The Hindu isn’t just another English daily broadsheet newspaper. The 138-year old legacy is one of the most respected and revered dailies in the country. With deep roots in south India, The Hindu, as part of The Hindu Group of Publications, has always been the pioneer in journalism with its radical approach, independent editorial perspectives, and unbiased opinions.
Headquartered in Chennai, The Hindu began as a weekly in 1878, and moved on to become a daily in 1889. Since 1905, The Hindu Group of Publications has been under the aegis of the media house, Kasturi & Sons Ltd (KSL).
The Hindu is considered as the second-most circulated English newspaper in India with an average qualifying sales of about 1.45 million copies as per the Audit Bureau of Circulations (January-June 2016). As per the Indian Readership Survey of 2014, about 1.6 million readers make The Hindu, the third-most widely-read English newspaper in India. The Group also publishes several editions of the newspaper, special interest magazines, and journals, both in print and digital.
In addition to its editorial leadership, The Hindu Group has been a front-runner in leveraging innovations and progressive technologies among its peers to maintain its trendsetting print and digital publication position. From being one of the first media houses to set up its own printing press (1883), operating its own fleet of aircraft to deliver newspapers across south India (1963) and introducing fax transmission in the country (1969), to being one of the first in the world to deploy a ‘Diamond spirit’ press (2005), and India’s first newspaper to have launched an internet edition in 1996, The Hindu Group has done it all.
The centralized IT landscape of The Hindu Group enabled the media house to streamline its operations and ensure seamless collaboration across its 17 locations, including its headquarters in Chennai, and its printing centers at Coimbatore, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Madurai, Noida, Visakhapatnam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Vijayawada, Mangalore, Tiruchirapalli, Kolkata, Hubli, Mohali, Allahabad and Kozhikode.
All, till they hit the problem of scale and unplanned traffic surges.
WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM?
The Hindu Group of Publications had a centralized IT setup at its datacentre at Chennai, running multiple instances of databases and flavours of operating systems on a host of Sun Solaris and IBM AIX systems. The websites, the content management systems and all the other related applications resided on the company datacentre. The printing centres that have been publishing the dailies and magazines at 17 locations accessed systems at the central location over high-speed data connections.
“Since this was a four-year-old setup, the primary problem we began facing was the agile response of our systems. In fact, whenever there was a breaking news or an event of considerable significance, our online presence experienced substantial viewership surges. It was getting increasingly difficult for us to manage the bandwidth and system response to keep up with the demand. We had to then look out for an apt solution,” recalls Krishnamoorthy D, Senior General Manager (IT), The Hindu Group of Publications (KSL).
The IT team decided to do away with its centralised datacentre and opt to move to the cloud. The management agreed to this transformation as the comparison between the Capex and Opex models, and the significant agility of the backend systems would experience, favoured the migration to cloud.
However, there existed two caveats. One, most of the established cloud service provider brands only offered hosting services and had no interest in managing The Hindu’s OS, databases, and infrastructure. The Hindu would have had to find yet another third-party infrastructure and systems management player to manage its outsourced ecosystem.
“Second, since the existing systems weren’t based on web architecture, it wouldn’t have been an easy task to immediately move its applications out of its own datacenter at Chennai,” Krishnamoorthy added.
HOW WAS IT SOLVED?
The Hindu Group experienced an increasing downtime of its digital platforms because of traffic surges every now and then. Cloud was obviously the way forward. Krishnamoorthy and his team evaluated several cloud service providers based on the requirements. However, the two caveats of inherent difficulties in the seamless porting of all applications from the earlier datacentre to cloud, and the lack of infrastructure management services plagued the IT team.
Interestingly, Netmagic was quick to solve both of the problems. “While Netmagic aptly planned our migration of our legacy applications to the cloud ecosystem using new-age technology solutions, we moved to Netmagic with a couple of new applications – a classified booking application and photo repositories that users typically buy images from. Later, we successfully migrated our other applications on to Netmagic’ s cloud,” stated Krishnamoorthy.
Unlike some of the other service providers, Netmagic offers comprehensive infrastructure and systems management services to help its clients not only migrate their legacy to the progressive systems of Netmagic cloud, but also to help clients manage their outsourced infrastructure and ecosystems. "Naturally, the infrastructure management services of Netmagic and its cloud services, sealed the deal for us, and we decided to opt for it,” he substantiated.
HOW IT WORKS?
Since moving to Netmagic’s SimpliCloud, The Hindu hasn’t experienced major downtime due to heavy traffic surges on the website. The performance metrics have significantly improved, with the website now boasting of over 40 million page views with about 1.2 million visitors every month. “We now experience significant agility in our systems. We are far better prepared for any unforeseen events or breaking news stories that may cause massive surges in our traffic. In fact, with Netmagic’ s cloud, we have been able to maintain 100% uptime of our applications, websites and related infrastructure,” said Krishnamoorthy.
Pleased with Netmagic’s range of offerings, The Hindu Group of Publications has also opted for the Content Delivery Network (CDN) services to optimize the last mile delivery, and in turn, the user-experience of its websites. The publishing pioneer has also selected Netmagic to setup its DR ecosystem at Bengaluru. DR for two of its content management systems has already been setup, and the rest of the systems are being prepped to include Disaster Recovery, to enable seamless business continuity for the organization. Krishnamoorthy and his team are also considering Netmagic’s hosted SAP services, and are looking to run SAP Hana on the Virtual Private Cloud.
“Our experience with Netmagic has been good. We are increasingly migrating to its cloud, to optimize our IT setup and create an infrastructure that can offer support for consistent growth and unplanned surges. We hope to continue getting better ROIs from Netmagic, going forward,” stated Krishnamoorthy.
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SimpliCloud - Netmagic Public Cloud
Co-located production and DR environments at separate Netmagic datacenters
Infrastructure Management Services – managing OS, DB, networking infrastructure etc
Akamai CDN services