AF83, a French company based in Paris and San Francisco, already had a reputation for delivering sophisticated social networking and live Web solutions. At the time, their product Enlivement—a platform for live concert transmission over the internet—had been in production for a few months streaming concerts to roughly 7,000 simultaneous users. Enlivement mimics the concert experience on the Web, allowing users to switch between different live camera feeds and chat with each other.
The team only had a few weeks to get their systems ready to handle the extra load. “We had enough on our hands with the application and didn’t want to bother with handling the load on the static content,” said Ori Pekelman, Chief Software Architect of AF83.
With only very few days to go and no current CDN contract to deliver the static content, they had to act fast. “We contacted our usual CDN provider and set up an account, which took some negotiation and their price was quite high. We started working on integrating our staging to production system with their solution, which was not trivial.”
“At the same time one of our developers, using his own credit card, opened an Amazon S3 account and wrote some Perl scripts to integrate our staging to production system to make everything automatic. It took less than an hour to open the account and write the scripts,” recalled Pekelman.
“We had both options running: our CDN took 3 days and Amazon S3 took 1 hour. We ran some benchmark tests and both solutions were equivalent, with S3 having a slight advantage on propagation time to edge servers, so we went with S3.”
“Amazon S3 is excellent for handling ‘unconventional requests,’ continued Pekelman, “that is, a lot of requests on small static files such as CSS or JS. S3 is also transparent—resources are kept as URL with no cache or lag. There was no friction, no human intervention, no negotiation. The system performed as expected and the developer never filed an expense report for the Amazon S3 charges—he said he didn’t want the change.”
AF83 is a software company that consumes and produces open source code in PHP, Ruby, Perl, Python and other technologies. AF83 was assisted in delivering S3 integration and load management for the Hard Candy concert by its partner Bearstech. Bearstech is an open source hosting company based in Paris which directs hosting, performance, and maintenance for critical applications.For more on Bearstech, go to http://bearstech.com/ . For more on AF83, go to http://www.af83.com/ .