The Stack Archive News Article

New York Times goes from data centres to the cloud

Wed 19 Apr 2017

The New York Times is to replace its data centres with public Cloud services such as Google Cloud

In a continuing push to modernise its infrastructure, the publisher has announced that three out of its four data centres will be closed. Instead, the workloads will be transferred to Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services.

Recently, the New York Times has seen a growth in its digital subscription business – due in part to its coverage of last year’s presidential election. This growth has countered the drop in revenue from printed advertising. Furthermore, the publisher has branched out into new markets like the acquisition of product review site, Wirecutter.

The plan is for the publisher to close three leased sites, with only the internal New York facility remaining. This facility is used to chiefly host the infrastructure for video editing and network equipment.

What will happen is that the apps dependent on Oracle databases will instead be deployed on Amazon Web Services, while the majority of the rest of the apps will run in containers on Google Cloud Platform (orchestrated by Kubernetes, the open-source system used for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerised applications).

One of the most important pieces of the New York Times’ modernised infrastructure is that of a CDN – or Content Delivery Network. Operated by San Francisco-based start-up Fastly, this caches clients’ content on SSD drives in edge data centres in worldwide major metros. What marks this out from traditional CDNS is that it provides a high quantity of visibility into the way in which traffic flows through its network.

Two other benefits of Fastly have also come through for the publisher. For one thing, it has managed to lower the amount of infrastructure required by The New York Times to deploy, in the Cloud. As an example, the service that provides the main API (Application Programming Interface) for mobile push notifications sends out between 25 million and 30 million notifications each minute whenever news is broken. While supporting this service, the AWS cloud infrastructure had to be scaled around 40 times the usual load – meaning a cost of $25,000 each month for the New York Times.

Out of this, however, the second benefit of Fastly is that of a lower cost. Because this service has been transferred to GCP (in tandem with Fastly), the price has significantly dropped to around $5,000 per month for the publisher.


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