Tanjug

News Agency Website Successfully Served 400 000 Visitors Using Windows Azure

Solution Overview:

Organization Size

202 employees

Organization Profile

The main service supplied by Public Enterprise “Novinska agencija Tanjug“ (Tanjug News Agency) are the news services, information, reports and analyses.

Software and Services
  • Windows Azure
  • Windows Azure Platform
  • Microsoft Expression
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
Vertical Industries

Communications & Media

Country/Region

Serbia

Languages

English

Company Overview:

Tanjug is the national news agency of the Republic of Serbia and the main source of news from the country and abroad for a large number of media and the general public.

TANJUG-Case-Study-Foetron Inc.Tanjug looked for a solution that would allow them to respond to large pressures on the system within a short period of time and with minimum investment. The answer was the temporary migration of part of the website into the Windows Azure cloud environment, whose scalability ensured stable and reliable functioning of Tanjug’s website even in such conditions of high loads. Use of additional technologies also allowed for live streaming of media conferences, so the visitors from all over the world could get high quality and accurate information in real time.

Business Needs:

In addition to daily uploading written, photo, audio and video reports for the website users and visitors, Tanjug news service is an invaluable resource for all media in emergency and unexpected situations. An event certain to attract great interest of Serbian public is elections at all levels. Pressures by media and public on Tanjug to release latest information as soon as possible are high then, and definitely the fastest way to share data is by a website. In order for the reporters and journalists to timely and efficiently place news items received from the field, they need IT infrastructure that responds quickly and can endure peak loads in short time intervals.

Thanks to integrating the present infrastructure with the cloud we have managed to keep the quality of our services at the level expected by our clients.

– Aleksandar Milinković
Head of IT Department
Tanjug Agency.

In usual circumstances, IT infrastructure used by Tanjug functions in such a way that it almost uses up all the capacities. That is why the top management of Tanjug, in preparation for presidential, parliamentary and local elections scheduled for May 2012, were on the lookout for the solution that may be quickly and easily prepared for high loads, but at minimum possible costs, due to budget restrictions. In addition, such a solution should be integrated with the current IT infrastructure of Tanjug, consisting of 250 workstations and 24 servers, with heterogeneous software environment comprising Microsoft Windows and Ubuntu Linux operational systems.

Solution:

Tanjug’s strategic orientation to Microsoft solutions and technologies facilitated to a certain extent their search for a possible solution. The Windows Azure platform was selected as a response to the mentioned operational challenge, since it allows the necessary scalability at lower costs and with easier deployment. “However, what was perhaps most important was the possibility for the new platform to be easily integrated into the existing solutions already used by Tanjug”, says Aleksandar Milinković, head of the Agency’s technical services. The current website, developed in Microsoft ASP.NET technology and run by Microsoft IIS, was given a new segment entitled “Elections 2012”, the hosting of which was switched to Windows Azure platform. Any visitor clicking on the link “Elections 2012” on Tanjug website homepage would be automatically redirected to the website segment hosted on Windows Azure platform.

In order to meet and evenly distribute maximum possible loads, six small Windows Azure instances were deployed. For data storage 500 GB were set aside in Azure storage order, and management of the database was entrusted to 5 GB SQL Azure system. In order to ensure additional reliability, Content Delivery Network (CDN) mechanism for caching and distribution according to visitor location was used, which was crucial for high quality placing of contents requiring large bandwidth. The development of this segment of Tanjug website involved Visual Studio 2010, along with ASP.NET MVC 3 technology and Entity Framework 4.0. In addition to continuously updated news, this site segment also featured a live streaming section for live transmissions of media conferences held on Tanjug premises.

Two servers with Expression Encoder 4 Pro were used for converting video content on the site, while a large upstream instance was launched in the cloud environment, as well as six small instances for downstream servers, thus making possible appropriate load balancing for video contents through IIS Live Smooth Streaming mechanism. A team of experts from the local Microsoft office, as well as team of Microsoft MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals) from the relevant fields, collaborated on project implementation with the Tanjug IT department.

Benefits:

By introducing this cloud supplement to the existing IT structure, Tanjug managed to scale up its website in a simple and efficient way, with minimum investment, and to adequately meet high loads during peaks in the election process. “During the final five days of the election campaign our website had more than 400,000 visitors, and thanks to the integration of the existing and cloud infrastructure we managed to keep the quality of our services at the level our clients expect from us”, says Aleksandar Milinković, and adds: “Moreover, it was not necessary to invest in expensive IT infrastructure, the capacities we would not be able to make adequate use of after the elections are over”.

In addition to ensuring a smooth flow of service provision to users and visitors of the website, this solution involved minimum impact on usual operational processes in Tanjug. The existing software for collecting and publishing news, photo and video reports, with the help of additional components, was synchronized with the Windows Azure platform, thus ensuring maximum system reliability, and ongoing operational processes ran completely unhindered.

Utilizing IIS Live Smooth Streaming option that enabled the appropriate distribution of live streaming contents to users contributed to positive user experiences of Tanjug website visitors, who could easily follow all the relevant events during the election night from their homes, enjoying a clear picture and sound. “Different technical solutions utilized at this time ensured full and faster availability of agency services, which positively affected also the satisfaction of our partners and users”, pointed out Aleksandar Milinković, head of Tanjug’s technical services.

Source:

Microsoft Case Study: Tanjug

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