Digitization strategy for the DSV.

Skiing, skiing, skiing! That’s the DSV.

The Deutscher Skiverband (DSV) is one of the largest sports associations in Germany, with over 650,000 winter sport enthusiasts regularly checking into its regional skiing associations. With 35,000 trained skiing instructors, the DSV has by far one of the largest assortments of training staff in the world. In addition, there are around 12 million active and cross-country skiers using the DSV network – amongst them, a broad range of health instructors, athletes and multiple Olympic winning champions. That’s not to forget the other generations, with toddlers and elderly people also taking to the slopes and mountain trails. With this comes the monumental task of managing an infrastructure that’s reliable and accessible to a wide audience of people.

The German Ski Association and the ROSSY.

Since 2014, the DSV has been a valued customer, with the ROSSY managing its resources and infrastructure. Over the course of our partnership, there are instances where certain measures have been needed to ensure the continued success of the DSV network. In recent times, it became apparent that the online and digital presence of the DSV were beginning to run sluggishly.

With the DSV already planning ahead and utilizing concepts to future-proof their systems, services and infrastructure, certain aspects of their digital presence were planned for a revamp. Several websites belonging to the DSV network are scheduled for relaunch, with the main DSV website slated for an unveiling as part of a digital platform for its millions of members.

Various quality of life improvements are to be implemented. In the future, members will be able to collect virtual credits which can be subsequently redeemed for various benefits at connected partners throughout the German, Austrian and Swiss ski resorts.

New, scalable environments are needed to implement such concepts, and that’s exactly where ROSSY comes into play.

Optimization and upgrades

We recommended to the DSV, a well-thought-out strategy, with several components that would promise the necessary changes required to support the concepts needed for the future. To begin with, we started by migrating the monolithic servers from a traditional hosting provider (here in Germany), to a contemporary server infrastructure using a large, virtualized cluster.

This allowed us finer grained control over CPU scaling according to the DSV’s requirements. This was an early step. As a result of this migration, all virtual servers are now automatically provisioned via a central management system, with monitoring being configured and the services made available via a DNS. The purchased SSL certificates were partially replaced by our own solution, and now compromise of fully automated Let’s Encrypt certificates instead. When distributed to the virtual servers, a restart of all dependent services is all that’s needed.

Update from PHP5 to PHP7

Next, we performed a comprehensive PHP update, utilizing best practices found in the field. Due to the previously deployed PHP version, we had already identified attempts to compromise the older systems – and warned the customer accordingly. Web applications implementing the older PHP standard, were migrated by their developers to PHP7, simultaneously taking advantage of a whole host of security and syntactical advantages.

Our teams migrated all the necessary databases to a central server, where at the same time we also moved the website content to a central storage solution. To bolster the security and reduce the chance of vulnerabilities leading to any systems being compromised, we broke down individual modules into increasingly granular, logically interacting microservices.

With the new infrastructure design, the protection of sensitive data and administrative entry-points is now state-of-the-art again, limiting the risk of potential attacks that may occur.

„For the German Ski Association with all its different areas and digital requirements, we need competent and innovative partners like ROSSY, who understand not only the technical expertise but also the holistic interrelationships“

–Klaus Rambach, Deutscher Skiverband

Corona effects

Corona also left its mark on the DSV. During tightened home office regulations and the associated restrictions, the DSV infrastructure had to be adapted to the ever-changing environment. We now operate our own internal Open Source video conferencing solution for, and with the DSV. This extremely fast and horizontally scalable solution enables the DSV teams to hold their meetings completely DSGVO-compliant.

Organized Docker instances

In the next planned migration step, we plan to break down all the DSV websites into their own container instances. With this measure in place, everything that has to do with server availability and managing capacity will be automatically organized.

Subsequently, the DSV will benefit from smooth scaling, minimized risk of errors and a demand-driven availability that scales to the situation.

Roadmap 2021

We’re actively implementing improvements and changes to the DSV infrastructure. These changes will be deployed step-by-step, during the coming year. Data security is again at the cutting edge of technology and users of the DSV portal are already enjoying improvements to the usability of the front-end.

Credits: wojciech_gajda / iStock