Gannett | USA TODAY Network is the country's largest local-to-national digital media organization, including Gannett | USA TODAY Network, its flagship brand, and more than 200 local news outlets in 43 states.
Industry: Streaming Media, Digital Publishing
Location: North America
Customer since: 2017
Next Gen WAF
Edge Rate Limiting
Gannett |USA TODAY Networks' Bilal Fazal, Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) Team Manager, and Kris Vincent, Principle Engineer on the SRE Team, talked with us about how the relationship between Gannett | USA TODAY Network and Fastly helped the company stay competitive while also taking advantage of cutting-edge technology.
What made Fastly the best choice for Gannett | USA TODAY Network?
Vincent said there are three primary ways that Fastly's platform and people support Gannett | USA TODAY Network’s growth and success:
The capacity to scale globally
Effortless integration of next-gen innovations
A developer-first mindset
The name might be Gannett | USA TODAY Network, but the news is worldwide. The company's business happens across the globe, requiring a network that can deliver just as quickly and smoothly in Europe or Asia as it does in the US. "Fastly allows us to expand and scale out. Wherever we do business, Fastly has the infrastructure in those locations to serve traffic reliably," Vincent said.
Fastly also helps Gannett | USA TODAY Network move fast to take advantage of cutting-edge technology. That includes the Fastly Edge Rate Limiting web interface and the Fastly Next-Gen WAF to enhance and fine-tune security for its origin servers. "We've been able to roll those into our suite of products and platforms right at the edge. It’s been so easy for us to bake that right into the products we're building, right on Fastly," said Vincent.
Vincent also shared that one of the main reasons Gannett | USA TODAY Network approached Fastly was our reputation as a developer-first organization. For the SRE team, that means supporting developers in getting new products and enhancements into production safely and swiftly. For the Fastly team, it means being readily available with support. According to Vincent, "Fastly consistently offered a helping hand for the technical side of implementation. We had a representative in our corner, which is a nice feeling."
How has Fastly helped Gannett | USA TODAY Network scale while improving performance?
One of the biggest challenges in news delivery is the high traffic levels, especially when there's breaking news. Gannett | USA TODAY Network needs a scalable, elastic infrastructure to handle that without disruptions for the end users who count on it. Here's how Fastly has helped them achieve it.
- A network delivering more news faster, without costing more
Fastly handles all requests at the CDN layer, taking a load off Gannett | USA TODAY Network's infrastructure. By leveraging Fastly's strategic POP distribution, the SRE team can route traffic optimally to multiple locations. The company uses fewer resources relying on Fastly infrastructure instead of building out its own services. In addition to spending less, Fastly's distributed network has reduced response times significantly.
- API management driving response time improvements of 25-30%
Switching to Fastly for API management has dramatically changed how Gannett | USA TODAY Network can respond to large traffic spikes. Today, the organization has built more than 90 products across the Fastly API Management platform, enabling teams to use a long list of features and product suites and manage their applications however they like. The platform services around 4 billion requests per month.
Vincent said, "Fastly API Management has been super scalable for election events and any other event that spiked infrastructure traffic. Our time-to-market has really increased, specifically around our API Management layer and being able to secure and deploy applications with ease." Since implementing Fastly API Management, Gannett | USA TODAY Network has improved response times by 25-30%. "25-30% was a vast improvement for our infrastructure." Vincent added.
Gannett | USA TODAY Network has built a multi-tenant platform supporting more than 15 teams. Scaling to that level has been helped by the simplicity of Fastly architecture, so teams don't need to learn a whole new system to get the job done. Vincent said, "They know what the Fastly infrastructure and product line will deliver for them, and that's enough."
- Developers bringing new products seamlessly to users
Fazal told us, "Since leveraging Fastly, we've become a very edge-first organization. Our developers can work on a product, and the SRE team can quickly take that product to the live production environment and end users." For example, the team has SEO-based optimizations that use URL redirects and rewrites on Fastly, as well as caching and other configurations that optimize the front end.
Developers have the option to host their products in on-prem infrastructure, Fastly's Compute, or Google buckets. Even with all these different platforms, SREs can integrate them smoothly, route them back to Fastly's platform, and deliver content to end users fast.
What's it like to work with Fastly?
Fazal described working with Fastly as a two-way relationship. The SRE team can go to Fastly with technical support issues or complex product ideas they might implement in the future. At the same time, they can share feedback on current and in-development Fastly products as well as some of the cool things they've been building on Fastly's infrastructure.
"Fastly has been a great partner," Fazal said. "We work very closely with them. That helps us act more quickly. For example, the comfort we have working with Fastly focus and the technical expertise they provide really encouraged us as we implemented our API management solution."
Vincent agreed, saying, "Having Fastly in our corner in such a rapidly-changing industry makes us feel like we can move forward and solve problems. Whether we want to serve content faster, or we need to serve to a new location or create a new product, we know we can do that rapidly and efficiently with the Fastly products and platforms".
Where do you want to go next with Fastly?
Gannett / USA TODAY Network is considering sharding its Fastly API Management Platform (FAM) into multiple Fastly services. In other words, when a team sets up an application, FAM actually spins up a Fastly service for them and an API gateway model, so the application is completely isolated with its own set of suites and services.
"We're excited that Fastly gives us the ability to be super flexible with where we go next," Vincent said. Fazal echoed that sentiment: "Our relationship has been very valuable, and we're really excited to continue this journey with Fastly."
"Since leveraging Fastly, we've become a very edge-first organization. Our developers can work on a product, and the SRE team can quickly take that product to the live production environment and end users."
Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) Team Manager
"Fastly API Management has been super scalable for election events and any other event that spiked infrastructure traffic. Our time-to-market has really increased, specifically around our API Management layer and being able to secure and deploy applications with ease. Since implementing Fastly API Management, Gannett | USA TODAY Network has improved response times by 25-30%."