Sentia helps bold.dk future-proof on AWS

7 July 2021
SHARE

bold.dk is the largest soccer news website in Denmark, with a focus on national and international soccer coverage. AWS partner Sentia helped bold.dk optimize a cloud-native approach on AWS, including the building and implementation of a new microservices platform.

As the largest soccer news website and forum in Denmark, covering national and international matches and competitions, bold.dk receives 780 million page views annually, equivalent to 65 million page views per month.

However, the company was facing a major challenge with its existing dedicated server setup, which wasn’t scaling quickly enough to meet rapidly changing demand. This meant services, such as live updates for popular matches, or access to news articles during half-time in domestic cup finals, could be compromised. Demand could also be unpredictable—if a high-profile game went to extra time or penalty shootouts, for instance.

We require a lot of scaling, because when there are several matches going on, everyone wants to go to our site.

- Thomas Laier Pedersen, Senior System Engineer at bold.dk 

As well as scaling issues, there was a significant amount of hidden cost in running the existing infrastructure due to the very specific setup used by bold.dk, and with no contingency plan, according to CEO Denis Larsen.

Adopting and optimizing AWS

With these challenges to contend with, bold.dk decided to transition from its existing dedicated server setup to an AWS-based cloud-native setup. The company approached AWS Advanced Consulting Partner Sentia to help complete the migration and optimize the AWS architecture and configuration.

Sentia quickly addressed the scaling issue with Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling and AWS CloudFormation infrastructure as code service to speed up cloud provisioning. This allowed bold.dk to serve large numbers of people within a short period of time and avoid running servers at overcapacity when they were not needed.

This improved scalability meant that the final round of games of the most recent Danish Superliga season—in which all six games take place at the same time—didn’t present an issue for bold.dk, despite the surge in traffic to its site.
The AWS expertise that Sentia brought meant fewer internal resources were tied up with maintaining the infrastructure. By optimizing the AWS environment, bold.dk’s internal development team is now spending 70 percent less time on maintenance, freeing them up to spend more time on other work without the need to respond to issues with the infrastructure.

Since the move to AWS, bold.dk hasn’t suffered any hardware- or infrastructure-related breakdowns—something that had been an issue in the past. One reason for the outages was the obstruction of cables connecting bold.dk to its hosted data center. This is now a thing of the past, which Laier Pedersen puts down to the improved resilience provided by Amazon CloudFront.


Making the Move to Microservices

As well as optimizing the AWS setup and gaining a more scalable infrastructure, bold.dk also wanted to more easily add new functionality, such as rapid replay of goals, and introducing features without any downtime.

Another driver was bold.dk’s desire to push development to third parties, rather than continue to build its own software, meaning apps are developed by the people with the best skills, rather than internal developers trying to work with tools and platforms of which they have limited knowledge. Sentia proposed a new microservices platform that would eventually host much of the company’s infrastructure and future-proof its operations.

Sentia built and implemented the microservices architecture using Docker and Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) in conjunction with AWS Fargate serverless compute engine for containers, providing bold.dk with a state-of-the-art approach to software development. Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) and Amazon Aurora formed the backend of the microservice platform, with Amazon ElastiCache used to offload the Amazon ECS platform by caching data.
Apps and services are updated via AWS CodePipeline, which deploys new code to Amazon ECS when it has been updated in AWS CodeCommit.

A good example of this in action is an SMS verification system for the website, which bold.dk was able to set up in “a couple of days at a very competitive price,” according to Larsen. “And that is something we couldn’t have achieved without AWS.”

Everything seems very flexible now, so when we build new products, this setup will make it extremely easy.

- Salem Buur, Head of Digital at bold.dk

The way in which bold.dk has been able to merge its existing AWS environment with the microservices platform is one of the things Laier Pedersen is most proud of. It means articles for the website written on the legacy AWS don’t need to be duplicated on the microservices platform.

Sentia is now helping bold.dk build APIs to help transition elements of the website currently on the original AWS infrastructure—such as the ad engine—to the new microservices platform.

 

Understanding what makes bold.dk tick

bold.dk’s Denis Larsen suggests Sentia’s support was crucial to the company achieving the AWS optimization and creating the microservices platform.
bold.dk is a small organization considering the size of its brand and viewership, with only two developers to both maintain the legacy technology and release functionality via the microservices platform.

Transitioning services from the legacy AWS setup to the new microservices platform was therefore a major challenge. Sentia provided additional support and resources that the bold.dk developer team needed. Larsen estimates bold.dk would have needed at least one additional developer on its staff without Sentia.

Sentia put in the effort to understand bold.dk’s business, which occasionally extended to Sentia cloud engineer Lars Bo Rasmussen spending time in the bold.dk office, when pandemic restrictions allowed. “One of the advantages of being close was that Lars could build a good, trusting relationship with the bold team,” says Christian Winther, senior account executive at Sentia Denmark.

This meant that Sentia was able to implement changes that addressed bold.dk’s specific business needs rather than always reaching for the most cutting edge approach—for example, suggesting a slower but more cost-effective solution for the non-business-critical task of static image file storage.

What Sentia is doing is saying, ’There are multiple ways to solve this, but we would recommend based on what we see on your systems, that you use this service’. And that’s a huge difference [from the previous partner]. That’s one of the major benefits of working with Sentia.

- Thomas Laier Pedersen, Senior System Engineer 

 

About bold.dk

bold.dk is the largest soccer news website in Denmark, with a focus on national and international soccer coverage. AWS partner Sentia helped bold.dk optimize a cloud-native approach on AWS, including the building and implementation of a new microservices platform.

Contact our expert!

More about this topic? Ask your questions now and get a clear answer!

Contact our expert ››

A little spark can lead to great things.
You just need to know how to ignite it.

Contact us using the form below or get in touch via +31 88 42 42 200 or info@sentia.com

Start to lead the way »