Schibsted: The Media Giant with Open Source Storage

Schibsted reaches half of Sweden’s population every day through a dozen of well-known media brands. At Schibsted, Enterprise Technology (E-Tech) has the responsibility for running the joint group systems and keep them competitive.

A national media group that includes some of Sweden’s most famous newspapers and digital media platforms has a huge amount of information to handle. Schibsted uses a Shared Services platform to provide the data.

The price per GB must be minimal, while access and latency must be as good as possible, regardless of content and demand. Topical video content might, for instance, need faster storage than old archived newspaper pages.

In early 2017, Schibsted E-Tech used a traditional network for data storage (SAN) with specific hardware that was later connected to a virtual server environment.

The design with special hardware in the network and storage parts could cause limitations in flexibility and scalability for the whole system: In each virtual server, elements of unique network and storage hardware had to be reserved.

As part of its decision to renew its SAN environment, Schibsted E-Tech decided to upgrade to an up-to-date software-defined storage (SDS) solution.

A couple of suppliers were asked to provide a detailed proposition. In the end, a solution based on Red Hat’s Open-Source technology Gluster and Cisco’s UCS server platform won the competition. Conscia contributed the UCS, while Red Hat specialist Conoa came with Gluster.

Afterward, Schibsted E-Tech did have a much more flexible hardware platform: A large number of smaller and versatile Cisco UCS servers replaced big tailored storage units. Now, the system includes nodes in different sizes and capacity classes – from SSD storage to cheap traditional storage without admission requirements. With its web-based user interface and ability to create and move server profiles, Cisco UCS is easy to handle and very cost-effective.

Above all, the user gets with Gluster virtualization storage that is even stronger based on accumulated logical objects and provides dramatically increased flexibility and scalability. The user doesn’t need to adjust several parts of a major physical unit but can now directly introduce different policies for various types of virtual discs.

Schibsted’s developers can work directly in the virtual storages and get their own virtual machines and storage resources depending on the need – the so-called DevOps. Because Red Hat is an open source platform, the license expenses can be held down with Gluster.

“We must be able to work in an agile way with development projects in many provision teams that cover several systems and companies. Software defined storages gives us a higher flexibility. Cisco’s UCS server platform is user friendly and efficient, and we have positive experiences from earlier projects with the CNS server portal and the expertise at Conscia,” says Mathias Westerlund, Head of Datacenter at Schibsted Enterprise Technology.

“It is crucial for Sweden’s leading digital media group to have access to a fast, digital development and launch platform. We are extremely proud to gain the trust to supporting Schibsted with both networks and data center solutions,” adds Bengt Lundgren, who is the CEO of Conscia Sverige.

The news storage solution at Schibsted E-Tech has been implemented and successfully tested with the target to totally replace the company’s old storage environment.

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