Informa is a Swiss-based company that specializes in the publishing, conference/exhibition, and training sectors. The company provides high-quality business-to-business knowledge as well as highly-specialized skills and services, enabling customers to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Created in December 1998 by the merger of IBC Group plc and Lloyd's of London Press, Informa has three main divisions: The Academic Information division publishes books and journals that provide users with the knowledge needed to carry out their work. The Professional and Commercial Information division provides structured databases, subscription-based services, real-time news, research, and business-critical information to businesses. Informa is also the largest publicly-owned organiser of exhibitions, events and training in the world. With over 8,000 employees located in more than 43 countries, Informa is truly a global company.

Informa recently incorporated Amazon Web Services (AWS) into its infrastructure with the use of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) to provide server capacity for the development and test processes of the company's enterprise accounting system. This accounting system provides accounting services and financial reporting to all Informa business units. Because Informa is listed on the London Stock Exchange, it is considered to be a business-critical application. Other components of the Informa-Amazon solution include Python scripting, in conjunction with the Boto library and SAP Business Objects Web Intelligence for reporting. The enterprise accounting system is an off-the-shelf product that is owned by a Dutch ERP vendor.

The company's primary goal in moving to a cloud computing platform was to reduce IT costs while achieving faster responses in the provisioned services of the infrastructure. Because lengthy provision times of the development and test servers caused bottlenecks that adversely impacted the development and rollout of new projects, it was vitally important to maximize response times.

Migration to Amazon EC2 exceeded Informa's initial expectations. The efficiency and computing power of Amazon EC2 enabled the company to significantly reduce the time required to prepare a development and test environment—from at least two months down to just three days. This reduction was an enormous achievement for both the development team and the company. Sheik Bandhoe, project manager, explains: "With AWS, we are able to dramatically reduce our time to market while obtaining good performance results in our development and test environments."

Pleased with the promising results of Amazon EC2, Informa plans to build on their success with Amazon EC2 by incorporating AWS into additional projects.

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