The Canadian Press

Building a scalable, cost-effective election news feed with CloudFormation and Aurora

Founded in 1917, The Canadian Press is Canada’s independent news agency. More than 180 journalists provide real-time, bilingual multimedia stories across a diverse number of platforms.

The Challenge

The team at The Canadian Press provides real-time data to news organizations across Canada during both provincial and federal elections. While their original solution was sufficient, they wanted to better leverage the dynamic nature of the AWS platform to create environments on-demand and deploy development and testing environments only when required to help drive cost savings in the environment.

Additionally, they wanted to lower the administration overhead by leveraging serverless solutions wherever possible.

The Solution

Working with the development team, Curious Orbit helped transition the elections platform from the Relational Database Service (RDS) running the MySQL engine to Amazon Aurora. We also developed a series of modular, easy-to-maintain CloudFormation templates.

“News outlets across the country rely on The Canadian Press for live election results and with Curious Orbit’s help, serving millions of user requests this year for two major provincial elections was smooth sailing. Their solution gave us confidence, boosted our performance and kept costs under control.”

Andrew Lundy, Vice President Digit, The Canadian Press

The Outcome

By leveraging Aurora, we were able to lower the administration overhead associated with RDS and improve performance dramatically. By transitioning to CloudFormation, the team is now able to programmatically deploy their entire election application stack across many environments on-demand.

During a recent provincial election, the redesigned solution sustained over 1 million requests per minute on a small fleet of Burstable EC2 instances.