OVH.com dedicated servers

RunAbove virtual machines

Load Balancing IP


High availability

Host a high traffic site

A scalable infrastructure that can handle large traffic spikes.

SYSADMIN BADASS is the provider responsible for the infrastructure of the site sofoot.com, a site devoted to all news in the world of football. Initially hosted on a single dedicated server, the site has been increasingly successful since its inception in 2006. On the eve of the 2014 World Cup, it became necessary to put in place a more robust infrastructure and above all, scalable, in anticipation of the expected peak in visitors (more than one million page views per day with 500,000 unique visitors). The goal: zero interruption in service during the month long competition.

This infrastructure won the 2014 Infrastructure Trophy awarded by OVH at the Oct. 7, 2014 OVH summit in the category “Project Cloud”.

Key information

  • 85,000 articles
  • 1.2 million comments
  • 60 GB static content (images, videos, etc.)
  • 13 million database entries (5 GB)
  • The site had 3 more visitors during the World Cup (estimation)


  • Handling traffic spikes of 5000 http requests per second, 500,000 visitors per day and three times the load in less than 10 seconds.
  • The website's code cannot be redone as the development team has very limited availability; however the site was built to run on a single machine (the application isn't "cloud ready").
  • Limited budget that makes it impossible to mount an infrastructure that can permanently handle peak loads.
  • 100% site availability

Solution deployed at OVH

To ensure maximum availability of the sofoot.com site, SYSADMIN BADASS built a high availability infrastructure with flexibility based primarily on the use of RunAbove instances (public cloud) which are billed by the hour and can be deployed in minutes.

1 – Load Distribution

2 –Front-end Scalability

3 - Replication of database

4 – Backoffice for editing

5 - Automatic deployment of machines

6 - Infrastructure monitoring

7 – Backups


"The infrastructure handled the load from the first to last day of the World Cup and well after as this architecture was permanently adopted by sofoot.com."

“The infrastructure handled the load from the first to last day of the World Cup and well after as this architecture was permanently adopted by sofoot.com. The elasticity of the architecture that we imagined (RunAbove instances rented for peak periods) is delivered at very a reasonable cost.

Load peaks while in production rest in the estimated limits with the maximum of 320,000 unique visitors/day, 2,300 requests/second and a tripling of the load in less than 30 seconds (in general at the end of a match). During the 2 week period following the World Cup, sofoot.com established new records in site visits with peak loads of 360,000 unique visitors/day, 3,000 requests/second and a tripling of the load which occurred in less than 20 seconds. This phenomenon was due to news about player trades and an influx of new visitors who became familiar with the site during the World Cup. These peaks were fully amortized by the infrastructure in place, which is good news ahead of Euro 2016. 

Today we are testing the automatic provisioning of additional virtual machines using the RunAbove API, (based on thresholds in the monitoring tools) as to benefit from a fully elastic and 100% self-administered infrastructure. Work is still required to simplify the infrastructure in a manner that reduces the time required to put a new machine in production from 20 to just 4 minutes. We will soon put online the SoPress shop. We have chosen to rely on the OVH PrestaShop SaaS solution proposed by OVH.com, this offer provides a quite interesting price/performance ratio.”

Nicolas Capeyron (@ncapeyronSABA), manager of SYSADMIN BADASS.

OVH advice

SYSADMIN BADASS is a real tour de force: having successfully built a highly available and scalable infrastructure, lowering costs while hosting an application that was not developed according to today’s standards (cloud ready).

Possible optimization for this infrastructure would include the incorporation of the OVH CDN to store sofoot.com site’s static content in order to reduce the volume of this data on its web servers, improving latency and, moreover, decreasing deployment time of any new server (by reducing the time required to synchronize the 60 GB of content). But this would require significant changes to the site, including the rewriting of all image links, as they would be hosted on a different subdomain.

Elements of the infrastructure

1 Load Balancing IP


Load balancing (HAProxy)

2 Enterprise range servers
Model SP-64


web frontend

3 Hosting range servers
Model HOST-32


Reinforced Web frontend

5 VM Runabove
"1 VM/host" XL4

$0.140 per hour/excl. tax

Database servers

2 Enterprise range servers
Model SP-64

Option 3x 160GB Intel SSD DC S3500 SATA3 6Gbps



1 VPS Cloud 1


Backoffice Server

1 Hosting range server
Model HOST-32


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