The Economist

The Economist is seen by many as the world’s preeminent source of analysis for business news and world affairs. Established in 1843 to campaign on one of the great political issues of the day, The Economist is still renowned for the objectivity and originality of its opinion and advocacy of economist and political freedom around the world. Today, the newspaper has evolved to a worldwide circulation of over 1.5 million and coverage of topics including international news, politics, business, finance, science, the arts and technology. Content is delivered in a range of formats, taking in newspapers, magazines, conferences and digital services. The Economist’s website alone draws almost 10 million unique visitors every month.

“Our migration from a fully hosted environment to AWS was both seamless and transformational. This dynamic infrastructure allowed our business objectives to be executed at an accelerated rate.”

Brendan McPartlan VP of Operations and Infrastructure, Digital Solutions

The Challenge

The Economist previously used a traditional hosting provider for its core website operation www.economist.com; an approach that was constraining and no longer meeting the needs of a growing and increasingly digitally minded customer base. The Economist was looking for a solution that offered both operational and cost efficiencies as well as, most importantly, a platform that allowed them to add new functionality and features to improve the experience for its online readership and allow them to consume their content in a variety of formats, devices and locations.  They were also seeking an experienced consulting partner to make this happen and to provide project and technical advice including hands on expertise for the digital migration.  As a newspaper that hasn’t missed a print run since World War II, planning, risk mitigation, successful cut over and ongoing management is key to success.

The Solution

  • Cloudreach’s help was enlisted as a Premier Consulting Partner, in part thanks to its experience with other notable media companies including STV, The Telegraph, and Time Inc.
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) was chosen as the technology platform of choice because it brings with it a number of organizational, technical and financial benefits including:
    • Flexible hosting environment
    • Reliability and security
    • High availability and scalability
    • Global presence
    • Lower Total Cost of Ownership
  • Cloudreach broke the project into manageable chunks and provided consultancy, project management, architecture, implementation and ongoing management, as well as advanced billing of AWS and related tooling.
  • Cloudreach Cloud Business Partner and AWS Advanced Technology Partner CloudHealth Technologies was brought in to improve cost visibility, and help with reserved instance management and rightsizing.
  • The project began with a Proof of Concept (PoC) phase aimed at testing and proving the technical value of AWS in the context of The Economist’s business model.
  • Outages to The Economist’s digital platform are both brand damaging and detrimental to revenue streams.  With this in mind, Cloudreach migrated the infrastructure and key applications whilst refactoring them into a microservices-oriented architecture to allow for agility, automation, reliability and self healing. This was achieved by applying high availability architecture patterns and a pilot light disaster recovery solution during the build, whilst automating the deployments and recovery of key applications end-to-end.
  • Cloudreach also developed a foundational strategy for future cloud based implementations, providing the customer with applied best practices and governance principles.

The Partnership

Cloudreach provided expert resources to drive the completion of the planning, build and migration tasks, under the guidance of predetermined milestones and project guard rails.  Close collaboration between the teams allowed The Economist’s technology team to be empowered with knowledge of the new platform.

The Economist also needed a company who could manage and support the new technology to the exacting standards demanded by their consumer base.  Cloudreach, as an accredited AWS Managed Services Provider, is on hand to deliver The Economist a set of global 24/7 services, billing support and monitoring to keep the platform running whilst providing usage data back to the business. Cloudreach is at the forefront of operations in The Economist’s digital environment and understands how to manage the services in dynamic, changing circumstances.

The Outcome

 

  • Features
    Economist.com experiences fluctuations in daily traffic patterns and is constantly adjusting capacity up and down to meet demand.  The time to provision new digital environments to test and deploy new features has been automated and shortened significantly.  Environments are also consistent and adhere to best practice and security.
  • Cost
    Achieved significant cost savings by moving to the cloud, seeing a Return on Investment of 9 months for the entire project (professional services, hosting and support) versus the cost to stay on their traditional environment.
  • Performance
    Achieved successful website migration via replatforming and refactoring, as well as automation and implementation of a disaster recovery solution.  Using DevOps principles to automate stack recovery in the environment, the Operations team no longer has to ‘firefight’ to keep the digital environments running smoothly and can spend their time on tasks that bring tangible value to the business.
  • Ongoing
    Cloudreach continues to provide real time business operational information and automated solutions for capacity and availability management, powered by CloudHealth.  Even though the The Economist’s solution is engineered for quality for when the unexpected happens, their team can be sure that Cloudreach has the know-how to react and take advantage of the changing world that we live in.

 

 

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