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1 North Trade Building Noorderlaan 133/8 B-2030 Antwerp T +32 (0) F +32 (0) Kinepolis.com: always available and reachable in the Cloud Since November 2011, the Kinepolis.com infrastructure is housed at Nucleus. Kinepolis, with its 23 movie theater complexes in Belgium, France, Spain, Poland and Switzerland, has elected Nucleus to host all their websites. Combined, these Kinepolis websites are good for over unique visitors a day, abundant page views, tons of video downloads and a constant stream of online reservations. The websites themselves also make use of a self-developed banner/ad system, which promotes new movies or shines a commercial light on other topics. For each movie the option is provided to stream its trailers in 480p high definition on the site itself. The most important goal is to swiftly provide each visitor access to his/her (personalized) content and from there smoothly through to the checkout in order to purchase tickets. Keeping in mind the importance of online ticket sales to Kinepolis, Nucleus was given the challenge to put together an always on hosting model. Jo De Pelsmaeker, ICT Competence Centre Manager at Kinepolis: Mid 2011 we put a serious challenge in front of 7 suppliers: In little over a month, they had to prepare an extensive virtual environment, on which we would build our new consumer website. The suppliers had to guarantee they could deliver on a few key demands, such as account for sudden unpredictable peaks and respond quickly to unexpected situations. Nucleus was one of the few suppliers capable of providing a correct solution, based on their wide base of experience and know-how. Since then, they have done just that. The infrastructure was in place by the agreed-upon deadline and incidents and adjustments are being responded to swiftly and professionally. Kinepolis has found its safe haven in Nucleus. NUCLEUS Hosting Solution Builder 1

2 Multiple servers and pro-active monitoring: Hardware failure excluded. Every server used in this project is being managed by Nucleus within its public Cloud. The Nucleus public Cloud is a VMWare environment, built from dozens of servers and storage clusters. The choice for Apache was made to give the web developers the freedom to still be able to selectively overwrite configuration elements of PHP and Apache via.htaccess files. An alternative configuration could have been made up of Nginx en PHP-FPM for example. Load balancing needed This way, any form of hardware failure is excluded. Should a physical machine fail, the Cloud servers are immediately taken over by other hardware within the public Cloud. Extensive resource monitoring also makes it possible to meet Kinepolis shifting needs for flexibility and scalability. Both scale up and scale out can be applied. Proactive monitoring of both the Cloud systems and the application itself, warns the Nucleus NOC 24/7 of (threatening) problems, so the Nucleus system administrators can manually intervene. Drupal as basis: flexible content management but still scalable The Kinepolis website is completely built on Drupal 7. The many plugins and expansions to Drupal gave the web developers a solid foundation to build the website on. A site of this magnitude has a need for load balancing in order to spread the load to multiple systems, because one webserver isn t sufficient to serve all those visitors. Multiple webservers have to be used behind a load balancer, which distributes the workload over the active webservers. That load balancer will send a visitor to one of those webserver nodes to process the request. Should one of those webservers become unreachable, it will automatically be removed from the pool of available nodes, to prevent the load balancer from launching another request at that system. A load balancer doesn t just take care of dividing the workload; it also provides high availability to the system and failover. By opting for Drupal, the choice was made to build up the Kinepolis infrastructure with PHP, MySQL, Apache and a cluster of Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems. T +32 (0) F +32 (0) NUCLEUS Hosting Solution Builder 2

