Live Nation Citrix Application Delivery for Entertainment & Leisure
When tickets for major artists go on sale, our online ticket requests jump a hundredfold. NetScaler gives us the ability to easily handle major demands on our site. It’s made a huge difference in our capacity. Jim Hayes VP, Data Center Operations, Live Nation
Key benefits • Reduced server requirements and costs by 50 percent • Provided capacity to support 100x spikes in site traffic • Enabled a positive experience for customers and employees • Easy to install and maintain
Live Nation quickly serves event tickets to crowds of fans with Citrix NetScaler Headquartered in Beverly Hills, California, Live Nation is a promoter and producer of live events ranging from rock concerts to theatrical shows and specialized motor sports, with total attendance exceeding 61 million. Live Nation also owns or operates more than 160 U.S. and international venues, including House of Blues, featuring live music and Southern cuisine. The company, formed as a spin-off from Clear Channel Communications, has about 4,000 employees in 150 locations across the U.S. and Europe.
The Challenge: Handling huge traffic spikes on a consolidated ticketing site When Live Nation spun off from Clear Channel Communications, the new company faced an urgent need to create a unified corporate brand. At the time, Live Nation encompassed nearly 100 different Web sites — one for each live event promoter and venue. “We needed to dismantle all the individual sites with their separate identities, and create a single international site with the Live Nation brand,” explained Jim Hayes, vice president for Data Center Operations. However, Hayes and his team recognized that driving all traffic to one site would lead to major usage spikes when tickets for popular concerts went on sale. “We had to ensure high performance and high capacity during those peak periods.”
Implementing a Citrix Application Delivery Infrastructure solution Over a six-month period, Hayes and his team built the infrastructure for the new, consolidated Web site, livenation.com. To provide server load balancing and application performance enhancement, the team selected Citrix® NetScaler®. “I had worked with NetScaler at my previous company, and the other team members were familiar with it also. It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that we would use the Citrix solution,” Hayes explained. Working with FusionStorm, a Gold Citrix® Solution Advisor, the Live Nation IT team installed and configured its two high-availability pairs of NetScaler 10000-series appliances in a short period. “The implementation was really very simple, thanks to Citrix support personnel who helped us over the phone,” he said. Currently, NetScaler provides load balancing for the company’s front-end Web servers to optimize application performance for site visitors. It also optimizes traffic between the Web servers and back-end databases.
Further, Citrix NetScaler is used to load-balance servers hosting internal corporate applications, including a proprietary event management system and Oracle financials. These applications are used by more than 300 Live Nation employees. Finally, the company uses Citrix Presentation Server™ with Microsoft® Windows Server® 2003 and Windows® 2000 Server for reliable delivery of about 50 custom applications including TMSS, an in-house time and tracking system for 500 employees.
Providing a positive e-commerce experience for customers Citrix NetScaler technologies for performance optimization enable Live Nation to accommodate large spikes in traffic, allowing ticket purchasers to get through to the site quickly and conduct their transactions. Hayes said, “When tickets for major artists go on sale, our requests jump a hundred-fold. NetScaler gives us the ability to easily handle major demands on our site. It’s made a huge difference in our capacity. Providing a fast, seamless experience for customers encourages repeat business and, at a high level, enhances the new corporate brand.” Live Nation leverages a number of NetScaler capabilities, including Citrix AppCompress for advanced HTTP compression to speed the delivery of Web-based application data to all users, and layer 4-7 traffic management for fine-grained direction of client requests to ensure optimal distribution of traffic. ®
Reducing server costs by half Citrix NetScaler has allowed Live Nation to manage its site traffic with 50 percent fewer servers. Hayes noted, “I don’t have to have as much hardware behind the site. It’s a huge benefit that NetScaler can manage front-end connections and maintain persistent connections to the back-end. Without NetScaler, we would probably need at least twice as many servers. This saved us close to six figures in hardware and other costs.” NetScaler integrates hardware-based SSL acceleration to offload the compute-intensive processes of SSL connection set-up and bulk encryption from Web servers. SSL acceleration reduces CPU utilization on servers, freeing server resources for other tasks. SSL acceleration is automatically enhanced by TCP optimizations and is fully integrated with the AppCompress and Citrix® AppCache™ functionality.
Enabling Future Growth Live Nation’s IT team is in the process of expanding the corporate Web infrastructure to include support for its international Web sites. Hayes concluded, “Thanks to NetScaler, we’re nowhere near capacity on the front end, so we can accommodate the additional traffic from these sites. NetScaler has a lot of flexibility. It’s the best solution for everything we want to do.”
About the Citrix Solution Citrix® NetScaler® optimizes the delivery of Web applications—increasing security and improving performance and Web server capacity. This approach ensures the best total cost of ownership (TCO), security, availability, and performance for Web applications. Citrix Presentation Server™ is the de facto standard for delivering Windows applications at the lowest cost—to any user, anywhere. It offers both application virtualization and application streaming delivery methods to enable the best access experience for any user, with any device, working over any network. ©2007 Citrix Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. Citrix®, NetScaler®, Citrix Presentation Server™, AppCompress™ and AppCache™ are trademarks or registered trademarks of Citrix Systems, Inc. and/or one or more of its subsidiaries, and may be registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries. Microsoft®, Windows® and Windows Server® are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are property of their respective owners. LiveNation.0907.pdf
Networking environment • Citrix® NetScaler® running on two HA pairs of 10000-series appliances • Citrix Presentation Server™ running on 12 HP DL380 G5 servers • Microsoft® Windows Server® 2003 and Windows® 2000 Server
Applications delivered • Oracle financials • Proprietary eventmanagement system • TMSS employee time and tracking application • www.LiveNation.com, an in-house-developed concert search site based on the Open Source LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP)