Channel 5 uses hybrid cloud to bring Big Brother to its viewers

Executive summary

Challenge: Managing unpredictable spikes of web traffic volume from the millions of Big Brother viewers

Solution: Application hosting and management solution for Big Brother and social media apps

Results: Traffic doubled but Channel 5 did not experience any downtime across its website nor apps

Managing unpredictable web traffic volumes

Channel 5’s strategy is to drive additional on-demand video views from the Big Brother catch up-programmes and clips, increasing user engagement through social media by pushing news, content and interaction to Twitter, Facebook, and via the dedicated Big Brother website www.channel5.com/bigbrother. These applications needed to cope with extremely high volumes of traffic.

The application hosting and management needed to:

  • cope with huge and unpredictable traffic spikes.
  • be scalable so that Channel 5 were not paying too much when demand was low.
  • ensure availability of Channel 5’s other sites was not affected during maximum application availability of Big Brother
  • be implemented and tested in only six weeks

Application hosting and management solution

Having worked with Claranet since 2008, Channel 5 chose us to deliver the application hosting and management for Channel 5's Big Brother apps.

Claranet’s managed application hosting was complemented by Amazon Web Services’ Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform, enabling dynamic provisioning so Channel 5 only pays for the burst capacity it uses.

The hybrid cloud service can handle 45,000 page impressions per second, so it can deal with the sudden surges of interest from Big Brother. The application hosting design included provision for unpredictability, so Channel 5 could scale the service to their needs in real time, and burst into the cloud at times of peak demand.

Availability was constant as the apps were replicated across three data centres which fail over to each other in case of any outages. Claranet manages the live environment and the apps themselves to ensure the best possible performance.

Because the Big Brother audience is one of the most demographically valuable in the TV marketplace, and given the predominantly young audience’s preference for social media, our core strategy was to provide much greater opportunities for digital engagement with the programme.”

Paul Thornton-Jones
IT Director - Channel 5

Increased traffic and no downtime

The addition of the two Big Brother applications more than doubled the amount of total Channel 5 traffic; yet since the system went live, there has been no downtime, either for the new applications or for the rest of Channel 5’s web properties.

"It was a big challenge to accomplish in a very small amount of time, but we couldn’t countenance failure. Claranet fully repaid our trust in them: they delivered on the guarantees they promised in their service level agreement by providing an affordable, scalable and ultra-reliable hosting and management service for the two apps, both of which are crucial to our digital strategy for Big Brother.”

Paul Thornton-Jones
IT Director - Channel 5

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