Forbes revolutionizes their data estate with Tessell

Forbes aligns their IT technology strategy with their business and moves their mission-critical database from GCP to Tessell on AWS, dropping 25% to their bottom line while improving query times by 42%-50%

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Forbes revolutionizes their data estate with Tessell


decrease in query times

> 25%

in cost savings

< 7 minutes

on-demand provisioning

Checkout the Customer Story from Tessell – Forbes revolutionizes their data estate with Tessell tessell

Maintaining thought and business leadership in the publishing industry for over 106 years, Forbes’ mission is to provide its customers the knowledge, resources, inspiration, and connections they need to achieve success. Tessell enables Forbes’ mission, reducing database costs >25%, improving customer database-backed page load times 42%-50%, and by providing internal on-demand development environments in less than 7 minutes. The Tessell technology partnership positions Forbes, and by extension its readers, for the next century of growth and innovation.

Sameer Patwardhan
SVP, Technology, Forbes

The Company

Forbes is a global Media and Information company, engaging a global audience of 140 million through a multi-channel media ecosystem. Forbes is in the top 100 domains in the world and lands within the top 50 US domains. Forbes’ newsroom is substantial, with around 2.5K Journalists and Contributors sharing content in more than 46 editions globally.  Consequently, Forbes’ excellence has been recognized with more than 250 awards. Forbes creates thousands of high-quality content pieces every month in a variety of media formats, but it also hosts a variety of live, hybrid, and virtual events, we also have a growing e-commerce business and a high-value membership offering. Forbes organizes its businesses across three corporate verticals, Media, Consumer and Brand.            

Forbes has operated for more than 106 years but its mission really hasn’t changed much during that time – providing people with the knowledge, resources, inspiration, and connections they need to achieve success.          

The Challenge

As part of a zero-dollar-cost budgeting initiative, Forbes identified an opportunity to rebalance the costs of their SQL database estate.  From a performance/price perspective, Forbes wanted to maintain its performance benchmarks while simultaneously taking out costs. Forbes’ current state architecture predominantly featured self-managed databases running on cloud infrastructure (IaaS).  Since fleet database management on IaaS was labor intensive and challenging to scale, Forbes took additional steps to consider the automation of a database-as-a-service. However, at the same time, Forbes needed operating system and version flexibility.  This requirement was driven by Forbes’ need to control the version certification matrix across their technology stack, as they have enjoyed running on customized virtualized infrastructure. As a consequence, Tessell's architecture compelled Forbes to evaluate their DBaaS as a comprehensive solution.

The Solution

Forbes’ future state architecture is multi-cloud, leveraging both Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Tessell performed a comprehensive workload analysis to understand the current database infrastructure performance and utilization.  This workload data projected future capacity requirements based on growth-trend data.  As part of this analysis, oversized/underutilized instances were identified and right-sized in the future state architecture.  As a consequence of this process, Forbes was able to drop cost savings straight to the bottom line based on utilization optimization.  

Tessell performed a proof-of-concept (POC) to validate the future state architecture. For multi-cloud connectivity, a reliable encrypted networking between GCP and AWS clearly became a hard requirement.  The future state architecture achieved this objective by implementing a Cloud NAT/Serverless VPC for Cloud Run and firewall rules to ensure the security of both sides.

With the networking infrastructure in place data backups were used for the initial bulk data load.  Block-level data replication was then used to true-up the secondary instance’s initial data load with the transactional state of the primary. Once the data replication sync was complete, Tessell ran data integrity checks on the secondary replication target to ensure consistency prior to promoting the secondary system to primary/production with a final cutover.

The Results

On average, Tessell executed queries in 11.9ms that previously took 24.0ms to complete in the legacy environment. Overall, Forbes observed an impressive 42%-50% decrease in typical query times.  These technical results enabled Forbes to either drop cost savings to the bottom line with database consolidation or increase utilization without a corresponding increase in cost.  In alignment with their original objectives, Forbes took the cost savings as an ongoing dividend to their bottom line.

Pleasantly, Forbes was surprised to experience additional benefits not anticipated going into the POC.  With Tessell, Forbes is now able to improve compliance by segregating production and development backup storage.  The logical separation of prod and dev backups unlocked self-service backup use cases for developers.  These logical and RBAC segregation use cases are foundational building blocks of ISO 27001 and PCI compliance.

From a business perspective with Tessell, Forbes realized a cost savings of greater than >25% as compared to their legacy environment. Furthermore, the POC validated the cost savings projections, by not generating surprise charges and/or overages due to workload variability. Overall Tessell Exceeded Forbes expectations.