Kunai Partners With AEG Presents To Reimagine Legacy ERP System Without Disrupting Business Continuity

What is AEG?
Live events division of Anschutz Entertainment Group
Second biggest live music promoter in the world
Built, enhanced, and maintained by Kunai from 2016 - Present
Microsoft Azure
New Relic
Pager Duty
Ember SPA
Ruby On Rails
Azure AKS


AEG Presents is the live-entertainment division of Los Angeles-based AEG founded in 2002. They are the second largest live music promoter in the world, hosting tours, one-offs, broadcasts, sponsorships, festivals, and more.

With their existing ERP (Elvis) starting to become unreliable, AEG sought to create a new Elvis with more robust architecture and the capacity for future scalability and improvements.

The Challenge

AEG utilized an inhouse ERP system to support their ongoing operations. Elvis powered massive amounts of data, accounting, booking, scheduling, payroll, and administrative processes linked to employees, vendors, and customers.

However, Elvis was running on a 10 year old tech stack in an unmanaged cloud environment in Microsoft Azure. It had become unreliable and was bottlenecking vital operations.

Users were unable to generate reports and export them as PDFs, show settlement processes were failing to close, bookers were unable to send offers to artists, and the cost to run and maintain the hardware was much too high.

A More Complex Diagnosis

As it turned out, Elvis’ architecture made it impossible to push improvements or bug fixes without breaking something else. Since the majority of AEG’s functionality depended on Elvis, a massive amount of revenue was at stake. Elvis would have to be rebuilt from scratch to take advantage of modern infrastructures, frameworks, and methodology to create a robust, future-proofed platform.

But it would have to be done without interrupting business continuity.

Concurrent Development

One of the biggest roadblocks was the need for concurrent development. The old Elvis would have to be repaired to a viable degree and then put on life support to maintain business operations.

All of this would have to take place during the development of the new Elvis if AEG wanted to maximize efficiency and reduce time to market.

Given old Elvis’ instability, the longer it took to create an MVP for the new Elvis, the more revenue and customer satisfaction would decrease.

Finding the Right Devs

Developing the new Elvis would require deep knowledge of the original ERP. Given its deep integration into AEG’s operation, the new Elvis would have to be able to fit into the old Elvis’ role seamlessly.

The right development team would need to be able to reverse engineer the old ERP, know how to optimize the old ERP’s operational resources, and have experience with cybersecurity practices to protect against cyber threats and breaches.

Lastly, since the Elvis ERP sat at the core of many of AEG’s business operations, the development team would have to be highly flexible, able to add and configure new features, juggle multiple vendors, and develop around short timetables without compromising quality.

The Solution

AEG consulted with Kunai in 2016 about the issues they were having with AEG. Kunai determined that AEG could significantly cut costs, improve performance and reliability, and set a higher ceiling for future scalability by migrating Elvis onto a cloud network.

As a part of AEG’s ERP overhaul, Kunai suggested the following two-part strategy:

Upgrade and maintain the existing ERP to make it more resilient, providing enough of a runway for a new system to be built.

Build the new ERP system on a modern tech stack with the intent to build it all on the cloud from the get-go

Since AEG had already embedded themselves into Microsoft’s ecosystem, Kunai decided to use Azure as the cloud provider with the added benefit of Azure already satisfying all of AEG’s compliance requirements.

With Kunai’s deep understanding of Microsoft’s numerous Azure offerings, compliance expertise, and nimble product development team– Kunai formulated a detailed solution plan, executed on their development schedule, and built a robust ERP that seamlessly replaced AEG’s previous ERP.

The Process

Elvis– An Effective Rebirth

Kunai’s development team for AEG’s new Elvis ERP consisted of five engineers, one designer, and one Product Manager.

Despite their small size, their wealth of expertise on the Azure suite and deep understanding of cloud integrations resulted in a fast turnaround time on both the development of the new ERP and sustainability improvements on the old ERP without compromising on quality or compliance.

Addressing Urgent Concerns

AEG had provided Kunai with a contact who could be leveraged as a reference for all things Elvis. With their aid, Kunai first took over support and maintenance responsibilities for old Elvis.

