Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) operates the Vodafone and 3 brand mobile telecommunications products. VHA was formed in June 2009 following a merger between Vodafone Australia and Hutchison 3G Australia. VHA provides mobile services to more than 6 million customers.
Vodafone provides a live, interactive mobile television service, known as Mobile TV, through the Cricket Live Australia application. The application lets fans to watch live cricket games and check live scores on their Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. In 2012, Vodafone introduced a new interactive feature for the application, called Vodafone Viewer’s Verdict, which gives fans the chance to voice their opinions and interact live with the Channel 9 broadcast of the professional championship Vodafone Test Series. Cricket Live and Vodafone Viewer’s Verdict are open to all mobile customers in Australia.
Vodafone found that traffic for the applications peak during the four-month period when the international cricket season is at its height in Australia. During the 2011/2012 cricket season, 700,000 consumers downloaded the Cricket Live Australia application. Vodafone needed to be able to meet customer demand, but didn’t want to invest in additional resources that would be underutilized during cricket’s off-season.
“We opted for a solution that combined a cloud computing infrastructure with a third-party content delivery network to store cricket match information,” says Easwaren Siva, General Manager for Technology, Strategy and Product at Vodafone. “We looked at a number of providers who supply cloud environments. We selected Amazon Web Services (AWS) because of its maturity in providing cloud services.”
Vodafone uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances in Auto Scaling groups to create a web services tier for its mobile applications. Elastic Load Balancing automatically distributes traffic from the mobile applications across the instances. The company uses Amazon CloudWatch with Auto Scaling groups to monitor CPU usage and to scale from three Amazon EC2 instances to nine during peak periods automatically. Auto Scaling ensures that Vodafone only consumes the resources that it needs to meet demand. The web services tier integrates with a third-party content delivery system for voting and lives score information.
Vodafone uses an Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for MySQL DB Instance to store cricket score information from content providers. Vodafone runs the DB Instance as a Multi-AZ deployment to automatically provision and manage one standby replica in a different Availability Zones, which minimizes the risk of downtime.
Before AWS, Vodafone could support a maximum of 3,000 simultaneous live streams. With AWS in place, Vodafone has been able to provide up to 10,000 simultaneous live streams and accommodate live scores requests at the rate of 1,000 requests per second (rps) during peak periods. In one month alone, Vodafone streamed more than 24 TB of data just for the iPhone.
By using AWS, Vodafone is able to provide its streaming mobile service to any mobile device on any network cost-effectively. “We can add or eliminate instances as required to accommodate demand when required, rather than build for peak demand,” says Siva. “If it were not for AWS and the third-party content delivery network, we would not be able to provide this service as it would have cost millions of dollars in computing infrastructure. We can also scale up individual instances in line with growth in demand,” he adds.
“Prior to AWS, our mobile streaming services were limited to customers to our Vodafone and 3 mobile services,” Siva continues. “We are so confident in the availability and the capacity of our mobile applications on the AWS Cloud that we extended the services to all mobile users.”
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