Magnetic Asia Keeps Entertainment Alive with Livestreaming Services on AWS
Magnetic Asia modernized its infrastructure using AWS container and video services to reduce deployment time from 0.5–1.5 hours to 10 minutes or less and open up new lines of business. Magnetic Asia is an events management and production company based in Hong Kong. The company is using Amazon EKS to run containerized applications, AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaPackage to enable livestreaming, and Amazon DynamoDB to tokenize events.
AWS teams have been a critical part of crafting our video offering, helping us think outside the box to innovate new solutions from our existing AWS solutions.”
Head of DevOps and Infrastructure, Magnetic Asia
Leveraging Technology to Bring People Together
The year 2020 turned numerous industries on their heads, and the live music and entertainment sector was particularly hard-hit. In North America alone, industry insiders estimate a $9 billion loss in revenue from a lack of live performances. The good news is, cloud technology is now advanced enough to support virtual shows and global livestreaming, and more companies are stepping up to the challenge of orchestrating these experiences.
Magnetic Asia is an events management and production company focused on leveraging technology to continue to bring people together. Founded in Hong Kong, Magnetic Asia is the force behind regional music festivals such as Clockenflap, alongside large sporting events like the Hong Kong Sevens. When the pandemic struck in 2020, Magnetic Asia pivoted its business to build a livestreaming platform—Total Streaming—backed by Total Ticketing, a custom ticketing solution for its clients.
Scaling Up and Down at Speed Using Kubernetes
Magnetic Asia had started customizing Total Ticketing for a selection of small clients and its own events. By 2020, its Enterprise Ticketing Solution (ETS) provided an end-to-end ticketing and entitlement solution to clients of any size, for a range of events, from sports, concerts, and performances to casinos. Containerization of Magnetic Asia’s tech stack has been key in scaling the ETS to meet the unpredictable infrastructure demands that characterize event ticketing.
Born on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud, Magnetic Asia is now using Kubernetes with Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) to run its entire infrastructure. The autoscaling algorithms in Kubernetes, which Amazon EKS provisions, enable Magnetic Asia to accommodate events from 100 to 50,000 participants. While the company serves many big-ticket enterprise clients, its origins come from the serving small- to medium-sized venues and clients who still comprise a major part of the company’s customer base. As such, Magnetic Asia needs the flexibility to easily scale up and down for a range of event requirements. “The speed at which scale can occur is fantastic with Amazon EKS. Since implementing Kubernetes with Amazon EKS, we’ve been able to manage scalability more granularly,” says Aaron Baideme, head of DevOps and infrastructure at Magnetic Asia.
Delivering New Features Faster and at a Lower Cost
Magnetic Asia has reduced deployment time from 0.5–1.5 hours to 10 minutes or less using Amazon EKS. Before containerizing, Magnetic Asia’s engineers spun up instances from scratch using virtual machines on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). This worked fine for smaller events or those with more predictable audience volumes, but wasn’t optimized for shows with thousands of attendees, virtual or otherwise.
In addition to time savings, the cost of deploying has also gone down with Kubernetes compared to the “from scratch” approach. “The reduction in deployment overhead allows us to push features through our development pipeline more often, and more efficiently, so that customers are able to constantly access new features,” says Dan Helyar, senior software architect at Magnetic Asia.
Onboarding new clients is now twice as fast compared to pre-container days, which has further boosted efficiency during recent growth spurts. One year after transitioning to Kubernetes, Magnetic Asia experienced 400 percent growth in its client base. The company’s engineers switched their approach to database management in response and are now using Amazon Aurora to intelligently scale database deployments.
Building a Livestreaming Platform in 1 Week
When Magnetic Asia’s clients sought livestreaming options for their virtual events sold using the ETS, livestreaming technology was still rapidly developing, and video production was new to its engineering team. At the same time, the company’s engineers were facing challenges with an external streaming platform. However, when Magnetic Asia learned of AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaPackage during a casual conversation with its AWS account team in mid-2020, it knew it had found a solution worth exploring.
Aaron Baideme first tried using AWS Elemental MediaLive himself and was able to set up the solution architecture to livestream an event in just one week. “The simplicity of AWS managed services has enabled us to fully focus on delivering an end-to-end livestreaming solution rather than get caught up in the media streaming components,” Aaron Baideme says. “Setting up AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaPackage was the easiest part of the journey.”
Developing a way to tokenize livestreamed events so that artists could monetize their performances was the main challenge Magnetic Asia’s engineers had to solve. To address the need for a “one ticket, one view” policy, engineers set up a managed database on Amazon DynamoDB for in-memory caching, which ensures one-time ticket validation. Additionally, the engineers assigned serverless functions using AWS Lambda to run database queries.
Addressing Multiple Use Cases with Integrated Technology
Magnetic Asia has benefited from an infrastructure stack fully integrated on AWS. “All of the technology is now coming full circle: the livestreaming endpoint, the containerized website that shows the livestream, and the serverless functions with cache enabled to validate ticket tokens,” Aaron Baideme explains.
In the months following its first livestreaming success, Magnetic Asia had to reconfigure its video application to livestream prerecorded content. This was achieved by having AWS Elemental MediaLive consume MP4 content directly from Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). A third type of request, for the capability to allow viewers to watch a show multiple times within a defined period, came in a month later. “AWS Elemental MediaLive came to our rescue again in this case, and it only took us another week or two to implement video on demand from scratch. We were very impressed with how the AWS Elemental suite was able to serve these three different use cases and how we could throw them together on the fly,” Aaron Baideme says.
AWS Solutions Architects have been with Magnetic Asia from the start of its video journey, working side-by-side with Magnetic Asia’s engineers to address new demands as they arise. “AWS teams have been a critical part of crafting our video offering and helping us think outside the box to innovate new solutions from our existing AWS solutions,” relates Aaron Baideme. “I get connected to real-world experts and the process became an amazing collaborative exchange of ideas in a way that I haven’t seen with other cloud providers.”
To learn more, visit aws.amazon.com/media-services.
About Magnetic Asia
Magnetic Asia is an events management and production company offering end-to-end services for live shows of any scale. Its Enterprise Ticketing Solution and livestreaming platform feature tokenized viewing of virtual events.
Benefits of AWS
- Autoscales ticket events from 100 to 50,000 attendees
- Reduces deployment time from 0.5–1.5 hours to 10 minutes or less
- Keeps deployment overhead low to release new features faster
- Halves the time required to onboard new clients
- Sets up new livestreaming architecture in 1–2 weeks
- Enables tokenization of events, for “one ticket, one view” capability
- Expands client base by 400%
AWS Services Used
AWS Elemental MediaLive
AWS Elemental MediaLive is a broadcast-grade live video processing service. It lets you create high-quality video streams for delivery to broadcast televisions and internet-connected multiscreen devices, like connected TVs, tablets, smart phones, and set-top boxes.
AWS Elemental MediaPackage
AWS Elemental MediaPackage reliably prepares and protects your video for delivery over the Internet. From a single video input, AWS Elemental MediaPackage creates video streams formatted to play on connected TVs, mobile phones, computers, tablets, and game consoles.
Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service
Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) gives you the flexibility to start, run, and scale Kubernetes applications in the AWS cloud or on-premises.
Amazon DynamoDB is a key-value and document database that delivers single-digit millisecond performance at any scale. It's a fully managed, multi-region, multi-active, durable database with built-in security, backup and restore, and in-memory caching for internet-scale applications.
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