Build resilient systems at scale
October 12–14, 2015 • New York, NY

Scaling next-generation internet TV on AWS with Docker, Packer, and Chef

Bridget Kromhout (Microsoft), Peter Shannon (DramaFever)
4:35pm–5:15pm Wednesday, 10/14/2015
Location: Beekman Parlor
Average rating: ***..
(3.92, 13 ratings)

Prerequisite Knowledge

Some exposure to AWS would be helpful. Basic understanding of containers would also be useful. People working in operations will be our target audience.


At DramaFever, we operate a next-generation internet TV platform, with offerings ranging from international dramas with original content, to AMC’s Sundance Documentary site; a “screams on demand” horror site, and beyond.

At peak load, we serve tens of thousands of requests per second, and our AWS instance count autoscales up 10-20x throughout the week. In order to scale, we’ve used a variety of open-source tools and innovative techniques to manage our fleet of instances. They serve our main Django application and Go microservices, and include Docker in our production request path (for almost two years now), and a recent overhaul of our deployment pipeline using golden images built with Chef and Packer.

Working on a small distributed team, we’ve had to practice effective communication to maintain our pace of change, while also keeping our sites highly available. In this talk, we’ll touch on the remote-work tooling and culture that enables this.

We’ll detail how we’ve reducing our time to production and increased our infrastructure maintainability. We will also share some of the pitfalls and corner cases we have been working through along the way. Attendees will leave with practical tips they’ll be able to implement right away, as well as inspiration for the possibilities inherent in a fully containerized infrastructure.

Photo of Bridget Kromhout

Bridget Kromhout


Bridget Kromhout is a principal cloud advocate at Microsoft. Her CS degree emphasis was in theory, but she now deals with the concrete (if the cloud can be considered tangible). After 15 years as an operations engineer, Bridget traded being on call for being on a plane. A frequent speaker and program committee member for tech conferences, she leads the Devopsdays organization globally and the DevOps community at home in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She podcasts with Arrested DevOps, blogs at, and is active in a Twitterverse near you.

Photo of Peter Shannon

Peter Shannon


Peter Shannon is a husband and father who moonlights as an operations engineer. Originally a chemist, Peter found his passion for software engineering in high performance computing and computational chemistry – which never really became his cup of tea. Now he spends most of his time writing data-driven tools and hacking on infrastructure code. When relaxing Peter enjoys watching Star Trek DS9 reruns and pondering life’s biggest questions.

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