1. FC Köln Boosts Website Performance and Reliability with T-Systems-led Migration to AWS

Executive Summary

1. FC Köln has a growing fanbase and a website that experiences spikes in user demand for its content. To ensure its audience could enjoy fast and reliable online content, 1. FC Köln needed to update its website infrastructure to increase scalability and to modernize its legacy application landscape. It chose to use AWS and AWS Partner T-Systems to develop a website relaunch that provides scalability, reduces response times, and lays the groundwork for current and future application modernization, all while lowering infrastructure costs.

1. FC Köln Boosts Website Performance and Reliability with T-Systems-led Migration to AWS

1. FC Köln is a successful, professional soccer club based in the German city of Köln (Cologne). Many of Köln’s residents follow the soccer club and it has a close relationship with the city.

Providing a modernized and engaging customer experience is core to 1. FC Köln’s ethos. The club’s grounds are based in the middle of a city park which is accessible to everyone, and this is something the club wanted to reflect in a highly accessible website. “Besides what happens on the pitch, our most effective business is interacting with fans via a modern platform,” says the club’s IT manager, Dominic Theißen.

Much like the rollercoaster soccer season itself, 1. FC Köln’s website is prone to spikes in activity. At peak times, user requests can reach 40,000 page impressions every 5 minutes, compared to 1,200 during normal periods. This can cause server issues on match days or in the event of high-profile news. “In one example, when our new club mascot was unveiled in 2019, our whole infrastructure went down,” says Theißen.

By migrating to Amazon Web Services (AWS) using AWS Partner T-Systems Managed Cloud Services, 1. FC Köln gained the scalability to cope with these user peaks and provide a reliable, speedy, and secure experience for its fanbase, as well as increase the scope for further application modernization in the future. T-Systems helped 1. FC Köln develop a website modernization strategy and an aligned architecture on AWS to support its migration project.

“AWS enabled us to modernize our applications and lower our infrastructure costs to address the challenges of today's sports club environment at the level of quality that we wanted."

- Dominic Theißen, IT manager, 1. FC Köln

Flexible Scaling to Manage Periodic Surges in Users

Previously, scaling and capacity management was one of the key technical challenges for 1. FC Köln. Its legacy systems, hosted on a physical server, were unable to scale computing resources dynamically to accommodate variations in traffic. The soccer club was also unable to provision compute power on demand, leaving its staging environments running continuously, resulting in overhead costs. “We wanted to migrate to a simpler and more scalable environment where we can facilitate access to high-quality and highly available data,” says Theißen.

Working with T-Systems Cloud Services, 1. FC Köln seamlessly migrated its website, which operates 24/7 to reach its global fanbase, to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), a secure and resizable compute capacity for virtually any workload, with no downtime. Using Amazon CloudFront, which securely delivers content with low latency and high transfer speeds, the website is now faster and more reliable, creating a better user experience for fans and supporters.

By scaling to its requirements, 1. FC Köln has also reduced its capital expenditure (capex) costs using dynamic infrastructure provisioning on Amazon EC2. It uses Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling, which monitors applications and automatically adjusts capacity to maintain steady, predictable performance at the lowest possible cost. This ensures application availability as well as the automatic addition or removal of Amazon EC2 machines according to demand.

Previously the club had to pay to leave its staging environments running continuously, regardless of demand, but using Amazon EC2’s resizable compute capacity 1. FC Köln can access the on-demand infrastructure and capacity it needs to run its website costeffectively.

A Website Secured with Improved Performance Analytics and Troubleshooting

Using AWS the web presence of 1. FC Köln is secure from common cyberattacks. T-Systems introduced Amazon Web Application Firewall (AWS WAF), a web application firewall that helps protect apps and APIs from common web exploits and bots that might affect availability, compromise security, or consume excessive resources. T-Systems didn't want to block legitimate traffic so the request behavior was thoroughly analyzed by inspecting AWS WAF logs over multiple weeks.

Amazon Kinesis Data Firehose, an extract service that loads real-time data streams, allows T-Systems to stream AWS WAF logs to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), an object storage service offering industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance. The logs are then parsed by AWS Glue, a serverless data integration service that prepares, discovers, and combines the raw data, providing better analytics and troubleshooting capabilities.

Amazon CloudWatch's monitoring and observability service means T-Systems can monitor data insights about 1. FC Köln’s applications and endpoints, and respond quickly to system-wide performance changes or incidents.

Supporting Modern Experiences for a Growing Fanbase

The club’s fanbase is growing by an average of around 10,000 each year. This figure is expected to be accelerated by new global attractions such as the team’s qualification for the UEFA Europa Conference League.

The agility and flexibility provided by AWS sets 1. FC Köln up for this growth, not only scaling for increased user demand, but also enabling the club to build new applications and make infrastructure changes with faster time-to-market.

These features allow 1. FC Köln’s developers to focus on their core business value of improving and innovating their applications. “Our commercial focus going forward is to give our fans a modern platform with great features and interactive website content. Besides the soccer on the pitch itself, this is the key to our business model,” says Theißen.

About 1. FC Köln

1. FC Köln is a sports club in Cologne, Germany with over 114,000 members—the sixth-largest sports club in Germany and one of the largest worldwide.

About T-Systems

With a footprint in more than 20 countries T-Systems is one of the world's leading vendor independent providers of digital services headquartered in Europe. The Deutsche Telekom subsidiary offers one-stop shopping: from secure operation of legacy systems and classical ICT services, transition to cloudbased services as well as new business models and innovation projects in the Internet of Things.

Published May 2023