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Big Data Solutions upon the GoGrid Cloud Platform

Case Study - Condé Nast Digital

Condé Nast Digital Germany Lowers Top Magazines' TCO

Condé Nast Digital Germany relies on GoGrid to distribute the high-quality content in several of Germany's top print magazines over the web.When they visit the German-language sites for Glamour, GQ, and Vogue, readers find more than just the latest articles. Condé Nast Digital Germany provides them with archived content, communities, enhanced shopping, special microsites, and more. Reliant on advertising revenue, Condé Nast Digital Germany needs to keep its costs low while delivering an engaging experience to site visitors

“Two things are absolutely essential to our success: costs and quality,” says Hans Teske, CTO for Condé Nast Digital Germany. “We provide our visitors so much more than just articles, and that keeps them on our sites longer. GoGrid is cost-effective, and it lets us focus on doing things like continually enhancing our offering and expanding to mobile devices.”

Lower Costs and More Control

When Teske became CTO of Condé Nast Digital Germany, the organization outsourced virtually all of its IT operations. The infrastructure that stored and served magazine content was hosted by a traditional website hosting company. An agency handled website development and managed content. Teske saw two pressing disadvantages with this approach: high costs and lack of control.

The problem really became clear when the German edition of Vogue published an interview with a top star. Teske explains what happened: "The editors gave the article a very clever English-language title, and people all over the world wanted to read it. We had a huge surge in traffic for a few days, and our hosting provider couldn't add capacity quickly enough. The leased servers we added were expensive too. We had to pay a one-month minimum fee for a server we needed for just a few days."

Teske decided that Condé Nast Digital Germany needed to take control of its infrastructure and development processes—while lowering costs. He didn't want to incur the capital expense of actually buying new servers and hiring people to manage them, and he didn't want to reengineer the way Condé Nast Digital Germany managed and stored its content. Instead, he looked to infrastructure as a service (IaaS) as a possible solution.

A flexible network architecture powers magazine content online and enables expansion to mobile devices:
Testing environment drives innovation and a positive customer experience
Web servers support archived content communities, enhanced shopping, and special microsites' ability to scale on-demand, lowering TCO
Message board servers scale to meet community member needs
Dedicated MySQL Servers enable security best practices and leverage I/O

A Proven Infrastructure

Condé Nast Digital Germany got started by moving Glamour to GoGrid. The solution worked so well that the company quickly began the process of bringing GQ and Vogue over to GoGrid. Today, all three of the company's most popular titles run on GoGrid, and the company plans to move Myself to GoGrid in the near future. Five cloud servers run behind one dedicated load balancer. Two dedicated machines—one master and one slave—run the company's MySQL content database. Additional cloud servers power the company's community message boards, and dedicated machines run the database for the boards. Another load balancer spreads traffic across the servers. For testing and staging, the company uses two cloud servers along with a dedicated CMS and database server.

Increased Scalability and Flexibility

With traditional hosting, Condé Nast Digital Germany's costs were skyrocketing as it scaled its infrastructure to meet bursts in demand. Now, the IT team at Condé Nast Digital Germany simply reviews the magazine's editorial calendars in advance, and scales its GoGrid capacity as needed.

"Our hosted infrastructure was expensive, and as our online readership grew, it was getting more expensive all the time," says Teske. "We had to buy or lease enough server capacity to handle bursts in traffic. At a minimum, the leases were for a month, and it took time to add them to our infrastructure. With GoGrid, I can add server capacity in about 20 minutes, use it for a few days, and turn it off. So we're not locked into paying for a whole month of service we only need for a day or two."

Lower TCO with Better Performance

Since turning to GoGrid, Condé Nast Digital Germany has retired more than a dozen machines in an external data center. The total cost of ownership (TCO) of the new solution is much lower and the IT team at Condé Nast Digital Germany doesn't miss the hassle associated with its hosted solution. "We don't have to take time to set up new machines or complete full stress testing," explains Teske. "The GoGrid interface makes it easy to manage our infrastructure. With the time we save, we're able to focus on new initiatives, such as delivering content to mobile devices."

Summing up the benefits of moving to GoGrid, Teske adds, "You might ask, 'Why move to the cloud? I'll have to reengineer everything just to save a little money.' With GoGrid, we really didn't have to reengineer our sites, and we're saving quite a lot of money. It's almost like being able to instantly acquire the ideal in-house infrastructure for our needs without having to buy or manage any machines. The performance is actually better than traditional hosting because we've gone from 99.8 percent uptime to 99.9 percent uptime."

"GoGrid was not just the best quote for us—it was the only real choice."

– Hans Teske, CTO

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Results

Using GoGrid, Condé Nast has been able to:

  • Move to the cloud without sacrificing security or performance
  • Improve uptime
  • Add and remove server capacity as needed
  • Lower the TCO associated with its websites significantly
  • Devote more time and energy to enhancing its websites for mobile devices

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