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Now That’s What I Call an AWS Infrastructure!

Since mid-2018 we’ve been working on an exciting project with one of the biggest names in the music business.

In a world of streaming music, the physical CD is not what it once was. Now That’s What I Call Music! is the biggest selling compilation brand in the world. Since the release of the first Now! album in 1983 no one has come close to challenging this world-renowned label.

But the market has changed and online streaming services have begun to take over from much loved physical formats. So Now! have set out to ensure their position by launching their own streaming service, Now Music Plus. Our remit was to design, build and deploy a new, stronger AWS infrastructure for the service that was capable of performing efficiently under heavy demand and could support NOW!’s rapidly growing user base.

Pitch perfect

In 2017, we were asked to pitch our services for the NOW! project through our partnership with AWS. Our thorough research, obvious expertise and customary no-nonsense approach saw our pitch chosen ahead of the others. We asked questions about the project, driven by our curiosity and passion for the challenge, and spent time trying to understand NOW!’s problems, rather than using the time to regurgitate standard messages about the benefits of cloud.

We come from a development background. This meant we were best placed to support NOW!’s internal development team during and after the project. NOW! recognised the value of our development-first approach. Whereas working with a purely operations-focused team — AWS experts without a development background — would have led to gaps in understanding with the NOW! team, our expertise would allow us to form a cohesive relationship. That, combined with our team’s enthusiasm and fascination with the project, sealed the deal.

Bearing the load

The Now Music Plus application was already hosted with Amazon Web Services. However, the infrastructure has occasionally suffered when faced with particularly high demand. This was demonstrated on Christmas Day last year, when the service ran an advertisement and received a huge number of registrations. As the infrastructure was not fully optimised, it struggled to process such a fantastic increase in traffic.

NOW! has aggressive goals for the growth of their service, and it was clear that their current infrastructure wasn’t going to scale with their ambitions. That meant using our experience in AWS operations to build a new infrastructure that utilised performance efficiency best practice, breaking down the application’s monolithic architecture and effectively deploying AWS automatical scaling tools across the cluster. This would allow NOW!’s application to continue operating efficiently as the volume of active users rose.

As part of the migration to the new AWS infrastructure we moved the application to a set of microservices deployed in a Kubernetes cluster. In doing so, we were able to use Kubernetes to automate the deployment, scaling, and management of the Now Music Plus app.

Working with the NOW! team

Our team worked closely with NOW! to design the new AWS infrastructure and support their development team throughout the process. This included day to day consultations with the development team as we identified the best approach to migrating and hosting the app. Once the planning was in place, we got to work building the infrastructure for NOW!

Isotoma supported the NOW! team throughout the project and the launch. And now the new version is fully up and running, we provide a 24x7 managed service, giving the NOW! team ongoing support and peace of mind as and when it’s needed.

Technologies: AWS, Kubernetes
Duration: 9 months
Team size: 2 engineers
Hosted: AWS

Measuring up your migration

We loved working on this challenging project with NOW!, and we are delighted to have migrated Now Music Plus to an infrastructure capable of coping with the demands of the app’s many users.

If you have a migration migraine or require an AWS infrastructure that performs efficiently under pressure, we’d be delighted to help, so please get in touch.

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