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Case Study: Amey the Forth Bridges - Developing for Sporadic High Demand - Microsoft Workload

Executive Summary

As well as being designated Unesco World Heritage site, the Forth Bridges form part of a critical Scottish road infrastructure link.  Owing to their geographical location, the bridges are vulnerable to changes in prevailing weather conditions and this can drive high volumes of traffic to the website.

Agidea were challenged to provide a highly available cloud-based, web application to ensure that information about the bridges, including real-time camera images and telemetry was delivered in a timely manner.

Using AWS, Agidea were able to develop a load-balanced, autoscaling solution for the Forth Bridges, in which server hardware is provisioned in response to demand from website traffic.  The resulting solution is robust, stable and highly cost effective.

Customer Challenge

What was the challenge?

During periods of adverse weather, traffic to the web application can spike in response to demand from customers checking if the bridges are open and in use.  The highest recorded website traffic was around 3000 concurrent users.  However, during normal conditions, the traffic to the website can be relatively low, in the region of tens of website visitors per minute.

Pre-provisioning a static web server to cope with peak demand would be very expensive as a large web server would always need to be in service.  Amey approached Agidea as they needed an affordable solution that could also cope with unpredictable surges in website traffic.



Given the nature of the customer challenge, Agidea recognized that a load-balanced, auto-scaling workload was achievable with AWS EC2 and Elastic Beanstalk.  This type of workload would allow the application to achieve not only the performance required during peak times but also the necessary cost savings to make this a viable commercial option.

Why Amey chose Agidea

As an AWS Select Tier partner, Agidea have a track record of working with AWS and have several Certified AWS Architects and other specialists on staff.  Furthermore, Agidea operates and is seen as a strategic partner to Amey, rather than just a supplier.  Having an intimate knowledge of both Microsoft .NET technologies and AWS made Agidea a great choice for delivering the kind of solution that the Forth Bridges web application required.

Partner Solution

Exposed structures such as bridges are particularly susceptible to adverse environmental factors including high wind speeds. However, the impact of such factors can be mitigated by providing accurate and up to date information. Agidea leveraged the latest Microsoft. NET technologies to stream real-time telemetry feeds from bridge instrumentation directly to the each of the websites home pages.

Utilizing cutting-edge AWS Cloud infrastructure (Elastic beanstalk, Amazon RDS, S3 file storage, Amazon Cloud front) allowed Agidea to seamlessly serve the website to thousands of concurrent users.

Results and Benefits

  • Delivered a system to allow bridge team to communicate critical travel information with bridge users
  • Status of bridge displayed in real-time to passengers
  • Server scales seamlessly to meet increase traffic on the website
  • Used AWS Cloud infrastructure (Elastic beanstalk, Amazon RDS (Relational database service), S3 file storage, Amazon Cloud front, content delivery, caching layer)

Next Steps

With a robust and scalable platform underneath them, Amey can be confident in the solution provided for the Forth Bridges.  Agidea continue to work with Amey on similar solutions for their other clients and Agidea continue to recommend AWS as the best cloud services provider in the marketplace today.

Agidea operates and is seen as a strategic partner to Amey, rather than just a supplier. The team's breadth of knowledge and ability to respond to constantly evolving business priorities has enabled us to be continually agile in response to our customers.
Phil Atkin -  Senior Digital Communications Manager, Amey

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