Mediahuis, publisher of well-known news brands such as De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad/De Gentenaar and sites like Hebbes and Jobat, asked Xylos to modernize its storage infrastructure. The media group has grown strongly in recent years, partly due to the acquisition of Media Groep Limburg (MGL) and NRC Media and Telegraaf Media Groep (TMG) and a rapid increase in digital operations. So the underlying storage infrastructure needs to continue handling the data growth flexibly and ensure that all information is continuously available.
"Information is our core business and so we have to engage with it in the best possible way," says Robin Pauwels, ICT Infrastructure & Services Manager at Mediahuis. "The newspapers just have to appear on time and the websites must always be accessible."
That's why the storage infrastructure of Mediahuis needed to be replaced. Instead of juggling with capacity every year, Mediahuis wanted a solution that would be efficient and future-proof. All this with a number of key objectives in mind: more flexibility, speed, stability, security and efficient management. Following previous projects with Xylos, Mediahuis decided once again to collaborate with Xylos as an integrator and a central point of contact for the project.
Robin Pauwels: "We have confidence in their approach, the way they work as a partner and integrator and in their expertise. Xylos has people in-house with the right knowledge and skills for the technology we use. Flexibility is another differentiator. For example, they also provide support, work with us on presales cases, and they are always ready to answer our questions."
Xylos is working with Mediahuis on a migration plan and is responsible for the installation and transfer of data without disruption to end users. They are providing technnological advice and training to the IT staff of Mediahuis to enable them to manage the new systems themselves. Xylos also ensured that the new environment is not too complex – a major improvement on the previous situation, where different technologies were being used side by side because of a number of acquisitions. "We made a conscious decision to go for simplicity and standardization, and Xylos helped us with that," says Robin Pauwels.
Xylos coordinated the installation of a powerful and redundant storage environment with an all-flash two-storey HPE 3PAR storage system and an HPE hybrid system, containing mainly SAS disks, at two locations. In addition to the SAN with two powerful HPE systems, there is also a NetApp component that serves as a NAS device for the newspaper's production environment. The mirrored configuration provides additional security: if one location fails, the other data centre takes over automatically. Moreover, the data are spread dynamically across four storage layers (tiers), so that the production data are stored separately from the other data. This ensures greater speed, flexibility and stability.
For the backup, Mediahuis switched from working with different technologies to using a standard approach with HPE systems and Veeam software, once again with the help of Xylos. So all types of data from any source are stored quickly and securely. Xylos has provided enough capacity for future growth: each system goes up to 1.2 petabytes. "Right now we are still a long way off from using all this, but we can add capacity very quickly," explains Robin Pauwels.
Mediahuis can now support the growth of its operations. "We can grow our capacity steadily instead of being panicked into hasty decisions," says Robin Pauwels. "This makes it easier for us to innovate, set up new collaborations and launch new products or services. We can now also take on digital challenges without any problems: 2 million online visitors a day and a strong growth in the number of videos, which take up a lot of storage space."
The next item on the agenda is further automating the storage management and optimizing the environment. The entire configuration is also ideal for evolving to a hybrid cloud at a later stage.
"Thanks to its large and flexible capacity, it is easier for us to innovate, set up new collaborations and launch new products or services."