News International looks to Amazon cloud to save up to £10m

News International (NI) is aiming to run three quarters of its servers in Amazon's cloud in the next three years, as it cuts costs and consolidates its global data centres.


News International (NI) is aiming to run three quarters of its servers in Amazon's cloud in the next three years, as it seeks to cut costs and consolidate its global data centres.

Ian McDonald, head of infrastructure and cloud at NI, said that a consolidation strategy lead by Deloitte began yesterday, aimed at "collapsing down" the number of data centres currently used.

"This will mean two in the UK, two in the US, and two in Australia," McDonald said, adding that decision was predominantly cost driven.

The publishing arm of News Corporation currently has 17 main data centres worldwide, as well as numerous smaller machine rooms, but is seeking to consolidate down to six data centres in total.  TeleCity currently provides data centre services for NI in the UK, after moving from its own in-house facilities in Wapping and Peterborough.

Speaking at the Datacenter Dynamics Intelligence event today in London, McDonald said that the company is also looking to increase its use of cloud services. This includes plans to run three quarters of its servers in AWS in the next three years.

"We are aiming for far more cloud at the moment, because of the agility we are getting, being able to turn things off and on, the costs, etcetera," he said.

"We are talking about potentially 75 percent of our servers migrating to Amazon over the next three years. That is on 13,500 servers across News Corp publishing. It is a big, big change."

The cloud and data centre strategies are expected to lead to "huge" savings, McDonald said, reducing expenditure by up to $15 million (£9.8 million). 

McDonald said that the move is principally intended to cut costs within News International, the less profitable of two businesses split by News Corp last year as it divided its business and publishing arms.

He also highlighted the greater flexibility cloud service would provide, enabling quicker scaling of its server capacity.  For example, News International recently announced it had won the rights for hosting near-live clips of Premier League football matches on the web sites of publications such as The Sun and The Times. McDonald said that using Amazon's cloud services would allow the company to ensure that systems were in place well ahead of the next football season starting.

"We have to ramp up a whole load of servers for that video, it is not something we have done a lot of before," McDonald said. "If I had to go the board and say I need more space of my own, it would have taken three or four months to do it."

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