Worldnow: Scooping the competition
Established 15 years ago, Worldnow helps local television stations in the United States deliver news content on digital platforms. Forty percent of the nation’s local television stations with news programming use Worldnow’s content management system (CMS) to post news to digital platforms that cover 80 percent of the country’s households.
Every year, the number of people who access news and information with web-based devices grows. To stay ahead of this trend, local television stations use Worldnow’s CMS to design and publish new content — including articles, photos and video — to websites. In an average month, Worldnow’s CMS delivers content to 400 million web pages and 57 million unique visitors.
Infrastructure refresh steps up pace of news delivery
To speed performance and increase its ability to manage hundreds of thousands of simultaneous processes, Worldnow replaced Dell servers that were nearing end of life with Dell PowerEdge R620 and PowerEdge R720 rack servers. To facilitate the highest-possible availability, the company backed its servers with Dell ProSupport Mission Critical.
Worldnow also increased the agility of its infrastructure by virtualizing 95 percent of the company’s servers using VMware vSphere® software. Today, 120 virtual servers run on the company’s 56 Dell systems, and engineers can deploy a new server in minutes.
In addition, Worldnow minimized data center costs and prevented server sprawl. Joe Sticca, senior vice president of product management and operations at Worldnow, explains, “Three years ago we had 10 cabinets of Dell servers. Today, we still have 10 cabinets of Dell servers, and we support 35 percent more requests.”
To boost the productivity of IT staff, Worldnow deployed Dell OpenManage Essentials. With it, administrators gain a single console for monitoring and managing servers, whether they’re on-site or off-site. Remote administration is made possible by the Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC) with Lifecycle Controller that’s built into every PowerEdge server.
“We can maintain high availability levels with less effort because Dell OpenManage Essentials gives us an incredibly clear picture of our infrastructure through a single pane of glass, without adding a capital expenditure,” says Clinton Henry, senior director of data center infrastructure and security at Worldnow. “It’s also nice to have remote server access through iDRAC, in case our engineers can’t physically access a server at our off-site data center.” Henry estimates that Worldnow saves about US$300 every time an engineer avoids traveling to the remote data center.
Streamlined management shifts focus to innovation
Because engineers spend less time managing infrastructure, they have more time to focus on developing new CMS features. In fact, Worldnow has increased the number of CMS software releases by 160 percent and improved customer satisfaction by delivering innovative features on a regular basis.
One feature that Worldnow recently added to its CMS is a premium newsfeed application programming interface (API). With it, a customer can break news faster and achieve greater consistency between information on its website and TV station, boosting service and popularity. Sticca says, “By migrating our newsfeed server farm to our new virtual infrastructure on Dell PowerEdge R620 and R720 servers, we’ve been able to develop a premium newsfeed that provides a time-to-live of two and a half minutes compared with the standard newsfeed TTL, which is 10 minutes or less. We can support both options for customers because we now have the ability to modularize and segment traffic using our Dell management console.”
Worldnow facilitates employee efficiency by making sure everyone has the equipment and services they need to work. “Ninety percent of our desktops are Dell Latitude models,” says Henry. “We like to use Dell client devices because they’re reliable, and we also get excellent support from Dell through Premier Support.”
IT stability contributes to new business development
By minimizing IT issues, Worldnow can more easily achieve its goals. Henry explains, “The nice thing about our Dell infrastructure is that it’s so stable. This means we can really keep our focus on new projects and services for our customers.”
The stability and performance of Worldnow’s new infrastructure were tested during Hurricane Sandy. The company’s only office and data center were in the path of the storm, and 34 of its customers provided news for people living in affected areas. “We kept our customers’ sites up 100 percent of the time during Hurricane Sandy even though not one of our staff members could make it into the office,” says Bob Mischel, chief operating officer and co-founder of Worldnow. “Our Dell equipment was steady and stable during the entire event. Our employees and Dell infrastructure passed the hardest tests to date, delivering continuous digital news services to the public in time of great need.”
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