Scaling next-generation internet TV on AWS with Docker, Packer, and Chef

At DramaFever, we operate a next-generation internet TV platform, with offerings ranging from international dramas with original content, to AMC’s Sundance Documentary site; a “screams on demand” horror site, and beyond.

At peak load, we serve tens of thousands of requests per second, and our AWS instance count autoscales up 10-20x throughout the week. In order to scale, we’ve used a variety of open-source tools and innovative techniques to manage our fleet of instances. They serve our main Django application and Go microservices, and include Docker in our production request path (for almost two years now), and a recent overhaul of our deployment pipeline using golden images built with Chef and Packer.

Working on a small distributed team, we have had to practice effective communication to maintain our pace of change, while also keeping our sites highly available. In this talk, I will touch on the remote-work tooling and culture that enables this.

I will detail how we’ve reduced our time to production and increased our infrastructure maintainability. I will also share some of the pitfalls and corner cases we have been working through along the way. Attendees will leave with practical tips they’ll be able to implement right away, as well as inspiration for the possibilities inherent in a fully containerized infrastructure.