Published on 11-Nov-2008
Validated on 09 Jun 2010
"We need to make sure that we’re able to adequately protect our digital assets and that we’re prepared for the next hundred years." - Chris Fredrickson, information technology director, Stephens Media Group
Las Vegas Review Journal
Media & Entertainment
Business-to-Business, Energy Efficiency, Optimizing IT
Founded in 1905, the Las Vegas Review-Journal (www.reviewjournal.com) has yet to miss a single day of publication. Over the past century, it has witnessed the city’s transformation from a small frontier town to a world-famous destination spot for gaming and entertainment. Today, the Review-Journal is Nevada’s largest daily newspaper, with a circulation of more than 160,000 on weekdays and a Sunday circulation of more than 224,000.
Help ensure continuous operations for Nevada’s largest daily newspaper
A redundant, state-of-the-art data center with resilient power and cooling infrastructures
– Provided additional scalability and availability – Enhanced opportunities for business growth – Encouraged a wider embrace of technology enterprisewide
Founded in 1905, the Las Vegas Review-Journal (www.reviewjournal.com) has yet to miss a single day of publication. Over the past century, it has witnessed the city’s transformation from a small frontier town to a world-famous destination spot for gaming and entertainment. Today, the Review-Journal is Nevada’s largest daily newspaper, with a circulation of more than 160,000 on weekdays and a Sunday circulation of more than 224,000. The newspaper has also developed a highly successful Web site, which attracts more than 12 million page views each month.
In 1993, the Review-Journal was purchased by Stephens Media Group, a diversified media publisher with more than 30 newspapers in eight states. As the home of the company’s flagship publication, the Review-Journal offices became Stephens Media Group’s corporate headquarters in 2000, taking on production responsibilities for 13 additional publications. The Review- Journal had already expanded its IT infrastructure over the last decade to support its move to a completely electronic publishing environment. With the sudden addition of the Stephens Media Group’s IT equipment, the Review-Journal found its small data center facility strained to capacity.
The facility’s space limitations were compounded by serious operational issues. The data center relied on an aging power infrastructure that posed a critical risk—a power failure could prevent the paper from publishing a daily edition for the first time in 100 years. The data center also lacked an adequate cooling system, requiring staff to manually monitor and correct temperature changes.
In addition to its critical operational requirements, the Review-Journal needed reliable IT support from its data center to stay competitive in the increasingly digital news industry. With the emergence and success of alternative forms of media, the Review- Journal needed to transform itself from a traditional newspaper into a content organization offering its clients a choice of news delivery models including an electronic version of the paper and a robust online environment with configurable subscription capabilities.
Finding a reliable partner
The Review-Journal turned to IBM for help in developing a set of requirements for a new data center, emphasizing the importance of resilient power, a sufficient cooling system and the elimination of single points of failure. The Review-Journal also wanted the new design to include a network operations center (NOC), print operations center and a security-rich storage room. Steven Olson, infrastructure manager for the Review- Journal, comments, “IBM came in and we brainstormed. We told them what we needed and IBM created drawings for us to demonstrate that they understood what we were looking for. It was an easy, informal process.
After gathering the necessary information, IBM created a formal statement of requirements, including a design for the new data center based on the Review- Journal’s specifications, and presented recommendations for the location of a new facility. Olson notes, “IBM completed the statement of requirements within a month. Everything moved very smoothly and quickly, with little stress on my part.
The Review-Journal used the statement of requirements to create a request for proposal (RFP) for the design and build phases of the project. Based on IBM’s response to the RFP, which included a superior design and build plan and highly competitive pricing, the newspaper engaged IBM for the implementation process.
A quantum leap
IBM’s build plans included replacing the newspaper’s single component power structure with a new electrical infrastructure, including dual uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), automatic transfer switches (ATS) and electrical panels housed in separate UPS rooms. The infrastructure supplies power to dual power distribution units (PDU), ensuring that each server cabinet in the data center receives power from two separate sources. The entire system is backed up by a standby emergency generator.
To offset rising temperatures in the summer months, IBM replaced the Review-Journal’s outdated air-conditioning equipment with a robust cooling system. In addition to redundant components and high-ambient condenser units, the new system offers high-end controls, enabling staff to reduce energy consumption in the cooler months.
The new systems provide highly reliable power and cooling sources, and they help enable IT personnel to perform maintenance activities during regular business hours without scheduling outages.
