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AWS Architecture and Networking Proof of Concept

A Story of Owning Change

About MediaNews Group

MediaNews Group (MNG) is a Denver-based newspaper publisher, with local news and information websites and mobile apps offering rich multimedia experiences for communities across the nation. A leader in local multiplatform news and information, MNG is distinguished by its award-winning, original content and high-quality, diversified portfolio of local media assets. Transforming the future of media, they pride themself on sharing engaging stories that inform, inspire and connect with readers across a diverse collection of trusted local media brands.

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We always got clear and concise answers, even to the tricky questions. They are super reliable and easy to work with.

Andre Rogers, Technical Director at MediaNews Group

The Challenge

Having some familiarity with AWS and considering a migration to it, MNG wanted to make the adoption of AWS easier by having foundational best practices in place that were easy to manage and build from. To establish a strong foundation, MNG turned to 1Strategy to get started on the right foot. In addition to creating a strong base on which to build, MNG needed to speed up several processes: VPN access, an account creation process, a permissions assignment process, single sign-on capabilities and more.

Why Amazon Web Services

Prior to this project, MNG was using AWS for a few workloads (content and data warehouse), though not extensively. With a referral from AWS, and after some research and an AWS Control Tower Immersion Day, MNG had confidence that 1Strategy was the right partner to provide consultation, guidance, training and support through this project.

“Our teams chose AWS years ago because we needed cloud technology to iterate quickly on projects, and AWS was the best-known cloud provider,” said Andre Rogers, technical director at MNG. “We chose 1Strategy to solidify our AWS foundations for two main reasons. The first was 1Strategy’s ability to communicate effectively with our experienced IT staff about the project; they functioned like an extension of our team, understanding our needs regarding networking, security and account management. The second reason was their willingness to accommodate our work style and schedules. The AWS foundations’ effort required engineers from different departments with different work processes and priorities. This was not a problem for 1Strategy.”

The Benefits

1Strategy worked with MNG to review their existing AWS Control Tower environment and discussed guardrails and restrictions for current and future accounts. 1Strategy also assisted with the implementation of AWS Single Sign-On, which uses MNG’s existing G-Suite directory for authentication. AWS Transit Gateway was configured to connect various AWS VPCs/networks to the existing corporate VPN. In addition, they established best practices for cost optimization, relying on budgets and allocating costs using tags and AWS Cost Explorer.

Seeking a predictable and repeatable process for moving other workloads to AWS, MNG now has steps outlined for bringing a project onto AWS quickly and without ambiguity, decreasing downtime and risk. In addition, this project addressed their needs for adopting infrastructure as code and managing data securely through private VPN access. They now have all the foundational pieces in place to get additional workloads up and running quickly. This allows MNG to start working on projects sooner.

“It’s no longer a science project. We can say with more certainty how a project will be implemented in AWS and what the impacts will be to the team and the product. We can even give a fairly accurate prediction of how long the implementation will take,” Andre said. “Managers love predictability in planning. These foundational pieces give them that. In fact, we now have two teams building new versions of their respective products on our new AWS setup. This was possible because we were able to take what we learned from the first team’s project, demo and explain it to the second team, and get the second team on board.”

Andre then added, “With this project we got what we asked for. The whole thing went really well. We’ve worked with vendors before who turned out to be more of an obstacle than a help because they didn’t have the skills we needed. That wasn’t the case with 1Strategy. They clearly documented everything of importance, including architectural diagrams. We were given well-informed pros and cons when deciding between multiple solutions. We always got clear and concise answers, even to the tricky questions. They are super reliable and easy to work with.”

The work described in this engagement was originally completed by 1Strategy, a TEKsystems Global Services company acquired in 2019. As of June 2023, 1Strategy has fully integrated with TEKsystems Global Services to continue to deliver AWS expertise to customers. Learn more about our AWS solutions.

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