2012 Summer Olympic Games

The official London 2012 web site was one of the most visited web sites on the planet during the three-week games, providing coverage for every Olympic event, sport and venue live, pages of every athlete, sport, venue and country with detailed access to real-time updated Olympics data, statistics and news. Advertisers leveraged this web site to get their brand visible to millions of customers.

olympic 2012

When all was said and done, London2012.com had 431 million visitors,  109 million unique users, 15 million application downloads and 4.73 billion page views.

“We began working with SOASTA CloudTest six months prior to the games to find all the possible bottlenecks which could prevent the best user experience possible and avoid a catastrophic situation, which could impact the London 2012 brand. The application, infrastructure and all the third-party integration points needed to go through capacity planning and stress testing with different load patterns to ensure reliability and performance 24/7 especially during popular events such as the Opening Ceremonies and 100-meters final. The testing teams were spread across the globe and utilized CloudTest’s ability to provide real-time results to adapt the testing, something that legacy toolsets are unable to do.”

–Paul Bunnell, Lead Web Architect, London 2012, London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games

How SOASTA Helped London2012.com Bring Home the Gold

Six months before Michael Phelps took home his 22nd Olympic medal, SOASTA began working with London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to prepare for the Summer Games.

The challenge? Make sure that London2012.com, the official site of LOCOG, would not crash or perform slowly as did the Olympics ticketing web site did a year prior.

During the games, London2012.com provided live coverage for every Olympic event, sport and venue, plus athlete pages and country information with detailed access to real-time Olympics data, statistics and news. To top this all off, advertisers invested heavily in advertising and promotions on the web site to make their brands visible to millions of buyers around the globe. The implications of the web site performing poorly, or even crashing, was almost too frightening to imagine.

In the end, SOASTA performed more than 500 tests on the web site and its associated mobile apps, simulating the browsing of up to 400,000 concurrent users.

olympic-mobile-devicesThe application, infrastructure and all of the third-party integration points went through capacity planning and stress testing with different load patterns to ensure reliability and performance 24/7. The testing teams were spread across the globe and utilized CloudTest’s ability to provide real-time results to adapt the testing, something that legacy tools cannot do.
“The Committee had the foresight to see that this is really the first mobile Olympics,” said SOASTA CEO Tom Lounibos, pointing out that a large percentage of the world’s five billion mobile devices were expected to interact with the Olympics during the games.

Some of the challenges associated with creating the LOCOG web site were:

  • Massive use of a CDN to distribute content around the world. For example, live video transmitted the progress of the Olympic torch.
  • Use of open source as the primary software foundation. The cost-sensitive LOCOG team chose to avoid proprietary software whenever possible.
  • Forecasting usage and ensuring performance at the forecast levels. The fiscally conservative team did not want to over-provision.
  • Testing performance and robustness at scale. Although over-provisioning was out, expected loads still had to be tested.
  • The changing nature of the web itself. The Beijing and Atlanta games were subject to this, too. In fact, London2012.com was not able to support Instagram and other emergent technologies because they entered the market too late to work into the two-year web site development.

“In the past, to do the kind of testing we did with the Olympics Committee, you had to spend weeks setting up hundreds — if not thousands — of servers, and you would have spent millions of dollars just trying to do one test,” said Lounibos. “With cloud testing, you can simulate 100,000 users within a few minutes. You can get the data from those tests in a matter of minutes. And you can do it for a fraction of the cost.”

Additional facts:
  • People from 201 countries visited London2012.com.
  • People from 155 countries downloaded apps.
  • To appeal to a wide range of viewers, content was provided in dyslexic, high-visibility and Easy Read summary options, and video included caption and summary options.
  • The site included 10,490 athlete pages, 204 team pages and more than 170 venue pages.
  • Final Olympic online totals: 1.3PB of data served, 1.7 billion object requests, 46.1 billion page (html / htmx) views, app peak of 17,190 pages per second, web peak of 104,792 pages per second.