IBM constructed a new NOC for the data center with a robust monitoring system to help simplify and streamline the Review-Journal’s administrative IT tasks. With a quick glance at large, flatpanel screens mounted in the NOC, IT staff can view and monitor all critical data center systems. Instead of making rough approximations, the Review- Journal can now proactively manage the amount of power used by each IT component down to the circuit level.
The new monitoring system tracks performance elements—including room temperature and humidity—sending alerts to IT personnel if any issues arise. Additionally, it produces critical metrics and reports, enabling the newspaper’s IT staff to easily view trends in performance and maintenance. Potential problems can be detected early, helping the Review- Journal to address them proactively.
IBM incorporated an enterprise cabling system into the data center design, using the latest copper and fiber technology. Redundancy is a critical component of the system; each server is configured to connect to two separate cabling systems, which, in turn, connect to separate network core switches.
Protective and safety features for the new facility include a multi-zone very early smoke detection apparatus (VESDA), an FM200 gaseous fire suppression system, a pre-action sprinkler system, and a security system composed of biometric readers and video surveillance.
To help ensure continuous operations, IBM identified and eliminated single points of failure in the newspaper’s infrastructure. Olson comments, “We now really have an infrastructure that can take care of itself and will alert us if there are problems. The data center can support a virtual never-fail environment, and we never have to worry about the electromechanical cooling. This data center is truly a quantum leap from what we had before.
In constructing the new facility, the Review-Journal thought that it was important to create an addition that would blend in with the rest of its 35-year-old structure. IBM worked carefully to create a complementary color palette for the room and helped salvage surplus materials from the original building for the new data center. IT Services Principal Dave McCoy of IBM Global Technology Services comments, “It’s certainly not the traditional white walls. They wanted a showplace and we did, too."
“This data center is truly a quantum leap from what we had before.” Steven Olson, infrastructure manager, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Pursuing larger business initiatives
By fully addressing the Review-Journal’s critical requirements for a robust, resilient operating environment, the new data center offers an invaluable benefit— peace of mind. The newspaper and its larger company, Stephens Media Group, can move forward with the assurance that business continuity is no longer at great risk. Chris Fredrickson, IT director for Stephens Media Group, notes, “The data center’s going to allow our business to grow. Before, we were limited in the initiatives we could pursue.
The company’s IT organization is noticing a wider embrace of technology across the enterprise as a result of the data center project. The monitoring capabilities that play such a crucial operational role in the data center are also helpful in demonstrating the value of IT to the company’s executives. Fredrickson comments, “I can report on system uptime and database availability as well as a whole other level of metrics that will show management they spent their money wisely.
Extending more IT tools to the company’s employees and external customers is an essential business initiative going forward. The Review- Journal is currently implementing Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices at its Las Vegas site to help simplify data center operations and decrease the amount of time spent on IT management. The company’s smaller locations elsewhere will receive wide area network (WAN) upgrades and enhancements to their voicemail and call center systems, including features to integrate voicemail with e-mail and handheld devices. The company also plans to continue developing advanced online account features for its subscribers and is planning to launch a new classified advertising system that will enable customers to submit customized ads via the Internet.
Additionally, the organization has initiated a data warehousing project to gather and sort detailed demographic information about the newspaper’s subscribers and potential customers. Stephens Media Group will be able to leverage the data for targeted marketing campaigns as well as to demonstrate the range and effectiveness of its marketing to attract advertisers.
The data center may also open up an entirely new business channel for Stephens Media Group, helping to transform IT from an “expense” department to a profit center. With plenty of additional capacity available in the new facility, the company is exploring the idea of offering hosting services to small businesses in the Las Vegas area. The company also has plans to build a second data center locally, providing the newspaper with a fully redundant disaster recovery site in town.
For more information
To learn more about IBM’s data center solutions, contact your IBM representative or visit: ibm.com/services/datacenter
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
GTS ITS Site & Facilities: IT Facilities Assess/Design/Constr, GTS Data Center Services
Footnotes and legal information
Other company, product and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. References in this publication to IBM products or services do not imply that IBM intends to
make them available in all countries in which IBM operates.
This document is based on information provided by Las Vegas Review-Journal and illustrates how one organization uses IBM products. Many factors have contributed to the results and benefits described; IBM does not guarantee comparable results elsewhere.
© Copyright IBM Corporation 2006 IBM Global Services Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 U.S.A. Produced in the United States of America 07-06 All Rights Reserved IBM and the IBM logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both.