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How AWS helped scale app for World Cup social media hub

Thor Olavsrud | Aug. 6, 2014
If you're going to operate the official social media hub for the FIFA World Cup, you've got to be able to overcome the problem of scale. Spredfast did it with flying colors with the help of Amazon Web Services.

"Our technology filtered the tweets, found the best questions and allowed for workflow to bring those questions to the president," Falcao says.

Still, even an event like that doesn't compare with the magnitude of the FIFA Social Hub. Falcao says it was only possible because Spredfast was born in the cloud and was able to leverage the power of AWS.

"Cloud thinking was in our DNA as an engineering team," Falcao says. "As we grew, we've had many events like this -- elections, domestic and international sporting events. We've always had to deal with that scale, even when we were very young as a company."

Turning to Amazon for Ramping
The hub used Amazon CloudFront as its content delivery web service, and used Amazon EC2's Auto Scaling capability to ramp servers up or down based on need. Falcao says that at times front-end traffic was growing 15x.

Spredfast also relied on Amazon Elastic Load Balancing, which automatically distributes incoming application traffic across EC2 instances. That allowed it to scale along with its API requests, even when those API requests hit a peak of more than 300 million per hour.

"One thing that we did do differently, because the games were on a schedule, [was] set up some triggers," Falcao says. "But instead of waiting for some metrics and triggers to go off, we overprovisioned 15 minutes prior to game time. It would ramp up the amount of compute resources we needed. We had that so dialed in that we had a script that did the scale up and scale down jobs. We didn't have to be there to push a button."


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