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Empowering Publishers - Hosting Provider Selection Process - May-15-2013


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How to look for a service provider with an agile, resilient infrastructure for your online assets.

Neil McIntyre, Head of IT, Trinity Mirror

Published in: Technology, Business
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Empowering Publishers - Hosting Provider Selection Process - May-15-2013

  1. 1. Trinity MirrorHosting Provider Selection ProcessNeil McIntyre – Head of IT, Digital
  2. 2. Overview• Need for Hosting Provider Change• Selection Process• Pilot web site• web site launch• Where we are now• Q& A
  3. 3. The Need for Change• In 2009 we selected Escenic as our web CMS• Launched first pilot site (Mirrorfootball) in August that year. Thefirst Escenic customer on version 5.• Deployed on a dedicated server hosting environment.• Following launch, the platform required continuous changesand fine tuning.• Dedicated server hosting limited our ability to react quickly.• Any additional hardware required capital expenditure, purchaseorders, delivery lead time and hosting provider lead time
  4. 4. The Need for Change Cont’d• No ability to quickly test changes and the impact.• Failover to another data centre was a manual process andslow.• If we had any hardware failure that resulted in a rebuild, restorefrom backup was slow and backup was generally a day old.• Ongoing server hardware and network hardware refresh wascostly.• We needed a more flexible hosting platform and we specificallylooked at Cloud solutions.
  5. 5. What we did• Evaluated various cloud hosting providers in the marketplace,including our existing provider’s solution• Key selection criteria for us was:• Relative maturity of solution• Ease of provisioning• Support for our technology stack• Transparency of Cost• Data Centre resilience• Level of Support• Scalability• Roadmap
  6. 6. We Selected AWS• We needed a solution before we re-launched our flagship website on Escenic,, in Feb 2012.• We actively recruited Sys Admin resource with Cloud hostingexperience.• The Amazon self serve portal was more advanced than manyof its competitors and it met our key selection criteria.• We decided to run an Escenic site as a pilot on Amazoninfrastructure.
  7. 7. The Amazon Pilot• Our Sys Admin team set up an Escenic environment onAmazon in a single zone.• We redeveloped our celebrity web site and migratedit to the Escenic platform.• In October 2011 we launched on Amazon.• Amazon web services used:– EC2– RDS for MySQL– Elastic IP Addresses– Elastic Load Balancing– AWS Support
  8. 8. The Amazon Pilot - Result• 3am site was launched on time with no performance issues• Launching the small site gave us some insight intothe architecture required for our larger sites• Following launch we created the setup in another AZ providingdata centre resilience• Not long after that, Amazon suffered an outage in one of theirDublin data centres• 3am site failed over seamlessly to the second data centre. Areal time test!
  9. 9. site launch• Redesigned was launched on Escenic, in Amazon,in Feb 2012 (early morning)• Performance issues identified soon after launch and launch wasbacked out.• Solr was identified as a major bottleneck in the architecture.• We implemented a caching layer for Solr, adding 4 more EC2instances• We successfully re-launched early afternoon• If we hadn’t moved to Amazon, it would have taken weeks to re-launch
  10. 10. Where we are now• Live on Amazon with 4 separate production environments• 70 EC2 instances serving production, 15 instances in dev• Dev environment is automatically shut down every night,helping to control the costs• All Newspaper branded sites will be on the Escenic platform inAmazon by end of 2013• Most of our acquired Digital business have migrated or willmigrate to Amazon• Snapshot technologies for backup• Since launch we have seamlessly (on the fly) upgraded theMySQL database server instances
  11. 11. What we are working on now• Recently implemented Elasticache to increase the presentation servercaches, decreasing calls to db servers• CloudFormation– Full copy of Production environment in 15 mins• Hundreds of GB of data• Large database import• All network configuration in the same script• Migrating our DNS to Route 53• Auto Scaling– Investigating the options for auto scaling platform for any peaks in traffic
  12. 12. Summary• Hosting with AWS has many benefits for Trinity Mirror:– Provides us with the flexibility we required• Can create environments very quickly with CloudFormation– Support is excellent– Provides data centre resilience– All our platform is supported and provisioned by a small in-house SysAdmin team– No more hardware refreshes– There is a roadmap!• There is one issue - variable costs. Requires an understanding FD!
  13. 13. Questions