Ziff Media Group Accelerates Time to Value for Their Digital Properties with Zero Lock-in or Downtime
Industry
Online Media
Company Size
201-600 employees
Location
Global
CHALLENGES
  • Proprietary lock-in dependencies 
  • Lack of technical expertise from external support 
  • Long response times
RESULTS
  • Live with staging and production environments in less than two months
  • Stand up production-ready clusters within 30 minutes
  • Competent technical support with a 50% faster response time

Proprietary Lock-In and Slow Response Times

Ziff Media Group believed that Kubernetes on AWS was open, reliable, and interoperable with open-source applications. What they later realized was that it had some proprietary updates that locked them into versions or builds of components that prevented them from integrating with other upstream projects from the ecosystem. “When you actually start using the applications that cluster managers provide you, you start noticing the little differences,” says Brett Stewart, Senior DevOps Engineer. “They don’t configure things to the default nature. When you want to do something simple like adding a Prometheus service monitor, you follow the steps the open source product gives you, but it doesn’t work. So you have to go back to the Kubernetes provider to see why and do what they say.” 

In addition to having an open Kubernetes solution, Ziff Media wanted a dedicated support team that could be there for quick responses, ideally over Slack because that is where they do their work every day. Prior to partnering with D2iQ, external support was only available through ticketing systems and response times were lagging. So when they experienced outages, it would take days, even weeks, for a support person to get back to them. “Brett would be trying to put out a fire instead of doing the things that I’d have him working on,” explains Chris Kite, Director of Technology. “When 30 developers are blocked for 30 minutes a day, that can add up in costs fast. Between Brett and I, we spent 30-40 hours internally writing support tickets for DNS issues because the support that was provided was neither competenent or adequately engaged with us. We couldn’t help but ask, ‘are we getting the value from what we’re paying for support every year if we have to do it ourselves?” 

Those were their main challenges with their previous Kubernetes vendor, and was what drove the decision to migrate to D2iQ Konvoy.
“The engagement and the knowledge on D2iQ’s end has been very confidence inspiring and that is not something we saw from other vendors in the space.”
- Chris Kite, Director of Technology, Ziff Media Group

Hardware Independence and Competent Technical Support

Within two months of implementing D2iQ Konvoy, Ziff Media Group was already in production and the time to value was immediate. The openness and stability of D2iQ Konvoy has given the devops team the opportunity to get things done faster and more reliably. 

With D2iQ Konvoy, the team is no longer doing things day-to-day with Kubernetes. Developers can deploy their apps with a low barrier to entry. And they can stand up sandbox clusters which are identical to production within 30 minutes.

If something breaks, time-to-resolution is low and the competence of D2iQ support engineers is high. “With D2iQ support, the initial response for all of our tickets has been around 15 minutes, which is 50% faster than it was before,” says Stewart. “What sets D2iQ support apart from others is that they have a devops mindset and understand the impact that our issue is causing. Rather than adding a quick fix, they dig deep to find the long term solution, which allows us to get production up and running as quickly as possible.”

At the same time, D2iQ Konvoy positions Ziff Media Group to further innovate. “The landscape is always changing and if you’re not moving ahead you’re falling behind,” Kite concludes. “With D2iQ Konvoy, our long-term strategy is to explore the different offerings available in each area, like metrics, alerting, logging, scheduled jobs, storage, and have our stack hammered out. Have it keep working and stay on it for at least a couple of years.”

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