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Russian Media Analyst Better Able to Meet Customer Commitments with Cloud Service
Customers pay Medialogia to search thousands of web news sources and let them know when they are mentioned. However, Medialogia had trouble updating all of its content in promised timeframes. By moving the indexing portion of its solution to Windows Azure, Medialogia has doubled the amount of content it can crawl. The company can also deliver near-100 percent service availability and has reduced data center maintenance costs by 50 percent.
"Crawling excellence is a key competitive differentiator for us…. After moving to Windows Azure, we achieved guaranteed 80 percent of on-time content delivery and doubled the amount of indexing cycles per hour."
Medialogia provides real-time media monitoring and analysis for some of the biggest companies and government agencies in Russia, including the Presidential Executive Office. Medialogia tracks more than 9,000 media sources in Russia and Western Europe, including newspapers, magazines, radio, television, Internet sites, blogs, and news agencies. Its job is to help customers discover media coverage of their organization, executives, brands, and competitors. Medialogia electronically combs web news sources daily—some 150,000 articles—and updates its media database every five minutes.
Medialogia has to meet customer service level agreements (SLAs) that require it to detect a news mention within 10 minutes of publication. However, with its existing IT infrastructure, Medialogia was only able to guarantee the update of 40 percent of its content in the required refresh period. It fell further behind on heavy news days, such as election days.
The problem was in maintaining high performance and availability for the crawling and indexing portions of its solution. The crawler continuously visits and copies news websites, and the indexer tags the content for fast searches. These and other aspects of the Medialogia service ran in third-party hosting sites in Moscow and London. The London location was required to search Western European media sources, but the service turned out to be unreliable and difficult to maintain.
Even in its Moscow data center, Medialogia did not want to invest in extra servers just to handle traffic spikes, and it experienced occasional service outages due to electrical problems. “The crawler delivers data to our database, and an outage for a few hours delays our news feeds by several hours,” says Vsevolod Vanchikov, Chief Technology Officer for Medialogia. “The slow performance really hurts our business. If our customers learn about media mentions several hours late, we have not done our job.” Medialogia was already spending a great deal of money on both third-party hosting providers; it did not want to further invest in a redundant IT infrastructure to address availability, reliability, and scalability issues, especially during peak hours.
In March 2012, Medialogia decided to move the crawling and indexing portion of its solution to Windows Azure, the Microsoft cloud services development, hosting, and management environment. By moving to a cloud infrastructure, Medialogia could add capacity dynamically as needed.
“We have a long partnership with Microsoft and a highly cooperative and accessible local contact at Microsoft, which is a great advantage when it comes to deployment and maintenance routines requiring fast turnover. Unfortunately, other cloud providers lack such support,” Vanchikov says.
In just two months, Medialogia migrated the crawling and indexing services to Windows Azure, using Windows Azure compute roles, Windows Azure Storage, and SQL Database. Medialogia uses a hybrid architecture: it runs the indexing service in Windows Azure while continuing to run its web services and analytical database on-premises.
With Windows Azure, Medialogia has the performance power it needs to scale the critical crawling and indexing capabilities. Among the widely known organizations that depend on the company’s Windows Azure–based media-search services are Dell, Groupon, Citibank, UniCredit Bank, Samsung, SAP, and Aeroflot.
By migrating the indexing portion of its media monitoring application to Windows Azure, Medialogia has been able to dramatically improve its platform performance, improve availability, and reduce costs.
Crawl Twice as Much Content within Customer SLA
With scalable indexing performance, Medialogia can process more data and return searches sooner. “Crawling excellence is a key competitive differentiator for us; customers expect us to be 100 percent reliable and to deliver results in the blink of an eye,” Vanchikov says. “Before Windows Azure, we could process only 40 percent of the content during our SLA timeframe; after moving to Windows Azure, we achieved guaranteed 80 percent of on-time content delivery and doubled the amount of indexing cycles per hour.”
Additionally, Medialogia has been able to greatly expand the volume of content it analyzes because of cloud scalability. Since moving to Windows Azure, the company has increased its content stores by 50 percent.
Increase Availability to Near-100 Percent
Medialogia has also improved the availability of its service by eliminating the Internet connection issues to the London data center and the outages caused by electrical problems in the local office. “We have experienced near-100 percent availability since moving to Windows Azure,” Vanchikov says. “One outage can cost us a client.”
Reduce Maintenance Costs by 50 Percent
By moving a critical piece of its solution to Windows Azure, Medialogia has also reduced its costs. “We expect to avoid a 50 percent increase in data center maintenance costs by moving to Windows Azure,” Vanchikov says. “This, too, will help us be more competitive.”