Scalability at work: The Swipe iX Perspective

December 3, 2019

Scalability at work: The Swipe iX Perspective

In our last post, we chatted to Deon Heunis, our CTO, to get a bit more of an insight on why it is important for businesses to consider scalability in their systems. We looked into some of the key benefits of implementing it effectively (as well as the pitfalls of not doing so). In this post we’ll be drilling a little deeper into the specifics of scalability in the Swipe iX context, and how we incorporate it into our work to make sure what we build for clients truly fulfill their requirements.

Last time we spoke about Sustainability more generally, but how does it show up in the Swipe iX context?

We’ve adopted the AWS Well-Architected Framework in our business and all of our systems are built using it. Basically it is a tool that helps you to understand the pros and cons of decisions while building systems in the cloud, to ensure that you’re following best practices for designing and operating reliable, secure, efficient, and cost-effective solutions. It also gives you a way to consistently assess your system and identify areas for improvement. Our AWS-certified Solutions Architects have years of experience across a wide variety of business verticals and cases, using the system to design and review hundreds of customers’ architectures.

What kind of considerations does the framework cover?

There are five main pillars you look at as part of the framework:

·       Operational Excellence: how to run and monitor systems in a way that offers value while also continually improving supporting processes and procedures.

·       Security: ensuring you protect information, systems and assets while adding value through risk assessment and mitigation strategies.

·       Reliability: building systems that are able to both mitigate and recover from disruptions, as well as dynamically acquire resources to meet demands.

·       Performance Efficiency: the ability to match resources to system requirements, and maintain this balance efficiency as demand and circumstances change.

·       Cost Optimisation: designing systems that provide the most value at the lowest price point.

What example can you give of this in practice?

A great example of this in practice is the voting system we developed for DSTV for use in shows like Idols South Africa. It is a really demanding task because you have millions of passionate fans who feel deeply invested in the result. They also need to trust that their vote has been properly counted and the process is “free and fair”. If you get it wrong, the whole concept of the show is challenged, so it’s vital to build a system that can stand up to whatever you throw at it.

We developed robust systems and methods of managing the voting process using the AWS framework, handling over 33,000 votes per second with 100% uptime. Plus the system is able to deliver results in three hours instead of three days, and because it’s been considered with scalability in mind, it can be applied to any other voting situation for the broadcaster too. 

Where do you see this kind of thinking going in the future?

For a start, we’d hope to see more companies moving towards the cloud and fewer crashes due to scaling issues as a result. A great example of this recently was Computicket’s sales for Federer vs Nadal event in Cape Town. They managed to sell out 48,000 tickets in 10 minutes without a hitch – something that would be inconceivable for an online platform in South Africa a few years ago.

That’s all from us for now on the subject of scalability, but to see it in action you can always read up on some of our case studies. We’ve focused in on it in these posts but it really is something we consider in all of our work. To find out how we could help to build or streamline the systems in your business with scalability and cloud computing technologies, get in touch to start the conversation. 


Sharen van Lill

Marketing Manager

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