Doing so allowed Kunai to alleviate the most urgent problems: allowing users to generate huge PDFs and resolving processing hangups with Elvis’ show settlement process.

Kunai then made three important upgrades to make old Elvis more resilient:

Implemented advanced monitoring systems using NewRelic, PagerDuty, and custom software

Implemented automatic pipelines to resolve common issues encountered on Prod environment

Moved to managed cloud environments and migrated VMs and DBs.

These changes were a timely and welcome upgrade. Kunai equipped the old Elvis with better error handling procedures during normal operations and pushed much needed security patches.

This process reduced old Elvis’ operational budget, enabled faster backups and restorations, and improved performance across other environment manipulations.

However, after successfully completing step one of their ERP overhaul strategy, Kunai and AEG were met with a possibly catastrophic obstacle.

Navigating Elvis Without A Map

In order to start building the new Elvis from the ground up, Kunai needed to navigate the inner workings of the original Elvis ERP.

Unfortunately, AEG’s provided contact, the one individual who possessed all the maps that charted Elvis and AEG, left the company less than a month into the project.

Both Kunai and AEG were left stranded in open waters without a map. Fortunately, Kunai’s product manager had plenty of experience with software integrations into business operations. Their team quickly adapted, taking up the mantle of responsibility to restore Elvis’ lost documentation from scratch.

Since they were going to be building the platform from the ground up anyways, Kunai decided that collating firsthand data regarding the Elvis ERP could prove to be highly beneficial. They interviewed AEG team members across different locations and positions, collected and compiled necessary information, and eventually established themselves as an on-site repository for Elvis.

Kunai then provided AEG with the full technical documentation, including diagrams and Disaster Recovery plans.

Kunai would then leverage this knowledge to design complex data models, UX, and UI for the new Elvis ERP.

Kunai leveraged the Ember SPA framework for Elvis’ Frontend and Ruby on Rails for the backend as a development basis for the application to successfully create and host the new Elvis ERP on Microsoft Azure.

The Result

Modern ERP: Elvis

The new Elvis runs on a modern tech stack consisting of six Azure technologies. The new elvis has improved on business flows and has resulted in a brand new, fast, and ergonomic ERP system that AEG continues to use to this day.

Stack: Azure AKS

Elvis is deployed in a Kubernetes cluster in Azure, a far more lightweight and flexible alternative to the VMs that were being utilized by old Elvis.

Elvis’ implementation of Azure AKS consists of the API backend, PDF processing services, and Sidekiq.

Sidekiq handles the execution of background tasks that don’t need access to the web. Therefore, it was implemented to handle Elvis’ job scheduling features.

Stack: Azure Front Door

Azure Front Door was utilized to deliver Elvis’ frontend. Its robust scalability and reliability as a global load balancer made it an ideal candidate for Elvis’ needs.

It was more than capable of keeping up with high demand while also leaving enough room for future scaling and extension of functionality.

Stack: Azure Database MySQL

Elvis’ backend database is built entirely on a fully managed DB cloud service. Azure Database provides data warehousing solutions and makes creating, deploying, and managing databases easier.

Kunai leveraged MySQL’s reliability, scalability, and ease of use to create an easy-to-upgrade foundation for future development.

Stack: Azure Container Registry

Azure Container Registry was utilized to store and deploy images used in Elvis’ builds.

Stack: Azure Cache For Redis

Cache for Redis enabled Kunai and AEG to build a highly scalable and responsive data store and recollection with low latency access to data.

It also supports various programming languages and protocols, and provides features such as automatic data replication, configurable persistence options, and secure network access for future scalability.

Stack: Elasticsearch

Elasticsearch was leveraged to design a highly scalable search engine that could accommodate for tens of thousands of complex records.

Elasticsearch enables Elvis to provide seamless search functions with highly relevant, lightning fast results.

Growing a Beast

Elvis continues to grow and evolve to this day. Kunai has been building new features for Elvis and maintaining the platform since 2016. Together with AEG, the two parties support the new ERP as demand for new features come in from AEG and third-party ticketing and marketing data vendors.

The robust new ERP has increased customer engagement, improved vendor satisfaction, and seen performance boosts across many sectors.