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Big Data Use Case – Ticketmaster: Cloud Migration Experiences

The insideBIGDATA technology use case guide – Ticketmaster: Using the Cloud Capitalizing on Performance, Analytics, and Data to Deliver Insights provides an in-depth look at a high-profile cloud migration use case. One of the most widely discussed topics in IT today is moving workloads to cloud. The process of deciding whether or when to migrate to the cloud can be daunting. Further, finding the right technology fit for your enterprise  objectives can be challenging with a cloud solution ecosystem filled with alternatives. To make the cloud adoption process more straightforward, this  white paper provided a number of areas for consideration when evaluating a cloud platform. We also focused on the experiences of a high-profile enterprise—Ticketmaster—during the company’s migration to the cloud. Finally, we offered a top-tier cloud solution—Teradata IntelliCloud—as an  excellent choice for transitioning from an on-premises system to one in the cloud.

Cloud Migration Experiences

To meet the corporate objective of eliminating on-premises data centers by 2017, Ticketmaster has put everything in the cloud including production,  development, and disaster recovery with Teradata IntelliCloud (formerly known as Teradata Managed Cloud) while realizing cost reduction. The  migration was completed on schedule and within budget. The process took just 10 weeks to complete the migration.

Much of our company didn’t even know it happened,” said Shawn Moon, Director of Database Solutions. “Many of our users haven’t the foggiest idea that we’re no longer running on the  same on-premises system. We minimized our downtime, we moved it over quickly, and we had a great partnership [with Teradata] to pull that off. We  didn’t have to touch any of our applications, ETL processes, or BI solutions. All we did was change DNS entries and those applications were none  the wiser. It was a really smooth transition.”

Flexibility has been a game changer. The Ticketmaster sales cycle is very spikey since demand for resources is high during the first hours of ticket  availability for a popular event, after which demand is reduced significantly. With a cloud solution, the company can accommodate changes in  demand by spinning up resources and then shutting them down as needed.

Users include finance, accounting, and marketing as well as Ticketmaster clients such as venues and promoters all have access to the analytics and data in the cloud. Users notice faster reporting and more data streams like social media that yield increased insights for decision making. Marketing can develop fan profiles for future event promotions with personalization.

Our marketing team is able to get robust data about our fans and bring that all together so they can create profiles that allow them to let the fans know things that they don’t already know—like new acts that are coming to town, or when their favorite bands are coming. This is where the big chunk of analytics is focused,” said Moon.

With the new cloud platform, Ticketmaster and Live Nation can quickly pivot when sales are sagging, for example by sending segmented and personalized offers to create demand. Let’s look at how Ticketmaster found success after overcoming several challenges to complete the cloud  migration, including an aggressive project timeline and low tolerance for system downtime.

The Ticketmaster Journey with Teradata into the Cloud

In 2011 Ticketmaster invested in a 9-node Teradata on-premises production system and a 4-node system for development and quality assurance. From those systems they took web behavior data, transactions, demographics, etc., and combined them, which was something the company had not been able to tie together before. Subsequently, they could build out customer profiles, perform robust reporting to drive the business, carry out customer segmentation to make sure fans were aware of events, and make sure customer service had relevant data available. The new systems also were used for bot detection since bots can scoop up tickets to post on the resale market for much higher prices.

Later, in 2015, the company was operating with basically the same architecture except for an additional 2-node disaster recovery system, along with an upgraded system for dev/QA.

Adding Teradata to the Landscape

Cloud Migration

Continued success and rapid growth led to the company hitting a wall with their Teradata system capacity. As a result, the staff considered all options  for mitigating the situation. After much deliberation, Ticketmaster decided to go with Teradata IntelliCloud. Key factors for the decision were:

  • Low risk due to the same basic architecture as their on-premises Teradata systems
  • Cost containment since there would be no more costly capital expenditure projects in the future
  • Managed system that provides Ticketmaster DBAs and architects more time to focus on value-add
  • Teradata was a trusted partner

Executing the cloud migration meant increased capacity, automatic access to the latest software version and features (a default benefit of cloud computing), getting the system off-premises in consideration of the company mandate to close data centers, containing cost and making it more predictable—and the requirement to do it fast! The deal was signed on December 18, 2015 with the need to get to production by March 31, 2016.

The diagram below maps the old on-premises system to the new IntelliCloud system.

Mapping to the new Ticketmaster Teradata IntelliCloud solution

The actual migration took 3-4 weeks of intense planning followed by the build-out of the new platform. Several options were discussed to minimize  impact since users on the production system could not take an extended downtime. After Ticketmaster executed on the move, the following results were realized:

  • ETL runtime – improved for 90% of jobs
  • ETL runtime – reduced by more than half for 62% of jobs
  • Weekly propensity scoring (a particularly long job that previously was run weekly because it took so long) – cut from 7.5 hours to 2.5 hours (now run daily for the analytics group)
  • Reporting SLA – meeting 100% of SLAs for key daily reports vs. 90% for on-premises
  • No longer I/O bound!

The Ticketmaster to Teradata IntelliCloud Migration

If you prefer, the complete insideBIGDATA technology use case guide – Ticketmaster: Using the Cloud Capitalizing on Performance, Analytics, and Data to Deliver Insights is available for download in PDF from the insideBIGDATA White Paper Library, courtesy of Teradata.

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