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ITAG Industry Awards 2009

 

 

 

ITAG Industry Awards 2009

Uilig Technologies have won Project of the Year at the Information Technology Association Galway (ITAG) 2009 Industry awards. The prize was in the companies with less than 60 employees category. The annual ITAG awards were announced at a Gala dinner on Friday 20 November in the Meyrick hotel in Galway. The award was in recognition of our work implementing server virtualisation at the Connacht Tribune offices.

The Uilig Technologies team with their award

Front row L-R – Sinead Curran, Mali Coyne, Teresa Ray
Back row L-R – Paul Curran, Eamon Walsh, Dave Ray, Peter Coyne

Project Summary

The Connacht Tribune is the longest-established newspaper in Galway. The desktop publishing system at the newspaper was slow and prone to down-time. This was extremely frustrating for the editorial management and a constant source of pain for the IT support staff. The solution chosen was server virtualisation allowing multiple virtual servers run on a single physical server. This solution provides a high performance and high availability computing environment. The company has gone from a situation where performance of IT systems was poor and down-time was expected, to a situation now where the system runs smoothly all the time and productivity and efficiency has increased dramatically.


Project background

Uilig Technologies Ltd. is an Irish company based in Galway city which offers a range of information technology services to small and medium sized (SME) customers in the West of Ireland. Established in 2003, the name comes from the Gaelic word ‘uilig’ meaning ‘all’ or ‘everything’. Uilig Technologies work closely with the customer to provide a tailor made, flexible and scalable IT solution.

The Connacht Tribune is the longest-established newspaper circulating throughout Galway county and city. First hitting the news stands on 22nd May 1909, the newspaper has charted the commercial, cultural and social life of the region and its people for over a century.
The Tribune was a founder shareholder in Galway Bay FM in 1989 and gradually grew its interest in the radio station as the fledgling station incurred heavy losses and demanded extra cash in its early years. In 2006 the remaining shares were purchased making Galway Bay FM a full part of the Tribune group.
In May 2007 www.galwaynews.ie was launched to provide daily news updates on Galway to a wider audience. Combining the strengths of the radio and newspaper editorial teams it provides daily breaking news from Galway Bay FM and more in depth news and photos from the Tribune’s three newspapers.
Quark Publishing System (QPS) lets design and editorial teams use a single workflow system to improve collaboration, streamline newspaper workflow, and achieve cost savings. It provides tools for teams of writers, designers, and editors to collaborate, integrate their tasks and produce content for publication across mixed media.
QPS integrates and connects easily to business systems and complementary publishing solutions. It lets workgroup managers set up automated workflows to route files to the next person or step in the workflow, eliminating errors and expediting the overall production process.
QPS relieves pressure and increases productivity, maximizing existing resources, and delivers flexibility to a dispersed newspaper workforce using today’s standard publishing tools. Newspapers are faced with the dual challenges of declining advertising revenues and unrelenting deadlines, where you cannot afford inefficient, unreliable, or costly processes.

The Problem

The QPS system was slow and prone to down-time. This was extremely frustrating for the editorial management and a constant source of pain for the IT support staff
The Connacht Tribune needed an infrastructure solution that met three main criteria

  • High performance – the system needed to run faster
  • High Availability – the system had to be available all the time
  • Redundancy – the system had to have “real-time” failover in case of hardware failure

The solution

The solution chosen was a server virtualisation solution from a company called VMWare. Today’s powerful computer hardware was designed to run a single operating system and a single application. This leaves most machines vastly under-utilized. Virtualisation lets you run multiple virtual machines on a single physical machine, sharing the resources of that single computer across multiple environments. VMware is the market leader in virtualisation.
The QPS system runs on two servers, a front-end server which serves client connections and a backend server running a database. The system was virtualised onto a single server.
QPS had not used virtualisation technologies before so this was a World first for them. The results were excellent if not a little surprising. The QPS system actually ran much faster in a virtualised environment! Not only was the system meeting its high availability and redundancy requirements but it was working much quicker!

The virtual environment provides superior disaster recovery capabilities. There are two main recovery scenarios

  1. Real-time recovery – This is useful if one of the virtual machines has a software problem e.g. if a Windows Server blue-screens.
  2. Replication – The virtual machines are replicated in real-time to an identical backup server. This is used if the primary physical server develops a hardware problem.

Conclusion

The Connacht Tribune has undergone a transformation of its IT environment. It has gone from a situation where performance of IT systems was poor and down-time was expected, to a situation now where the system runs smoothly all the time and productivity and efficiency has increased dramatically. This now ensures that the paper goes out on-time every time and has freed up IT and other resources to perform other much needed additional tasks. The project has been such a success that more virtualisation projects are planned. Uilig Technologies project implementation was well planned and they dealt with issues smoothly and quickly. They really go that extra mile and their post-installation support is second-to-none. Now, virtually anything is possible!

 
Copyright (c) 2009 Uilig Technologies Ltd. All rights reserved.