Cloud and automation allows Ticketek to sell thousands of tickets at once

Automation will allow for smooth ticket-selling when Ticketek's traffic spikes from essentially zero to 300,000 for 'hot shows'.

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(Image: Ticketek)

TEG has positioned itself as an international ticketing, live entertainment, and data analytics business, that owns a handful of venues around the world -- particularly in the Southeast Asia region.

One of the more well-known brands under the TEG banner is ticketing website Ticketek.

When a major event goes on sale at a scheduled time, there is usually a rush to secure tickets, and amid the frustration from punters keen to get their hands on a seat is Ticketek's costly tech behind the scenes that stops the website from completely falling over.

These large events, known as hot shows, push Ticketek's infrastructure to the brink, with TEG enterprise architect Tane Oakes telling ZDNet that traffic goes from basically "zero to 300,000" in under a minute.

Speaking with ZDNet at AWS re:Invent, Oaks detailed how TEG went through a process of re-platforming its system to allow for everything to be run with "great parallelism".

"We were running into a data centre and we would have to run our environment as if we were having those hot shows seven days of the week, 24 hours a day -- that was costly and doesn't make sense," he said.

According to Oaks, TEG was rethinking its approach at a time when cloud was making its way to the fore, and AWS offered a bunch of tools that could handle the traffic spikes Ticketek faced, which could also overhaul how its business was run.

"When we started this we said well we need to get the move into the cloud ... with AWS we've got the ability to scale ... to scale up and scale down based on what we want to do," he said. "So we went for a lift and shift sort of replatforming inside of our system."

With that, however, TEG had to change how it ran its business internally.

The company decided to introduce an automated process to schedule and provision for its hot shows -- something that was previously done manually and often in Excel.

It was also performed mostly by IT, despite it being a business process.

With the business already using Atlassian's Jira, it made sense, Oaks explained, to use Jira for the hot show provisioning process as well. The platform uses a lot of AWS services, too.

Firstly, users submit a request to schedule a hot show through Jira Service Desk.

"Once it's been approved, it then hits API Gateway to actually then schedule that hot show into a Dynamo DB database, and then we have Lambda coming and checking using CloudWatch scheduled events to say every minute, 'Do I have any hot shows that I need to procure' and then when it finds it, it then hits Service Catalog to actually go and run out the products and spin everything all up," Oaks explained.

"When you work between IT and business, one of the things that's not great is just to keep giving the business different tools, swapping in and out what they're trying to do, and having five or six different applications to try to do the same things -- they use Jira for everything else for the planning and management of the hot show, now we're just extending that to drive what they're doing from an IT perspective."

Oaks said the approval process now sits outside of IT.

"What it's doing is putting a workflow process into driving Service Catalog provisioning of IT services," he added.

It was important, Oaks said, to make sure that general ticket purchases to non-hot shows were not impacted when there was a hot show. Automating from end-to-end also means Ticketek can run multiple hot shows at the same time -- something Oaks said was previously unheard of.

Disclosure: Asha McLean travelled to AWS re:Invent as a guest of AWS

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