CUSTOMER STORY

SISTIC Singapore saves 80% of costs and accelerates go-to-market speed with F5 NGINX Plus

BENEFITS

80% cost savings

Infinite scalability

Faster go-to-market capability

CHALLENGES

Need for a more cost-effective solution

Need for a new architecture that matches the dynamism of a container-based cloud platform

Need for scalability

SISTIC Singapore, the leading and largest ticketing agency in the country, recently built a second private cloud to improve its scalability and increase its deployment efficiency. SISTIC needed a new architecture that could match the dynamism of its container-based cloud platform. The agency was also looking for better manageability of its application services, on top of lower overheads. To achieve these objectives, SISTIC turned to F5 NGINX Plus.

SISTIC Singapore is the country’s largest ticketing agency and one of the leading e-commerce players in the events industry, selling over millions of tickets to date. SISTIC manages an extensive portfolio of major events each year through its ability to deliver a seamless ticketing solution and a one-stop marketplace dedicated to the arts, culture and entertainment.

To maintain its leadership in the event ticketing industry, it is critical to provide SISTIC’s customers with an enhanced ticketing experience while having the future ability to scale. Utilizing F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) to deliver its application services to the customers in a reliable, secure and optimized way, the agency also has the extensibility, flexibility and programmability to manage its cloud, virtual and physical infrastructure. F5 BIG-IP LTM sits at the frontend of SISTIC’s environment—doing the heavy lifting, providing advanced application services and improving the security, performance and resilience for hundreds or even thousands of applications that sat behind it.

The Problem

As SISTIC marketed more events and targeted more customers, the agency was looking to scale up their applications services. The shift to microservices and the resulting changes to the people, process, and technology of application infrastructure require frequent changes to apps. In addition, the F5 platform was solely managed by SISTIC’s infrastructure and security teams. While their application team was more familiar with the customer public-facing redirections requirement, the team was restricted from accessing the F5 platform. This became a problem in terms of manageability as the application team had to put in a request with the infrastructure team, causing delays and issues with manageability. SISTIC needed a platform that can integrate easily into both workflows to accelerate deployments, while still having the power to simplify, automate and customize their application services faster and more predictably. 

More importantly, SISTIC wanted to build a second private cloud that featured containerization. While leveraging containers meant that SISTIC could develop cloud-native apps faster with a ‘write once, run anywhere’ methodology, trying to fit the second cloud into a traditionally static, IT-managed configuration meant deployment may not be the most efficient. The ability to scale agility and flexibility, without impacting current applications or the customer experience, could also be affected, as a traditional system may not be able to keep up.

Instead of attempting to retrofit the current architecture to suit a new set of needs, parameters, and standards, SISTIC needed a cost-effective solution that was just as dynamic as their container-based cloud platform and applications.

 

"With a second, containerized private cloud, we had to ensure minimal impact and downtime to our existing ticketing solution. We knew that if we stuck to a traditional configuration, we could face challenges with deployment efficiency and scalability. We needed a cost-effective way to address these and enable our teams to enjoy smoother collaboration so that they can introduce new and better features for our customers."

The Solution

SISTIC needed a self-service, API-driven platform that integrates easily into workflows to accelerate app deployment and make app lifecycle management easier. The agency opted to deploy F5 NGINX Plus to simplify its architecture while reducing costs with its all-in-one load balancer. Retaining their F5 BIG-IP LTM infrastructure at the frontend to provide advanced application services to its mission‑critical apps, F5 NGINX Plus is a lightweight software load balancer placed directly in front of SISTIC’s modern application environments.

NGINX is decoupled from the hardware and operating system, enabling it to be part of SISTIC’s application stack. F5 NGINX Plus empowers both the infrastructure and application teams to directly manage software load balancer and configure any associated application services, automating them as part of a CI/CD framework. Its user-friendly and customizable features enable SISTIC to streamline and enjoy better manageability of its application services. With no need to consult the infrastructure team, new configuration changes and requests can now be implemented much faster—new features can be produced and deployed within a week, instead of months.

F5 NGINX Plus is also able to support the addition of a second, containerized private cloud. Its lightweight and programmable characteristics meant that the solution consumes very few compute resources and imposes little to no additional strain to SISTIC’s infrastructure, making it ideal for container environments used by application teams. As containerized application lifecycles are dynamic and transient, F5 NGINX Plus enables SISTIC’s cloud-based system to enjoy optimal performance, while empowering it with the agility needed to keep up with the spinning up and down of containers that can happen on a minute-by-minute basis.

Used throughout SISTIC’s customer-facing web servers, F5 NGINX Plus has successfully extended the existing load balancing capabilities, enabling the agency to scale out and handle more users than with a single server. Should one server fail, other servers are readily available, ensuring that SISTIC’s applications are constantly available.

In addition to its load balancing capabilities, F5 NGINX Plus is an all-in-one API gateway, sidecar proxy, content cache, and web server. It delivers static assets with unparalleled speed and efficiency, handling hundreds of thousands of customers simultaneously. F5 NGINX Plus also provides session persistence to direct user requests to the same backend server, active health checks to detect or resolve issues to improve the reliability of SISTIC’s applications, and service discovery using DNS to automatically detect devices and services on a network to shorten the configuration set up process.

Its caching mechanism enables the agency to improve the performances of its applications, even when users hit the same URL addresses repeatedly in a short period of time. F5 NGINX Plus allows for rules to be rewritten in an agile way, and this gives SISTIC the flexible ability to configure permanent or temporary redirections for selected URLs.

"Thanks to F5 NGINX Plus, we were able to save 80% of costs and enjoy faster go-to market for new application features. Its usability allows my team to collaborate better with the applications team, enabling us to successfully streamline our processes and manage our overheads. With this new deployment, we faced hardly any issues and thoroughly enjoy using it. Needless to say, we are impressed by how F5 NGINX Plus solidifies its value proposition of speed, scalability, and ease of use across any platform.”

Benefits

Thanks to the adoption of F5 NGINX Plus, SISTIC has improved the scalability of its container-based cloud platform and now enjoys the flexibility and agility of a system that has infinite scalability. As a result, SISTIC has enjoyed significant cost savings and is able to introduce new features to customers in a shorter time.

80% cost savings

F5 NGINX Plus has enabled SISTIC to add a second, container-based private cloud in an extremely cost-effective way, as compared to a traditionally static, IT-managed configuration. SISTIC can now run, produce and deploy new features in one week, instead of months, without compromising performance or functionality. The agency also saw a 95% improvement in feature velocity.

Hyper scale across applications

F5 NGINX Plus allowed SISTIC to scale flexibly and seamlessly. The distribution across several application servers also means that users can be handled by more than one server, without affecting the runtime of current applications or the user experience of customers.

Faster go-to-market capability

F5 NGINX Plus enabled SISTIC to run, produce and deploy new products and services in a much shorter timeframe than before. This was also aided by better manageability, as new configuration changes and requests are now implemented in a much faster way.