In this case study, you can read about how cloud computing has provided the Associated Press (AP) with new opportunities to open its revenue streams and find new customers for its content.
Associated Press, scaling up with cloud computing
The Associated Press (AP) provides up-to-the-minute news and information for newspapers, radio, television, and the Internet, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
It is the world’s largest and oldest news organization, with 243 bureaus in 97 countries and a worldwide staff of 4,100. AP serves 1,700 newspapers and 5,000 broadcast outlets in the United States, along with 550 international broadcasters. AP operates as a not-for-profit cooperative owned by its U.S. daily newspaper members, and it maintains a digital photo archive of more than 10 million images.
To open potential revenue streams and find new customers for AP content, the organization began work on a programming interface that developers worldwide can use to incorporate AP news content into their applications.
To deliver its content AP originally considered an on-premises solution, but the IT staff was concerned about the up-front investment in hardware and software necessary to host the solution and the potential impact to existing services and systems. So, the organization began looking at alternative platforms for the project.
After considering several “cloud computing” platforms—where applications and data storage are hosted off-premises—AP chose to base its offering on the Windows Azure platform. One key requirement was the ability to easily and securely make large amounts of internal content available externally, so the team turned to the Service Bus in Windows Azure. The Service Bus helps provide secure connectivity between services and applications to navigate firewalls and network boundaries. “The Service Bus made it easy for us to set something up and expose it outside the firewall. Without the Service Bus, it simply wouldn’t have been an option,” explains Pramod Anchuparayil, Architect, Associated Press.
“With the Windows Azure platform, we can scale up easily without worrying about the capacity planning we would have had to do with other providers. The infrastructure lets us scale relevant parts of the solution quickly without worrying about the rest of the operating system. It also aligns well with our internal standardization on Microsoft technology.” Jonathan Malek, Chief Architect and Director of Research, Associated Press.
AP developers’ existing skills adapted quickly to the Windows Azure platform. “That’s one of the areas where the Windows Azure platform shines,” says Malek. “The quality of tools, the ease of deployment, and the simplicity of management are very compelling.”
With a flexible, cloud-based platform for its API offering, Associated Press was able to simplify project planning, speed up development, and create new opportunities for business and product innovation.
“In a lot of ways, we’ve already been successful. The Breaking News API project has allowed us to explore new possibilities we hadn’t thought of. It has also fostered ideas internally for our own development organization, and it has provided new business opportunities. The platform is a big part of that—I don’t believe we would be in production today without the support of Windows Azure platform.” says Alan Wintroub, Director of Development, Enterprise Application Services, Associated Press.
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