When people in India want to see a movie, get tickets to a play or attend a cricket match, they don’t wait in line outside a box office. They whip out their phones and tap BookMyShow. Within moments, the tickets are delivered to the BookMyShow app.
First launched in a single city in 2007, India’s leading entertainment destination BookMyShow is now present in more than 650 cities across India. Every month, the BookMyShow website and app gets several million visits and transactions, ensuring it remains at pole position in India’s online entertainment market.
Operating on that kind of scale would be impossible without an extremely efficient, virtualised and highly scalable technology infrastructure. This is what VMware brings to the table.
For a business like BookMyShow, it’s crucial that IT infrastructure can quickly flex as demand spikes. For example, when the popular fantasy drama Baahubali 2 was released in April 2017, BookMyShow sold over 16 million tickets for the film, which had a consecutive run of 175 days at the box office. In November 2017, when Ed Sheeran played a live concert in Mumbai, tickets for the event sold out in just 48 minutes on BookMyShow.
“Since we are an entertainment platform, we must be ready to cater to varied kinds and amount of traffic that can be highly volatile depending on the content being released,” says BookMyShow’s VP of Technology Viraj Patel. “We not only continuously add cinemas and events to our inventory, but also a lot of new customers.”
Adopting a truly hyperconverged, virtualised environment also improved BookMyShow’s ability to continually update its platform. The company has adopted an agile framework so developers can create and test new features in containers within virtual machines before deploying them to the production environment. This in turn allows developers to rapidly iterate on the platform and deliver new functionality within minutes instead of hours or days.
As a result, the BookMyShow app is more than just a ticketing service. It is an entertainment guide, offering the latest news along with show times and seat layouts of popular theatres. It is a recommendation engine, using predictive analytics to provide users with suggestions for new events to attend based on their previous purchases. It supports eight regional languages and was the first Indian ticketing platform to be part of WhatsApp for Business’ pilot.
“At its heart, BookMyShow is a simple product that provides a simple solution to problems that users face related to entertainment experiences,” says Parikshit Dar, cofounder and director, BookMyShow. “In all our endeavours, we continue to identify and solve these problems to create an unmatched experience for our users.”
In 2019, the platform launched a new feature, MovieMode, that aims to improve the last mile movie-watching experience. MovieMode offers easier access to all information and tasks that users typically do before watching a movie, 24 hours before the show.
It is no wonder, then, that BookMyShow was named one of the most innovative apps of 2017 by both the Google Play and Apple App stores. “We are absolutely thrilled that our efforts have not just been loved by our users but also recognised by both Google and Apple,” says Dar.
The best may be yet to come. In July 2018, BookMyShow’s parent company, Bigtree Entertainment Pvt Ltd, raised US$100 million from marquee global and domestic investors including TPG Growth, Stripes Group and Network18, to expand its reach into international sports, live entertainment and experiences.
Sounds like just the ticket.
Processing millions of visits and transactions every day, BookMyShow’s fully virtualised environment features more than 100 VMware vSphere-based servers and 5,000 virtual machines. These run almost entirely on VMware vSAN-based hyperconverged infrastructure.
Running vSphere with VMware vRealize Operations management provides BookMyShow with a self-learning intelligent tool that supplies predictive analytics and smart alerts on application and infrastructure health. This allows the service to quickly identify and remediate potential performance, capacity and configuration issues.
BookMyShow’s digital workspace initiative with VMware Workspace ONE is empowering its employees to innovate without restriction, helping drive the business forward. Using a software-defined data centre allows BookMyShow to scale up rapidly to meet demand, then scale back down to conserve precious computing resources.
BookMyShow’s VP of Technology Viraj Patel explains: “We have significantly automated and deployed applications that improve our performance. There was a time when it took us months to launch a new server, but we’ve brought that down to a few seconds in the recent past. Now it takes us hardly any time to scale up and add more application instances, making the process more reliable, better and faster.” ▪