“Moving to the cloud was a huge transformation. Now we keep the site running smoothly when our fans need it the most.”
-- Esha Dhanraj, Head of Technology, Wheel of Fortune, Sony Pictures Television
Business problem: Increasing fan base, limited capacity
For over 40 years, contestants on Wheel of Fortune have spun the wheel to win big on TV. And today, viewers at home can join in the excitement — by entering sweepstakes online for a shot at prizes.
However WheelOfFortune.com kept running up against the constraints of old technology. Whenever a big sweepstakes was launched, avid fans would descend on the website and often overtax its servers. Wheel of Fortune's web properties were hosted on old physical IBM servers, that were unable to adjust capacity in response to spikes in demands. Additionally, the old infrastructure, built piecemeal over the years, was unreliable. The legacy system just couldn't keep up. As a result, the site frequently crashed and experienced outages.
Technology solution: The cloud delivers agility and performance
Moving the site’s servers to the cloud provided the elasticity Wheel of Fortune needed. With an Amazon Web Services (AWS) solution, capacity is scaled up to flawlessly handle traffic surges.
Metal Toad also implemented several other strategies to boost the site's performance:
- With Amazon Cloud Formation, issues that used to take days to resolve can now be repaired within a few hours.
- The Amazon Virtual Private Cloud gives the team full control over security — private traffic stays private.
- Puppet automatically keeps each web server correctly configured and functioning.
- Fault tolerance was implemented by spreading their servers across multiple data centers.
Impact: The wheel keeps spinning for awesome engagement
Now the Wheel of Fortune site can keep pace with fans’ excitement. When the team launches a new sweepstakes, preventative scaling is used to double, triple, or even quadruple their capacity to match expected traffic and keep the site running smoothly at all times.
And after a promotion ends and traffic dies down, server capacity easily can be reduced, saving Wheel of Fortune the cost of maintaining always-on servers.
The site is now faster, easily handling peak loads of 2,000 pages and 60,000 requests per minute. Application performance has improved by 85% — with load times down from 200 to 30 milliseconds. User engagement is up thanks to a high-performing site with 100% uptime.