Challenges & Sciences et Avenir

Delivering Digital Content at Scale through AWS Cloud Migration

Client location Paris, France

Business area Media

Product Web Platform

Delivery center Brasov, Romania

Project type Development

About the client

Challenges et Sciences et Avenir are two well-established and highly respected French magazines dedicated to business, economics and popular science. The two publications distribute hundreds of thousands of magazines each month to loyal readers, while growing online over the years to also deliver digital content on demand, including videos and innovative formats.

Although each publication has its own distinct and dedicated website, behind the scenes, their architecture was the same – served by an identical technical solution.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

The challenge

With steady yearly growth, a high volume of monthly digital content and increasing web traffic, our client needed a robust, but flexible infrastructure to help them keep up with the constantly evolving market expectations and assist in launching products on time. Their main technical challenges were related to achieving an optimal time-to-market:

  • Lack of documentation. The client needed an upgraded infrastructure documentation to facilitate knowledge transfer, as well as improve technical consistency, transparency and decision making.
  • Overengineered architecture. The system required simplifications in order to accelerate implementation, maintenance and reaction to system failures.
  • No workflow automation. Scaling up from manual validation and deployment to an automated process was necessary to comply with the business objective by ensuring faster and more reliable release cycles.
  • Overscaled servers. While the client’s servers were equipped to handle extremely high traffic peaks, these peaks were rare. Most of the time, our client used only 10-20% of their resources, which drove up costs.
  • Stiff adaptability. The client needed a more flexible system that would allow faster scale up/down of the existing infrastructure, which in turn reduced the spinning up cycle time of a new service or unexpected event.

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AWS Cloud Migration - Media Platform

The solution

Pentalog began technical support of the Challenges and Sciences et Avenir websites in 2018. The project scope included the management of the infrastructure, which was hosted in a data center with booked physical machines.

Pentalog proposed to the client improvements to the time to market and more reliable deliveries by migrating to a cloud platform. We chose AWS for its abundant services, its large, resourceful community, and highly innovative capacities.

A Senior DevOps Solution Architect joined the initial development team, which also included three engineers, a Scrum Master, and a QA tester. The AWS Cloud migration was run in 3 phases:

  1. Discovery and full documentation of the initial infrastructure to ensure consideration of every characteristic and component
  2. Architecting the target infrastructure on AWS, along with a migration strategy and roadmap
  3. Implementation of the new infrastructure and final migration of its resources, assets, and traffic

The main skillsets they leveraged to ensure project success included:

  • Cloud platform migration
  • Infrastructure as Code
  • Serverless
  • High availability

The results

Pentalog successfully migrated the platform to AWS with minimal impact to visitors — no downtime and just a few issues related to the project’s technical debt legacy, which we quickly fixed.

The finished project provided many new benefits to the client:

  • A fully automated CI/CD pipeline provides a much faster time to market and safer releases.
  • Auto-scaling adapts almost instantaneously to the needs of the infrastructure; there’s no slow-down during traffic peaks, and costs are calculated according to consumption.
  • Leveraging DevOps practices means increased collaboration between every department and individual developers. The result is a better understanding of the website infrastructure, discovery and resolution of issues, and the creation of new technical features.
  • Pentalog has now launched a new project involving advanced technologies such as Data Lake and Serverless.
  • We’ve increased the platform’s performance for faster page response time and a higher SEO ranking.
  • The platform is geo-replicated in two availability zones, which provides high availability and high resiliency.
Daniel Radu
Customer Success Manager

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