3 Redundancy trumps all The entire Kinepolis environment was built with only one purpose in mind: to always be available. A split database: an added security After all, the website is the most important means of selling movie theater tickets. That s why every server is made to be redundant and keep the website online. Likewise, there are multiple load balancers, placed in an Active/Passive configuration. Both contain the same configuration, but there is only one active at a time. Should one load balancer fail, the other will automatically take over its duties. At the point of such a failover the IP addresses are automatically transferred to the new load balancer as well, so the user doesn t experience any problems from DNS adjustments. The right webserver for the right task The Kinepolis environment makes use of multiple webservers: Apache and Lighttpd. The Apache server deals with all the dynamic requests. So every page that has to be processed through PHP end up on the Apache webserver. The database behind Kinepolis is provided by my MySQL as the default choice for Drupal. We make use of MySQL replication to supply multiple database servers: one master and multiple slave servers. All disk operations (Update, Delete, Insert ) are sent to the master database and replicated to the slaves. All read operations are sent to the slave database server(s). Because the site consists primarily of read-operations, those operations can be handled easily by the slave database servers. In the meantime, the most frequently accessed data is also Memcached in order to limit the amount of queries to the database to a minimum. To cache or not to cache, always equally fast Kinepolis offers its visitors the ability to log in and create a personal account which is tailored to their personal movie taste. Not everyone has such an account, which means you can divide the visitors into 2 large groups: anonymous visitors and logged-in users. All static content (images, css, javascript-files, trailers...) are processed by Lighttpd. It is a lightweight webserver, which is ideally suited for delivering static content. There s no PHP processing done here. An anonymous visitor will always see the same page. Whether you visit the site anonymously from work or at home, the homepage and all movie-pages are the same. A logged-in user can personalize his/her pages. It means every logged-in user gets to see a unique site, pertaining only to him/her. What this amounts to is that the pages for anonymous T +32 (0) F +32 (0) NUCLEUS Hosting Solution Builder 3

4 visitors can be placed in a cache, so they don t have to be generated by PHP every time. We do this by making use of a Varnish caching server that can deliver those pages from the cache to the user. It makes for a great gain in speed for both the visitor (who gets to see the page much faster) and the server (because it has to deal with fewer PHP pages). This also means that this caching reduces taxation on the entire environment: When fewer pages have to be processed through PHP, there will also be less MySQL/memcached requests and that in turn relieves the whole infrastructure. This way there are plenty resources left to generate the personalized pages for the logged-in users, so they don t experience any loss in speed. These steps are guided by the Nucleus devops team, so a strong collaboration between system administrators and developers is in place from a very early stage. This doesn t just allow for early detection of bottlenecks, but also makes dual way feedback about the optimization of code and systems possible. Because of that same collaboration between the developers of the web builders and the operators at Nucleus, we can act quickly to detect problems both fast and to-the-point. The techies understand each other and communicate in their own language. Conclusion In short, the new web infrastructure of Kinepolis has come into its own at Nucleus. Through close collaboration with the web builders, the proven Cloud platform of Nucleus and the in-house know-how, we can guarantee that Kinepolis website will always have the highest availability. More information? No development without good staging The web developers make any adjustments to the website(s) on local machines first. Next a release is made and sent to the staging server, which contains a copy of the entire infrastructure: from Varnish caching to Apache, PHP, MySQL and Memcached. A good stating environment has to be a correct representation of the real environment. Do you have a project where scalability and uptime are important? Or do you seek advice on how your infrastructure could run optimally in a datacenter so you can cut costs? Reach out to us: 03/ After the successful staging, comes the deployment to the live environment. Download Het is Cloudy vandaag for free at /cloudy T +32 (0) F +32 (0) NUCLEUS Hosting Solution Builder 4

5 About Nucleus Nucleus is a hosting solution builder. This means Nucleus is specialized in professional hosting, from shared hosting solutions and domains, to complex colocation, managed dedication and Cloud server solutions. As Hosting Solution Builder, Nucleus delivers adequate hosting solutions made to measure for the customer. The Nucleus headquarters are located in Antwerp and the company operates from four independent datacenters (Antwerp, Diegem, Nossegem and Zaventem). At the moment Nucleus manages over 1600 servers within its network and has a redundant hosted Cloud solution. North Trade Building Noorderlaan 133/8 B-2030 Antwerp T +32 (0) F +32 (0) NUCLEUS Hosting Solution Builder 5

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