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Score! Superior Digital Experiences with MLS

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Watch the full video here: https://vimeo.com/166815139
DrupalCon New Orleans - May 10, 2016
Steven Merrill, Phase2 Director of DevOps, with Brian Aznar of MLS

Representing the sport’s highest level of professional soccer in the US and Canada, the Major League Soccer’s Digital division maintains a platform comprised of multiple sites and applications responsible for delivering information, news, videos, and stats to eager MLS fans.

In today’s digital landscape, a sports fan’s digital experience is paramount to successful promotion and brand loyalty. In this case study session, you will learn how MLS and Phase2 migrated 25 club sites onto a high performance Drupal platform while maintaining their existing legacy sites to deliver the best experience for site visitors. In addition, we will discuss the performance strategy developed to ensure that the millions of MLS soccer fans can seamlessly access their favorite team's news and stats without interruption.

In this session you will learn :
- How MLS planned and developed a long term digital strategy with Phase2 for sustainable and high performance management of their digital platform
- Techniques to implement sophisticated customization options into multiple sites while managing them on the same platform code base
- Best practices to execute autoscaling to save money and automatically handle traffic spikes
- How to apply technical and governance changes to make on-demand shifts less burdensome to prevent developer burnout
- The steps you need to take to implement microservices alongside a Drupal platform

Published in: Technology
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Score! Superior Digital Experiences with MLS

