Migrating www.aol.com from a Proprietary Web Platform to Open Source

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At the beginning of 2008, AOL’s www.aol.com web farm was 283 identical hosts located in six datacenters serving content created on AOL’s aging, proprietary, shared publishing infrastructure. By the end of 2008, the legacy system had been replaced by a completely independent application stack comprised of a mix of internally-developed and Open Source components.

We’ll look at the role of Operations in an architecture migration of this scale, including: application stack design, scaling and capacity planning, tools, redundancy, and network planning. We’ll also discuss how migrating an existing application, where the use cases and user behavior are well known, compares to building a brand new application with no pre-existing audience. We’ll also look at how we were able to apply the knowledge gained in the outgoing platform to the incoming platform.

Photo of Rachel Walls

Rachel Walls


Mandi Walls is a Principal System Administrator at AOL, where she is currently responsible for the daily care and feeding of AOL.com. She has also been involved with AOL’s Channels, Video, News, and Travel sites. Mandi holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from George Washington University and is pursuing an MBA at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. In her spare time, Mandi has taught undergraduate IT classes and does volunteer work.

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