Condé Nast Successfully Makes the Leap to Digital Content with New Relic and AWS

Chances are, you’ve likely had a Condé Nast magazine dropped in your mailbox at one time or another. The media company’s portfolio includes some of the most iconic titles in publishing, from Vogue and Vanity Fair to Wired and The New Yorker.

Although historically a magazine-first company, Condé Nast recast its focus a few years ago, with the goal of developing original content not just for print, but for digital and video distribution channels as well. The company’s newest division, Condé Nast Entertainment was launched in 2011 to do just that. And today, the group releases anywhere from 10 to 20 videos per day. But getting to this point of agility took some smart planning and solid technical operations, of which Amazon Web Services (AWS) and New Relic play a critical part.

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Accelerating time to market with AWS

“We chose Amazon Web Services to help us get up and running very quickly and then maintain that velocity, knowing that the infrastructure could evolve as we grew,” says Wilken Rivera, software engineer at Condé Nast Entertainment. “That was a year and a half ago and we’ve never looked back.”

Condé Nast Entertainment uses a number of AWS services to help run its online video platform, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS), and Amazon CloudFormation. Although the team does check out the metrics being reported in Amazon CloudWatch from time to time, it relies on New Relic to see the bigger performance picture. “We need a monitoring solution that offers more robust capabilities, which is why we brought in New Relic to monitor our cloud applications alongside CloudWatch and other tools,” says John Callanta, software engineer at Condé Nast Entertainment.

Improving app performance with New Relic

The company relies on New Relic’s entire software analytics suite to deliver top-notch digital content experiences that meet or exceed the company’s high standards for service levels. “Our SLAs are set to 50 milliseconds, but we’re far below that because New Relic is built into our development cycle,” says Rivera, citing a 70 percent reduction in average response time for its aggregate video application.

Callanta finds New Relic’s Deploy Comparisons feature to be particularly helpful in monitoring Condé Nast’s AWS applications, as it allows him to see the before-and-after picture of app performance every time a change has been deployed. “It really all comes down to insight,” he says. “That’s what I find most valuable about New Relic. Without it, our cloud metrics would be severely fragmented. I’d need to be pulling data from all these different places to know how the app is performing. And drilling down into that data would also be a pain. The consolidation of our metrics in New Relic is great. It saves us a lot of time when it comes to fixing and optimizing our environment.”

Because the Condé Nast Entertainment team doesn’t spend nearly as much time troubleshooting, they can focus instead on pushing out new content and capabilities to its 95 million customers. “New Relic has really given us better insight into how we can move forward effectively,” says Chris Handy, director of technical operations at Condé Nast. “I’ve lost count of the number of ah-ha moments we’ve had with New Relic.”

Want to learn more?

  • To get the bigger story behind Condé Nast’s digital transformation, read this case study.
  • To find out more about monitoring AWS applications with New Relic, visit www.newrelic.com/aws.

Asami Novak is director of content strategy and development at New Relic. Prior to joining the New Relic team, she wrote marketing and ad copy for a variety of B2B and B2C companies. Her editorial writing has appeared in WIRED and Dwell, among other publications. View posts by .

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