Print media may have served us well for hundreds of years. However, with the rise in digital media, many of us are discarding paper-based newspapers and magazines and are going online to stay updated on the latest news. PT. Tempo Inti Media Tbk (TIM) in Indonesia publishes Tempo News Magazine, a weekly publication that had to evolve to stay on top of the digital revolution.
Launched in 1971, Tempo News Magazine has been met with two government bans, but in 2008, when it was well established on newsstands once more, the company launched an online version of the magazine, Tempo.co. The hope was that online advertising revenue would make up for shrinking print sales, but unfortunately this wasn’t the case. TIM then had to rework its strategy, introducing premium paid-for content on the website and launching its Tempo mobile app in 2012 to reach a wider audience.
The IT infrastructure behind TIM’s digital operation moved from a single server to a cloud infrastructure hosted by a local provider. Despite the flexibility of the cloud, the Tempo.co web and mobile platforms experienced problems handling huge spikes in site visitors whenever a big news story broke. Handy Dharmawan, head of IT for Tempo.co, says, “When a major event happens, visitor numbers can jump by 400 percent in no time.” The infrastructure for Tempo.co would crash, bringing content down for hours. Furthermore, its website was regularly hit by cyberattacks and was once down for a whole day. These issues, combined with the rising cost of maintaining a growing on-premises infrastructure, propelled TIM to look for an alternative cloud provider.
According to TIM, Amazon Web Services (AWS) was the most well-established cloud service provider in Indonesia. Dharmawan says, “AWS was our natural choice because of its local presence, but also because it was supporting leading global businesses, which gave us a lot of confidence.” TIM engaged PT. Innovation Cloud Services (ICS), an Advanced Consulting Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN), to support its migration to the AWS Cloud. Working with ICS, the TIM IT team re-architected its web application serving news content to its web and mobile platforms, optimizing the application for AWS services. ICS also helped TIM design its AWS infrastructure using the AWS Well-Architected Framework, which helps cloud architects custom-build secure, high-performing, resilient, and efficient infrastructures for their applications. According to Tanto, technical development and architecture manager at ICS, “We created several test environments with Elastic Load Balancing and AWS Auto Scaling to ensure Tempo.co could cope with sudden spikes in traffic.”
Today, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances power the applications that publish Tempo.co content to its web and mobile platforms. TIM uses Amazon RDS for MySQL for storing news content that goes back to 2000. A separate MongoDB database running on an Amazon EC2 instance stores the latest news for the day. To enable fast delivery of content across the network, TIM uses Amazon CloudFront, which also delivers protection at the network and application level, and Amazon GuardDuty, which continuously monitors for malicious activities and analyzes log data for potential threats.
With AWS, TIM ensures that digital subscribers to Tempo.co and those accessing its free content stay informed even when the biggest news events strike. “If hits to Tempo.co jump 400 percent seconds after a big news story breaks, our AWS infrastructure behind our web and mobile platforms scales up to handle spikes,” says Dharmawan. In addition, a more secure cloud infrastructure on AWS has prevented cyberattacks from disrupting business.
The stability of Tempo.co’s platforms is clearly demonstrated by a 99.999 percent uptime; previously it didn’t get higher than 90 percent. Greater availability has coincided with a leap in the number of premium-content subscribers. In the first 12 months after moving to AWS, its number of subscribers rose by 30 percent—more than in earlier years—and the number of app downloads reached 100,000.
Tempo.co has also reduced IT costs by 50 percent since migrating to AWS. In turn, this has freed up resources for TIM to focus on its digital operations and develop new lifestyle and automotive content sections for Tempo.co “Developing these sections has also been completed in record time thanks to the ease of development on the AWS Cloud,” says Dharmawan. “Rather than taking more than a year for an IT project of this scale at TIM, this project was finished in just 10 months.”