The Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), a subsidiary of the Anschutz Corporation, owns sports and entertainment facilities across the globe. Some of its better known facilities are the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California; the Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia; the MasterCard Center in Beijing, China; and the Qatar National Convention Center in Doha, Qatar. AEG employs 10,000 people worldwide.
AEG needed a centralized site to enable staffers to find the information they needed quickly, without having to visit multiple different internal sites. The company reached out to The Huddle Group, member of the AWS Partner Network (APN) and an Argentina-based systems integrator which was founded in 2004 and has 170 employees worldwide, with offices throughout the Americas and in Europe.
“The goal was to help AEG employees avoid unnecessary mails and phone calls to track down the information they needed,” Martin Riley, Managing Director for North America for Huddle Group. “AEG wanted to make it easy for people to find each other and the documents they needed.”
Remote workers often lacked access to the network, and document versioning could be an issue, too. AEG wanted to consolidate its forms and files in one easily accessible site. The company was already using private clouds in a limited capacity, so moving to Amazon Web Services (AWS) was a natural next move.
“We needed to deliver great performance to a broadly distributed user base,” says Denise Taylor, AEG CIO.
“Amazon Web Services offered the scalability and flexible capacity that AEG needed,” Taylor says. “With the AWS Cloud, we can provision the amount of resources we need—and that solves a big problem for us. If you need more, you can easily scale up. If you don’t need them, just turn them off and stop paying.”
Huddle Group connected AEG’s private network to an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC), then deployed Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. “We had great support from AWS and their team,” Riley says. “AWS provided us with whitepapers on best practices on deploying SharePoint in the AWS environment. Setting up the Amazon VPC was pretty easy—we had a tunnel to the AEG network, we moved the machines onto the network, and then we moved the domain controller to the cloud to speed up access to the site. After that, it was a classic SharePoint implementation.”
AEG is using Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) to store 20-30 corporate videos and 200 documents. Amazon CloudFront is used to enable high-performance video streaming. AEG uses Amazon CloudWatch to monitor usage. See the architecture diagram below for an illustration of the environment.
AEG launched the site at a worldwide AEG meeting for internal AEG staff. Huddle knew they needed to be prepared for 1,000 expected attendees and an additional 6,000 users worldwide. “Using AWS, we were able to spin up five different machines at once,” Riley says. “When load testing showed us that we might need a bit more capacity, we were able to get a third web front end up in a matter of minutes.”
AEG’s priority for launch was having the scalability to handle spikes in use and the capacity to handle high loads. “The event was broadcast worldwide, so there was the potential that everyone might have hit the site at the same time,” Riley says. “AWS performed admirably.”
On launch day, the new intranet site provided 99 percent availability for up to 10,000 users worldwide. Huddle Group used AWS to add an additional 30 percent server capacity before launch, which was easy to take offline after it was no longer needed. “Before the launch, load testing showed us that we needed another instance to handle the traffic,” Riley says. “Within an hour, we had an additional 30 percent capacity, thanks to having our resources in the AWS Cloud.”
“With traditional infrastructure, it can take weeks to get a server procured, delivered, and running,” Taylor says. “With the AWS Cloud, we can provision resources as we need them.”
Using AWS sped Huddle Group’s time to market with the AEG site. “Had we not been using AWS, we would have had to go through a lot of negotiations and a lot of overhead,” Riley says. “But with AWS, we could mirror an instance, get it on the domain, and install our software quickly. Same with the load testing—we built one test machine and created instances from it. We brought up five instances in the space of a few minutes. The flexibility and elasticity of AWS is fantastic.”
Moving forward, AEG plans to build in versioning controls and redundancy, leveraging Amazon Multi Availability Zones (Multi-AZ). “This is the core AEG portal—the foundation on which AEG will grow,” Taylor says.
To learn more about how AWS can help your company simplify your SharePoint infrastructure, visit our SharePoint details page: http://aws.amazon.com/windows/sharepoint/.
For more information about how Huddle Group can help your company run on the AWS Cloud, see Huddle Group's listing in the AWS Partner Directory.