Condé Nast International (CNI), a division of Advance Publications, sets the benchmark for multimedia Publishing excellence. CNI currently operates in 26 markets, publishing 121 magazines, close to 84 websites and over 189 tablet and Smartphone apps, under such respected brands as Vogue, GQ, Glamour, Wired, Condé Nast Traveller, AD and Vanity Fair. Recent launches include Vanity Fair in France, Condé Nast Traveler in China, Vogue in Thailand, Ukraine and The Netherlands, GQ in Turkey, Glamour in Brazil, AD in India and Allure in Russia. CNI continues to expand beyond its traditional publishing domain, through activities which include: global events such as Vogue Fashion’s Night Out, GQ Men of the Year and Glamour Women of the Year; Wired events and consultancy services; The Vogue Wedding Show; CNI Restaurants and the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design which recently opened in London.

Condé Nast started operating in Russia in 1998 and now successfully publishes nine magazines (Vogue, Brides, GQ, GQ Style, Tatler, Glamour, AD, CN Traveller and Allure) with a total readership of over three million, seven websites (,,,,,, and digital applications that attract over five million unique users per month.

In just three months, Condé Nast was able to migrate over 500 servers, one petabyte of storage, various mission critical applications (such as HR, Legal, and Sales), and over 100 database servers into the AWS Cloud. As a result of going all-in into the AWS Cloud, the company reduced costs by 40% and increased operational performance by 30-40%.

Before migrating to Amazon Web Services (AWS), Condé Nast Russia outsourced its IT needs to a data center in Moscow. After experiencing numerous problems with equipment failures and the costs of upgrading hardware, the publisher needed to find a different platform that could scale with demand and increase the amount and type of work done for its digital publications.

Reliability of its cloud services partner is crucial for Condé Nast Russia. Because its readership holds the company to a high standard, Condé Nast Russia must deliver on that expectation by ensuring that the technology that powers its systems is reliable, modern, and cost-effective. It seemed like the data center Condé Nast used experienced a new problem every minute, which amounted to the Web sites hosting the digital publications being available only 85 percent of the time — an unacceptable situation. So the company began calling on cloud services providers to solve these problems. When Condé Nast began to explore AWS’s features, reliability, and pricing, the decision became easy and the solution to the data center problem apparent. “It was quite sudden when we experienced problems with our data center, so we had to move quickly, but everything happened quite smoothly,” says Michail Stepanov.

Condé Nast Russia also realized that it needed to increase the security of its digital properties and that remaining in a data center would essentially be leaving the security of its property in the hands of others. So, when the company moved to AWS, Condé Nast Russia was able to isolate each Web site so that if one site experienced a security issue, that issue wouldn’t affect the others, which enhances the reliability of the system as a whole.

Condé Nast quickly realized that by moving to AWS, it could meet its requirements of partnering with a reliable, knowledgeable, and mature cloud services provider. In addition, the plans Condé Nast Russia has for expanding its digital offerings requires that its cloud services partner offers enough features and services to meet future technology needs without significant upfront capital expenditure.

The scalability of the system is a high priority for Condé Nast Russia. With nearly 3 million monthly readers across Russia and the greater trend toward digital consumption, Condé Nast needs to be able to handle the influx of readers when it arises.

Condé Nast Russia also needed a cloud services provider that would make the transition from the data center to the cloud manageable and predictable. The publisher began by moving one Web site to the cloud, and then moved the remaining six sites completely to AWS. The total time for the migration was approximately 6 months, with no notable problems or major obstacles.

Condé Nast uses Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (Amazon EC2) to handle all of its processing and computational needs. It uses Amazon Route 53 for its domain name listings, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for data storage, and finally AWS Storage Gateway to handle internal file storage needs. The system architecture services about 500 users every second.

By moving to AWS, Condé Nast Russia was able to meet the demands of its readership by providing consistent and reliable digital service. For the same price, the amount of work done on the AWS platform is double what it was when the publisher ran its Web sites in the Moscow data center. Condé Nast can also try new system architectures and develop applications without having to spend unnecessary capital on hardware, which gives it the freedom to innovate and create new methods of delivering digital content to consumers without the risk of unused equipment. As Stepanov says, “We can try new services without investing a lot of time or money.”

After the move to AWS, Condé Nast Russia experiences uptimes of 99.9 percent, a 15 percent increase from the availability in the data center. And if the site does go down, it can be restored in a matter of minutes from a back-up system.

AWS extends its benefits beyond technology. The ability to create and innovate new products and services without a substantial risk in capital makes for a more creative and enthusiastic workforce. For Condé Nast Russia, the amount of IT work getting done is double what it was in the data center.

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