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Why a Media Giant Sold Its Data Center and Headed to the Cloud

Thor Olavsrud | July 16, 2014
Two weeks ago, venerable media company Condé Nast -- publisher of magazines like Vogue, The New Yorker and Wired -- decommissioned its Newark, Del. data center. The 67,200 square feet facility had already been sold and the deal closed. The 105-year-old company had gone all-in with the cloud.

In the course of that three months, Simon's team planned and executed the migration of 500+ servers, 1 petabyte of storage, 100+ database servers, 100+ switches, routers and firewalls and its mission-critical apps.

A Head Start with Virtualization

Of course, Condé Nast had a bit of a head start. For the better part of three years, Simon's team had worked to virtualize everything in the company's environment. When the company pulled the trigger, they were ready to move.

"The actual creation of the environment worked like clockwork," he says. "The scripting is so easy. The APIs are a lot easier to use than we thought they would be. If we had done this three years ago, we would have been having a different conversation."

The migration began in April and the team was quick to see performance improvements. By May, Simon says it was clear everything was going to work. He put the facility on the market. It sold and the deal closed in mid-June.

There was pain involved. The migration meant a "significant layoff."

"I did it before we moved," Simon says. "I would not have got this through the old team. It's not fair to ask someone who built it to tear it down."

But in the end, Simon says, his team has improved performance by 30 percent to 40 percent and created a dynamic environment that can adjust as the company needs it to. It can freely experiment with new offerings because, as Simon says, "It's a lot easier to try and fail with this. You may spend a few hundred bucks; that's it."

And oh, yeah, operating costs are also down about 40 percent, Simon says.


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