  1. 1. SCORE!
 SUPERIOR DIGITAL EXPERIENCES WITH MLS MAY 10, 2016 Brian Aznar
 (Director of Engineering, MLS Digital) Steven Merrill
 (Director of DevOps, Phase2)
  2. 2. BACKGROUND MLS & DIGITAL PRODUCTS
  3. 3. MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER STATE OF THE LEAGUE ‣ 20 current teams with plans to expand to 24 by 2020 ‣ Adding state of the art soccer-specific stadiums around the US - average in stadium audience exceeds NHL and NBA ‣ Expanding our reach in the US and around the world with great new TV distribution deals ‣ Young and multicultural fan base that is hungry for digital
  4. 4. MLS FANBASE ‣ Avids ‣ Regularly watches and attends MLS matches ‣ Consume soccer related content ‣ Regularly visits MLSsoccer.com and other soccer specific sites ‣ Casuals ‣ Occasionally watches and attends MLS Matches
  5. 5. MLS DIGITAL PRODUCT ECOSYSTEM ‣ Web: 20 club websites + 1 league web site using Drupal 7 ‣ Mobile Apps: iOS, Android ‣ Connected TV: Roku, Chomecast, Apple TV ‣ Services: Content API, Video & Stats ingest pipelines, Content delivery, etc … ‣ Infrastructure: AWS
  6. 6. 2015 CASE STUDY
  7. 7. GOAL ‣ Modernize and stabilize MLS’ web platform (backend and frontend) and successfully migrate 21 sites by the end of 2015 to AWS and D7.
  8. 8. THE TEAM
  9. 9. PHASE2 ‣ Founded in 2001 ‣ Offices in DC, NYC, San Francisco, and Portland ‣ Committed to open source technology ‣ Focus on how content is delivered, how
 teams collaborate, and how audiences
 experience information
  10. 10. PHASE2 & MLS ‣ Long-term partnership over 3 years ‣ Helped with D7 platform build ‣ March 2015 - we kicked off their migration to MP7 Drupal platform and into AWS
  11. 11. PHASE2 & MLS TECHNOLOGY TEAM ‣ Drupal Developers (Phase 2) ‣ Fullstack Javascript Developers: React, Backbone, Node.js & Go (MLS) ‣ DevOps (Phase 2) ‣ Process = Scrumban ‣ Maximize development velocity, agility and responsiveness to business needs. ‣ Centralized Development Team ‣ Moving from segmented teams towards a single cross disciplinary team.
  12. 12. CHALLENGES & SOLUTIONS
  13. 13. CHALLENGES WE NEEDED TO ADDRESS 1. Outdated UX originally built for desktop viewing only 2. Inflexible Authoring - Needed an efficient and scalable way to give clubs more control to build out their own content 3. Wasted Server Capacity - High variability in traffic patterns means planning for the worst
  14. 14. CHALLENGES WE NEEDED TO ADDRESS 4. High Fixed infrastructure costs 5. Poor Performance 6. Technology Soup - Go, node, CoreOS/Fleet, Docker,PHP/ Drupal (Multiple Versions) and Salt all managed with a lean team 7. Aggressive Migration - 21 websites and No downtime a. Avoiding major tent pole events that varied across clubs
  15. 15. 1. MODERN UI EXPERIENCE
  16. 16. ‣ Building blocks that editors can put together ‣ All features were designed to be responsive ‣ Video highlights are pushed from MLS’s video providers ‣ Import of MLS entities (teams/players/seasons) from MLS’s pipeline 2. EDITORIAL FLEXIBILITY
  17. 17. 3. SPIKEY TRAFFIC ‣ Traffic Spikes (avg 4x) centered around games and events ‣ League represented about half the traffic on average ‣ Great candidate for autoscaling
  18. 18. 4.a HIGH INFRASTRUCTURE COST ‣ 2 Infrastructures (One foot in the cloud) ‣ Drupal running in Rackspace Servers ‣ Services Running in AWS ‣ Drupal running on fixed set of large servers configured to handle the average amount of traffic plus physical devices (firewalls, NetApp storage…) ‣ Paying for unnecessary resources needs during off peak and off season traffic
  19. 19. 4.b MOVING INTO AWS ‣ Rackspace => AWS - everything in one cloud infrastructure ‣ Autoscaled Instances ‣ Additional operational benefits by using: ‣ Amazon RDS, ElastiCache, S3
  20. 20. AUTOSCALING ‣ Reduces stress ‣ Automatic healing ‣ Performance benefits ‣ Manual adjustment up and down ‣ Automatic scaling based on metrics ‣ Cost benefits
  21. 21. ‣ For autoscaling, you should build cattle, not pets ‣ Previous MLS autoscaling provisioned from scratch ‣ Phase2 built “fat” AMIs with all software + code ‣ Far faster deployment time ‣ An AMI can come up if everything else is down ‣ See Steven’s DevOps track session tomorrow for more info! AUTOSCALING BACKGROUND
  22. 22. A USUAL MONTH
  23. 23. THE OVERALL RESULT
  24. 24. 5. POOR PERFORMANCE ‣ Unsuccessful attempt at cloud multi region architecture ‣ Caching anomalies between Drupal in 2 datacenters ‣ Slow cache clearing bottlenecks ‣ Slow server response times > 1000 ms
  25. 25. ‣ Right-sized AWS instances to their workloads ‣ Upgraded to PHP 5.5 for a performance boost ‣ Optimal instance size + PHP 5.5 = 40% increased throughput ‣ Added stability fixes PERFORMANCE TUNING: QUICK WINS
  26. 26. ‣ Load Testing & Application Monitoring to find and remove bottlenecks ‣ Disabled DB read/write split for a massive speed increase ‣ Doubled the size of memcache instance ‣ Killed legacy code that cleared all of Drupal’s caches ‣ Results: ‣ Instance sizes reduced by half ‣ Massive decrease in average page render time PERFORMANCE TUNING
  27. 27. 6. TECH COMPLEXITY ‣ Clubs and League Content Sites ‣ Drupal (6/7) ‣ PHP (5.1/5.3) ‣ Jenkins / Salt for Deployment & Configuration Management ‣ Web Services / Stats & Video Ingest Pipeline / Misc Web Apps ‣ Node.js & Go ‣ CoreOS/Fleet/Docker & Teamcity for Deployment & Configuration Management ‣ Server Configuration Drift
  28. 28. 7. MIGRATION ‣ Seattle, Orlando, NYCFC were in place ‣ Large project management lift ‣ Coordination with stakeholders ‣ Training schedule ‣ Working with club schedules /
 game schedules ‣ Central Digital Club Services team played a huge role by managing coordination w/ clubs and drupal editors
  29. 29. ‣ Drupal multisite ‣ Saved server resources ‣ Made deploys smaller ‣ Worked for MLS Digital specifically because of the integrated nature of their Drupal platform ‣ No bespoke development per-club ‣ Centralized feature development ‣ Far lower support burden (6 people) MULTI-TENANT SETUP
  30. 30. PROJECT MILESTONES ‣ April 2015: Migrated first team site (NY Red Bulls) ‣ July: Turned on autoscaling ‣ April - November: Migrated MP7 ‣ October: League site launched! ‣ October: Decision Day ‣ December: Turned off Rackspace hosting ‣ January 2016: Helped hire in-house DevOps Engineer ‣ March: Successful 2016 Season Kickoff
  31. 31. TOOLS
  32. 32. TOOLS ‣ New Relic for Application Performance
 Management / Instrumentation ‣ Blaze meter for Load testing ‣ Datadog for Infrastructure Metrics
  33. 33. NEW RELIC ‣ Table Stakes Tooling for the Modern Technology Team ‣ Real Time End to End Client & Server metrics and performance measurement ‣ Introspection of everything from end page rendering on a user’s browser to PHP & DB bottlenecks on the server ‣ Tiers: ‣ Free - 1 day retention - good enough for load tests ‣ Pro - 90 day retention
  34. 34. REALTIME FULL STACK METRICS: CLIENT TO SERVER TO REPO
  35. 35. CLUB ROLLUPS REALTIME FULL STACK METRICS: CLIENT TO SERVER TO REPO
  36. 36. CLUB ROLLUPS MODULE, HOOK & VIEW PERFORMANCE
  37. 37. GLOBAL ROLLUPS MULTI SITE TOP LEVEL METRICS: AGGREGATE
  38. 38. CLUB ROLLUPS MULTI SITE TOP LEVEL METRICS: INDIVIDUAL SITE
  39. 39. SUMMARY
  40. 40. OUTCOMES ‣ Migrated fully onto AWS ‣ Lowered hosting bill significantly by leveraging AWS features ‣ Helped reduce support load through policy changes
 and new MLS hires ‣ Go see Steven’s session for more info
 on immutable infra!
  41. 41. PROBLEMS ADDRESSED IN 2015 1. Outdated front-end UI experience originally built for desktop viewing only 2. Club editorial teams needed more control and flexibility to build content that met their needs but we needed it all to fit within the same brand ecosystem 3. High variability in traffic patterns resulting wasted capacity
  42. 42. PROBLEMS ADDRESSED IN 2015 4. High fixed infrastructure costs 5. Managing multiple technologies (CoreOS/Fleet,Salt, PHP, Go, node) and versions (PHP, Drupal) with a small team 6. Migrating 21 websites without any down time and avoiding major tent pole events that varied across clubs
  43. 43. THE FUTURE
  44. 44. THE FUTURE ‣ Improving performance ‣ Improving editorial usability ‣ Further consolidation & simplification of tech stack ‣ #docker! ‣ Preparing for omnichannel
  45. 45. CHECK US OUT! labs.mlssoccer.com mlssoccer.com phase2technology.com SOCCER STADIUMS
 NEAR YOU!
  46. 46. QUESTIONS
  47. 47. SoHow Was It?- Tell Us What YouThink Evaluate this session - https://events.drupal.org/neworleans2016/schedule Thanks!

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