Arguably, we should have chosen a less critical event as the first test of our infrastructure on AWS, but it was a complete success. We sold 50,000 tickets in two days for the Spain versus Italy World Cup qualifier, and at peak we were selling 500 tickets a minute.
Marcelo Royán Chief Technology Officer,
  • About

    Online ticketing platform is headquartered in Madrid, Spain. It sells movie and theater tickets as well as tickets for large-scale events such as music concerts and soccer matches.

  • Benefits of AWS

    • Enables growth into the sporting events segment of the ticketing market
    • Supports the sale of 500 tickets a minute for a national soccer match
    • Handles 50% more traffic than with physical infrastructure
    • Reduces IT maintenance by 50%
    • Demonstrates security in the cloud, giving the business and its customers peace of mind
  • Services used is an online ticketing company headquartered in Madrid, Spain. It partners with music promoters, theaters, and sports clubs, among others, to sell tickets for concerts, plays, matches, and other events. Founded in 1998, it was one of the first e-commerce companies in Spain. In 2014, it was acquired by leading European ticketing group Eventim, which employs 2,300 people across 26 countries.

Selling tickets for sporting events is a significant part of’s business—as well as being the most challenging. When tickets for a soccer match go on sale, for example, the platform sees a huge leap in traffic in a very short time. Customers need to trust that can handle these spikes. With its existing data center setup, which was based on physical servers, staff provisioned compute capacity manually, which was inefficient and labor-intensive.

“It was a massive effort to ensure that we could ramp up to meet demand,” says Marcelo Royán, the company’s chief technology officer. “The infrastructure wasn’t adding value to the business.” In fact, it was hampering the team’s ability to focus on what matters most: the functionality and ease of use of its website. “It doesn’t make sense for me to waste energy maintaining physical machines when I could use my resources to create features that make us the go-to site for ticket purchasing in Spain,” says Royán. was looking to simplify its application architecture and increase operational efficiency across its IT infrastructure. The business also wanted to grow, specifically by extending its reach in the sporting events segment of the ticketing market. And while cost-cutting wasn’t a top priority, Royán wanted to ensure the company spent money strategically when it came to IT.

Excited by the potential benefits of adopting a services approach, started using Amazon Web Services (AWS) for development and testing in 2014. “We assessed three cloud providers,” says Royán. “From both technical and strategic perspectives, we chose AWS. It was the clear market leader with a greater range of features, plus many in our team were familiar with AWS technologies.”

By 2017, was ready to move entirely to the AWS Cloud. It started planning the migration in January, with a view to completing the process by July, just before the soccer season begins in Spain. “Along with AWS partner Cloudmas, the AWS team supported us during the entire process to ensure a smooth migration in just one day,” says Royán.

The infrastructure that supports ticket sales for sporting events is the most critical of’s platforms, so it uses Auto Scaling with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances to ensure that capacity can scale dynamically. “We sell tickets for soccer clubs and venue owners, so highly secure connectivity to their local virtual private network systems is vital,” says Royán. For this, uses Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC). “It’s much easier to manage and support now,” he says. Its central Oracle database runs on the Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), minimizing time-consuming management and helping the team focus on core work.

Royán says, “Using AWS, we have countless possibilities to develop and optimize our infrastructure. We look forward to AWS Summits and webinars where we learn about new services that might be useful to us. We’re currently looking to migrate to Amazon ElastiCache, and we’re exploring how we can use AWS Lambda functions to receive notifications in several situations and different steps of the purchase funnel—for example, when a customer makes a payment. We think serverless computing has a lot of potential for businesses like ours.”

About a week after migrating to AWS, had to deal with one of its biggest ticketing challenges. It was a soccer match that excited national interest: Spain versus Italy in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Royán knew the demand for tickets would be huge. “In a way, it was the perfect storm,” he says. “It was a major game for Spain because it needed to win to qualify to play in the World Cup, and tickets were being sold for less than the normal price for club match tickets, which made the event affordable to a wider audience. And, because it was a national game, the whole stadium was available for sale. Arguably, we should have chosen a less-critical event as the first test of our infrastructure on AWS, but it was a complete success. We sold 50,000 tickets in two days for the Spain versus Italy World Cup qualifier, and at peak we were selling 500 tickets a minute.”

A key motivation for the move to AWS was enabling to expand its reach in the sporting events segment. With its capacity to scale boosted—Royán estimates the company can handle 50 percent more traffic compared to what was possible on its physical infrastructure— can now onboard new event organizers, promoters, and venue owners. Building relationships with customers also relies on being able to demonstrate best practices in security, and here too Royán sees the advantage of using AWS: “A professional cloud provider like AWS has hundreds of security engineers thinking about security solutions. This specialization at scale is something we can’t reproduce in-house. We feel secure using AWS and the businesses we work with are confident in the security of our systems, too.”

Since moving to AWS, has benefited from the automated, managed nature of services that allow the company to make the most of its resources. “Before we used Amazon RDS, I employed a dedicated database manager to maintain a system that essentially didn’t add anything to the business. We don’t sell more tickets because we have a database, but the business couldn’t operate without it,” says Royán. Now, key systems run without a large IT management burden. “Our maintenance load has been reduced by 50 percent, which means 50 percent more time can be spent on work that benefits the business by improving our platform and adding new features. This is great for our competitiveness and for our customers.”