Founded in 1855, The Telegraph is a multimedia news brand that operates a print newspaper, website, and different mobile apps for more than 25 million readers each month. To succeed in a sector wracked by massive change and consolidation, the company has continuously reinvented itself, revamping its digital operations and learning some important lessons along the way.
As Head of Technology for Platforms and Engineering, Lucian Craciun oversees the teams that build, manage, and run the APIs that power The Telegraph’s digital properties. Though The Telegraph leverages microservices for its newer applications, the teams must also support legacy systems and applications. With such a complex environment to support, visibility into performance issues was very challenging, especially since separating between signal and noise in the existing monitoring and alerting tools was time consuming.
Too Many Alerts Delivered Bad News for Teams
The Telegraph’s website receives approximately 100 million hits a day, in addition to readers browsing its mobile apps for content. To ensure maximum uptime, The Telegraph monitors its services for performance issues and alerts if certain thresholds are breached. However, this process was not seamless. “Our monitoring system would fire the same alert every 5 minutes until it was resolved,” Craciun explained. “We had to do extra work to filter it out or aggregate the alert into one incident, which resulted in more time required to resolve the incident.”
Editing Out the Noise
With over 300 integrations and an easy-to-use API, setting up PagerDuty in The Telegraph’s environment was fairly simple and straightforward. The Telegraph then quickly integrated PagerDuty with monitoring and collaboration tools such as Datadog, Jenkins, Slack, and JIRA, which enabled Craciun’s teams to address some of their more challenging issues. “PagerDuty is simple to set up. We just decided which services to add and then mapped them to PagerDuty’s platform. Things are working out well without having to do much customization,” said Craciun.
Better Time Management
Because the scheduling functionality was so easy to use, The Telegraph quickly began adding more teams to PagerDuty, subsequently rolling it out to IT, software engineering, and system engineering. The previous tool used by The Telegraph did not provide enough flexibility for Craciun’s teams to make on-call scheduling modifications on-the-fly, which was a key pain point that PagerDuty easily solved.
With PagerDuty, on-call responders are now empowered to manage their own schedules, with full visibility into the specific teams and people on call at any given moment. “PagerDuty has made our lives easier and improved our quality of work by giving us a simple way to create and change scheduling rotations,” Craciun shared.
Getting the Full Story with Operations Command Console
In the past, Craciun’s team had to spend more time in identifying real incidents from false positives.
By providing a window into the operational health of The Telegraph’s services in real time, PagerDuty’s Operations Command Console (OCC) enables Craciun’s teams to be more proactive in resolving issues before they impact customers.
Because The Telegraph utilizes many microservices that are inter-dependent, one status failure could impact several other services in short order, which can make troubleshooting very challenging. But with OCC, Craciun’s teams can see the services that are degrading with one quick glance and immediately take action. “The visibility provided by PagerDuty significantly decreases the time required to acknowledge and recover from incidents,” said Craciun.
Notably, one of the benefits of increased visibility is a decrease in calls to The Telegraph’s service desk, demonstrating the success of the implementation.
The Inside Scoop on What’s Next
Since the PagerDuty deployment has been so successful, The Telegraph plans to add more users and functionality as time goes on. In particular, the company intends to delve into PagerDuty’s Stakeholder Notification feature, as well as Analytics to better understand alert, response, and resolution times.
With its digital operations on track, The Telegraph is able to respond and resolve incidents faster and more efficiently. “During the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, we had 2.5 times more traffic than we usually get. And everything worked great,” Craciun shared.
To learn more about how PagerDuty is helping media companies with digital operations management in the U.K., U.S., and abroad, visit www.pagerduty.com for more information.
“During the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, we had 2.5 times more traffic than we usually get. And everything worked great.”