14 Apr

ABN Cloud: AWS Case Study: Shazam

About Shazam

Shazam connects more than 200 million people, in more than 200 countries and 33 languages, to the music, TV shows and brands they love. Every week another 1.5 million curious people embrace Shazam. All this makes Shazam the world’s leading media discovery company. It’s an amazing app, available now on all major app stores and platforms. And Shazam is always looking for new and innovative ways to delight fans.

The Shazam mobile application helps people identify and connect with the media content around them. When they hear a song or see a TV program or ad they like, they simply activate the app to “tag” it. Once tagged, the relevant information is displayed, such as song and album title or the name of the TV show or product. Additional content is also provided such as video, lyrics, and other information. Fans can choose to share these tags on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter as well as buy music from Amazon MP3 on the Android platform.

Shazam branched out into television content and is one of the leaders in second-screen television, which was heavily utilized in TV advertising campaigns that aired throughout the 2012 Super Bowl.

To date, Shazam’s offerings have attracted more than 200 million fans in over 200 countries worldwide. The company is headquartered in London, with additional offices in the United States and South Korea.

The Challenge

Building for success and expected uplift / spike in demand on the service during their Super Bowl advertising campaign, Shazam looked toward cloud technology as a means to rapidly ratchet up capacity to cope with the world’s biggest televised sporting event.

Jason Titus, Shazam’s CTO, explains, “We considered other cloud providers, benchmarked them, and evaluated how they would build out to handle our capacity requirements. In the end, we chose Amazon Web Services (AWS) because they have the reliability, support infrastructure, and full suite of services that meets our needs.”

Why Amazon Web Services

After selecting AWS, Shazam implemented its new solution in only eight weeks, taking advice from its AWS Enterprise Support team to ensure maximum platform utilization. The company primarily relied on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Cluster Compute Quadruple Extra Large Instances, which are specifically designed for high performance compute (HPC) applications. Traffic was distributed across these instances with Elastic Load Balancing.

Amazon DynamoDB initially served as a secondary data store for user activity and interaction logs. However, this new NoSQL database service was integrated into the production environment as the primary data store when Shazam realized it could support over 500,000 writes per second. The company is also using Amazon Elastic MapReduce (Amazon EMR) for large-scale data analysis that can require more than 1 million writes per second.

For Shazam, the ability to scale resources to meet dramatic activity spikes is of particular importance. During the recent high-volume Super Bowl event, Shazam processed millions of transactions simply by calling up 200 Amazon EC2 Cluster Compute Instances and then reduced that number as demand waned. Jason Titus notes, “We were able to provision resources from AWS without the time required to provision new hardware or to build a new data center ourselves.” A large contributor to the success of Shazam’s event was the work done beforehand with the help of AWS Enterprise Support. Working hand in hand with a dedicated Technical Account Manager (TAM), the support team provided real-time assistance to Shazam, ensuring that their application would scale to meet the anticipated demand of the event. In addition to the upfront support, the AWS Enterprise Support team also provided 24/7 monitoring and assistance from the US and Europe during the event, and had AWS engineering resources on standby should their assistance be required.

The Benefits

Implementing resources from AWS enabled millions of Shazam fans to tag the entire Super Bowl event, from the game to the half time show to the advertising campaigns featured. “AWS gave us the flexibility to bring a massive amount of capacity online in a short period of time and allowed us to do so in an operationally straightforward way. AWS is now Shazam’s cloud provider of choice,” says Titus.

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