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Reading Cinemas

Reading Cinemas Increases User Experience With An Auto-Scalable Online Ticketing System

Reading Cinemas is a theatre chain with about sixty cinemas across Australia, New Zealand and the United States. They reached out to PolarSeven to modernise their legacy applications and implement auto-scaling for their online ticketing system.


Reading Cinemas’ legacy system was simply not architected to cope with the spikes in demand in online ticket sales when blockbusters went on sale. PolarSeven assisted Reading to completely re-architect and redevelop their public interface to take advantage of AWS's resource elasticity.

Now Reading Cinemas are assured that the mission-critical business of selling cinema tickets definitely benefits from Blockbuster sales.

Reading's Challenge

Reading's online ticketing systems comprised two parts: Vista Connect that supported the public user interface, and Vista Scheduler that contained all the movie schedules.

The Scheduler was comparatively static in its resource requirements, whereas Vista Connect needed to be able to scale massively, especially when Blockbusters went on sale, as this would cause major spikes in demand with user numbers jumping from a handful to 1500 in a matter of minutes.

Reading’s legacy system was simply not architected to cope with these spikes in demand.

PolarSeven Solution

The solution was to completely separate out the two components of the system into two separate instances, as they had very different operational requirements.

The public interface component, Vista Connect, was re-architected in consultation with PolarSeven so that it could take advantage of the elasticity capability offered by the AWS environment. It was fully redeveloped by the Reading Application Developers onto a server-less environment with an improved user experience requiring fewer clicks to purchase tickets.

PolarSeven built individual appropriately sized instances for the two different parts of the system.

PolarSeven worked closely alongside the Reading team, sharing knowledge about how best to develop and deploy the application to make it as quickly scalable as possible.

Results and Benefits

Having the two components of Vista in appropriately sized instances ensures that the whole system can now cope with a rapid increase in traffic from 20 to 4,000 concurrent users, ensuring that Reading’s online ticketing system can support Reading’s mission-critical business of selling cinema tickets. It also ensures that the instances are not over-resourced, and hence running costs can be optimised.

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