Meredith Corporation delivers print magazines to over 21 million subscribers every week. The company operates two critical systems that support fulfillment to retailers and newsstands, as well as managing sophisticated postage, labeling, and bundling operations to ensure regular on-time delivery of the company’s magazines to subscribers.
Meredith’s two major systems were running in separate environments. Before the mainframe modernization project, the larger system was operating on a legacy IBM zCloud mainframe, with 425 applications consisting of over 400,000 lines of code and over 1800 JCL batch jobs. The second system, running in a separate Linux environment, was built using a very different set of technologies, making it difficult to integrate the two systems effectively. The data replication process was slow, with multiple points of potential failure.
Meredith sought help from Astadia because of its proven track record with mainframe modernization projects, and its deep roster of subject-matter experts. They chose to move both systems to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and to standardize on a common database to eliminate their data replication requirements altogether.
IT leaders at Meredith sought to solve some daunting long-term problems:
IT leaders at Meredith expressed concerns about potential performance problems following a modernization project. Those concerns later proved to be unwarranted, as performance on the new system was more than twice that of the legacy mainframe.
Despite those concerns, company leaders made the decision to move forward with their mainframe modernization project, largely due to soaring mainframe operating costs.
Astadia recommended a re-platforming approach in which both systems would be moved to AWS. In addition, the systems were standardized around a common technology stack, most notably including a shared Aurora PostGres relational database instance. PostGres replaced the separate IBM DB2 and Sybase databases, eliminating the company’s recurring challenges with database replication between the two systems.
The Linux-based system, formerly running on-premise, was moved to a dedicated AWS cloud instance. The mainframe system was also re-platformed to AWS, with Micro Focus COBOL enabling the company to continue running its existing legacy code in the new environment.
The project team held to an aggressive timeline, due in large part to the pending end-date on the company’s mainframe contract. To avoid another full-year contract which could cost the company over $1 million, they set an ambitious goal to have the new system up and running in just over nine months. Working together, Astadia and their client completed the job on time and within budget.
Initially, Meredith undertook this project as a matter of necessity. Skyrocketing operating costs were becoming prohibitively expensive. As the project unfolded, however, they soon realized they had much more to gain from their modernization effort.
This media giant initially launched this project to reduce the cost of operating their critical IT systems. After completing the project successfully, however, they have realized substantial additional benefits.
In partnership with Astadia, AWS, and Micro Focus, Meredith has built a simpler environment that is easier to maintain and can evolve as the company’s needs change.