75 news sites upgraded without heavy migration

Amedia avoided a risky migration when 12 million content items were upgraded to Escenic 5.7 rapidly using a new proxy architecture from Escenic.

Usually, upgrading 75 websites with in total 12 million content items would involve a very large migration project. But not when Norwegian news corporation Amedia decided to upgrade all newsrooms and websites to Escenic 5.7. A new proxy architecture from Escenic, co-authored with Amedia, made it possible for the 12 million articles and pictures to stay in their current databases and still be handled from Escenic Content Studio.

“We’ve pretty much changed the jet engines of an airplane in mid-flight, without any other consequences than some periods of turbulence. It’s fascinating that we’re able to do this," Pål Nedregotten, VP Development at Amedia, says.

 

Traditional migration almost impossible

Without a proxy solution, Amedia would have to rely on a very complicated traditional migration of content because of the amount of their content. Some of the 75 Amedia websites were running on an old Escenic 4 content management system, others on a different CMS because Amedia bought several newspapers and websites from competing Edda Media in Norway. In 2014, Amedia decided to upgrade and unify the content management system to Escenic 5.7.

Escenic and Amedia have joined forces to develop the proxy architecture - a new way of making different databases, content management systems and other systems work together seamlessly without doing risky and strenuous migrations.

Escenic more than met our requirements.

Pål Nedregotten,

VP Development, Amedia

Tricking Content Studio

Escenic’s Chief Architect Erik Mogensen and Senior Consultant Debashis Paul have designed an architecture that enables Escenic Content Studio and Escenic Content Engine to accept content from all kinds of content management systems and all kinds of databases.

“Using a proxy, we have tricked Escenic Content Studio into believing that it is always looking at an Escenic Content Engine 5 system. That means you can work on any kind of content originating from any CMS,” Erik Mogensen says.

In consequence, the more than 12 million content items inside Amedia’s 75 news sites will stay in the current databases. Only when a journalist or an editor pulls out the old content to work on it, it will be moved to Escenic 5.7.

 

Amedia migration facts
  • Number of articles published a day: 1,850
  • Number of articles in the database: 5.7+ million
  • Number of images in the database: 6.6+ million
  • Number of journalists and editors: 1,080
  • Number of journalists and editors trained to use Escenic Content Studio 5: 1,080.
 

20 sites upgraded in one week

For Amedia, that meant a truly smooth upgrade process. The actual roll-out of the upgraded version to the many newsrooms took less than three months - at times upgrading up to 20 sites a week.

“Upgrading can be a really heavy process. It is unavoidable that it will be bumpy because it is a big manoeuvre, but this time I’ve seen that it’s been calm in the middle of the storm,” Pål Nedregotten says.

The proxy was part of choosing the CMS vendor

When Amedia was looking for a new CMS vendor to handle the upgrade project, the proxy solution was key.

“We looked at every system we could find. We went through features, user interface, workflow and the technical aspects. Escenic more than met our requirements,” Nedregotten says and continues: “We talked to several vendors about the proxy thinking. With Escenic, we saw the ability and the willingness to execute and it was very important for our collaboration.”

As part of Amedia’s due diligence of editorial content management systems, the company had five demands to a vendor – one of them being the CMS vendor’s thinking of APIs and how systems can scale with a growing amount of content.

Nedregotten shares his list of demands here.

  • System must be scalable across 100 sites.
  • Able to easily add new sites.
  • Able to integrate well with other systems.
  • Easy to run and maintain.
  • Have a solid technical vision of where it was heading and a firm commitment to execute it.

 

 

How to train 1,000 journalists

Before launch of Escenic 5.7, Amedia trained more than 1,000 journalists. It took a couple of months.

Amedia is made up of several regional news corporations spread widely across Norway, a country that is 2,500 kilometers long. So each newsroom sent at least one person to the Amedia headquarters in Oslo. Here, training took place twice a week. The superuser then went back and trained the remaining staff at the regional site.