Bonnier News chose Elastx to create their new digital platform

In connection to their 150th anniversary in 2013 Bonnier News decided to leave the old manual server system and make a step towards a fully automated platform. They chose Elastx for the job, complemented by tools from HashiCorp.

What is Bonnier News?

– Bonnier News is the division within the Bonnier Group with several major Swedish news outles such as: Expressen, Dagens Nyheter, Dagens Industri and HD/Sydsvenskan.

What did your former solution look like and what were the challenges?

– We had an exponential growth of news servers and systems due to the transition to a micro-service architecture. At the same time an increasing number of developers had demands for faster and easier releases of code and products. Within a year we had gone from a handful of developers to 130 people scattered over three countries. We had also gone from a few proprietary systems to hundreds of micro-services, with a release rate of hundreds of production deployments every week. The whole IT environment was inefficient and too expensive. In addition, a lot were handled manually. We needed to align our IT environment and bring DevOps to the next level.

– Elastx platform offered a breeding ground for our systems with a pliability to connect different solutions to it. The flexibility and the possibility to do it our own way were major factors in the choice of supplier, says Fredrik Ögren, Head of DevOps for Bonnier News.

Why did you choose Elastx?

– Elastx platform offered a breeding ground for our systems with the flexibility to connect to IaaS, PaaS and Bare Metal solutions. Their way of thinking and operating was also more compatible to our own culture in comparison to other suppliers. They understand our business and that really helps us in our development process. The flexibility and the possibility to do it our own way were major factors in the choice of supplier.

What advantages do you see in Hashicorp's products?

– Many of the CI/CD tools available on the market require a certain inflexibility of its users. The way our developers work and the demands they put on the platform was far more agile and responsive. This makes HashiCorp’s products perfectly suited for us. Also their philosophy is more similar to ours than any of their competitors. Each system has its own task, and it is easy to modify, replace or connect as it suits us. The key to our environment is the Service Discovery part within Consul, the tool that records all services in order to keep control of our IT environment. Additionally, everything from HashiCorp is open source, enabling you to create very dynamic environments using their code. I would like to say that HashiCorp is the fastest way forward.

What are the most noticeable improvements or differences from before?

– There is a huge difference. The cost efficiency is remarkably improved with Elastx solution. The developers are able to do a good job and deliver well-developed products, which makes them feel proud of their achievements and they take a higher responsibility in their delivered products. Increasing our automation also improved the security situation because we have eliminated some of the vulnerable areas of human error.

"The partnership with Elastx is creative and based on interactive dialogue."

What is your experience of support and partnership with Elastx?

– It is creative and based on interactive dialogue. A provider of cloud platforms must be equally ambitious and creative as the customers of this platform, which is how we regard Elastx. The delivery quality has been stable and smooth.

How do you view the future?

– As the media industry was faced with a total change in models concerning payment, delivery and technology, it has been necessary to start from scratch in many ways. Our new technical journey has not been carved in stone, but is very changeable, which in turn puts great demands on how we build and deliver services. In the early stages we used Elastx to test and evaluate technologies and products. In many occasions we did not know if these products were to become long lasting and so the dynamics of the technology partner needs to be as high as the pace of development. We found this to apply to Elastx. Automation, scalability and fast rate of change is the new standard, and with a partner like Elastx, we can keep the momentum in our digital transformation in the future.

Thanks, Fredrik!