  • The use of automation allowed for repeatable deployments of both infrastructure and code, which encouraged fast iterations in both the development and operations aspects of the project.
  • Infrastructure as code provided us with a nice opportunity to create reuseable AWS CloudFormation templates, that can be used by both our DevOps Consultants and Managed Service teams.
  • The use of Managed Services from AWS decreased the amount of heavy lifting required for the project to be completed, and allowed the customer to take advantage of the cost savings associated with infrastructure with utility billing.
  • Thanks to the use of Elastic infrastructure components, the solution was able to scale to meet demand where needed during the week long national charity campaign.
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