Lure of Azure strong as Microsoft takes Kiwi start-up to the cloud

Lure of Azure strong as Microsoft takes Kiwi start-up to the cloud

"Demand was so high that tickets for the two gigs we were selling sold out in a little over one minute."

One of New Zealand’s leading home-grown ticketing agencies, iTicket, is readying itself for an ambitious new phase of growth following the full migration of its operations to Microsoft’s regional Azure data centres in Australia.

Managing Director Reece Preston says that since migrating all iTicket’s systems to Microsoft’s Australian Azure data centres – previously hosted in Singapore – the company has seen a "notable improvement" in processing speeds for all its workloads.

"This means our customers are able to experience faster, hassle-free online booking, even with large on-sale peaks in demand; something even larger companies still tend to struggle with,” he says.

“The system scales to as many servers and databases as necessary to ensure the customer experience is a positive one, whether there is one person online, or 50,000."

In operating as a web, venue and mobile-based ticketing platform, Preston, who founded the company as a startup with fellow developer Phil Jobbins in 2004, says iTicket was created to be a “new breed” of ticketing company, with the aim of challenging the big multinational ticketing companies.

The company recently marked 10 years of business, and today is processing tens of millions of dollars’ worth of tickets every year for more than 1,000 clients across the country.

At present, iTicket handles a range of events, from those requiring just a few tickets, to much larger festivals with many thousands of attendees, including the Auckland Home Show, Big Boys Toys and the Armageddon Expo.

Preston says one of their most memorable experiences of recent years was ticketing two of Lorde’s earliest gigs in New Zealand when her fame was just starting to go global.

“Demand was so high that tickets for the two gigs we were selling sold out in a little over one minute,” he adds.

"The system coped with ease because we had scaled up the websites on the Azure platform to deal with the anticipated amount of traffic.

"Everything ran smoothly in spite of the high overall load - something that wouldn't have been possible with our pre-Azure system.”

Preston says the company is now prepping for a significant move into the fast-paced market of ticketing for sporting events, and that with Microsoft Azure underpinning the iTicket platform, they will be “stadium ready” for their soon-to-be announced foray into the competitive sports industry.

To be able to meet the demands of customers in such a competitive market, Preston says iTicket needed a "cost-effective yet massively scalable" online architecture in order to meet the needs of its growing business.

Hence why the company built and continues to run all its core services across Microsoft’s Azure platform, he explains, and also why they recently migrated their sites and database to Microsoft’s Australia-based Azure data centres.

"We work directly with promoters and venues across New Zealand to deliver a seamless ticketing operation for customers - with efficient online and mobile ticketing, box office software, outlet sales and telephone support," he adds.

"Microsoft’s Azure platform offers us a wealth of cloud services including infrastructure services, data management, web applications, development and virtual machine testing, storage, backup, and recovery services.

"It allows us to handle massive spikes in demand without us having to own millions of dollars’ worth of server equipment, or employ huge development teams."

Preston says that from their earliest beginnings, technology has played a major part in how iTicket has been able to compete with – and have the ability to out-perform – larger ticketing organisations.

"iTicket is a graduate of the international Microsoft Bizspark programme for Independent Software Vendors (ISVs)," he adds.

"Microsoft New Zealand continues to take an active role in the on-going development of the iTicket platform now running in the Cloud."

Preston says iTicket is "proudly 100% Kiwi owned" and over the last decade has taken on the multinationals to deliver millions of tickets for thousands of events to many happy, repeat customers in New Zealand.

“We are working incredibly hard to deliver a brilliant service using great technology, whilst at the same time fostering a brand with personality, and the personal touch – something that ticketing companies tend to struggle with," he adds.

"Microsoft Azure provides us with the scalability and flexibility to be able to handle any challenge – today, and as we grow - and the confidence that comes with knowing that all our data is secure and managed in regional data centres."

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