Moneyweb, South Africa’s leading provider of financial news and a JSE listed company, provides audiences with a number of platforms including radio, digimags and websites from which to gain access to the latest financial, company and investment news, market forecasts, personal finance and retirement planning and more. Online, Moneyweb provides a wide range of delayed feed and real-time data on JSE-listed companies.
Over 60 000 people visit Moneyweb’s core websites on a daily basis, with about 40 000 of those going to www.moneyweb.co.za and it is therefore vital that the company’s 12 content contributors and managers are able to work as efficiently as possible to ensure the information on the site is up-to-date. But, Moneyweb has also grown substantially in recent years and this growth has only been possible due to their forward-thinking and ability to change and adjust with the times.
Faster, more flexible core web products
Moneyweb’s Head of Innovation, Nic Wilson notes, “We looked into the future and saw a time of disruption in the South African media space around financial news content.” Noting this need for adaptation and disruption, Moneyweb decided that they wanted to place themselves in a position to capitalise on this and respond before many of their competitors might have been able to.
In early 2014, following this decision, Moneyweb started looking at a massive redesign of all of the business’ core web products: online enterprise tools with which they ran their business. In doing so, they found that they increasingly needed a suite of products that were flexible, faster to develop on and better able to respond to their needs and ideas quickly and easily.
Wilson explains, “We needed to bring our core web products in line with our new needs, but we also wanted to move to a set of technologies that would allow us to be more flexible, develop faster and respond to new ideas and new trends. We needed a solution that would give us the capability to bring new products to market fast – both for ourselves and on behalf of our clients.”
Virtual platforms provide flexibility
During the restructuring and rebuild, Moneyweb started to do research into building a platform that could respond elastically to their needs. The result of their research was that virtual platforms are proven to be more flexible and were the best way for them to go. As Wilson puts it: “We needed a platform that would allow our technical team to quickly respond to sudden traffic increases, such as on government’s budget day, when the traffic on www.moneyweb.co.za has been known to triple or quadruple.”
Moving to the cloud
Moneyweb therefore made the decison to move all development and DevOps functions – which were previously outsourced – back in-house while at the same time investing in new web applications on a completely new platform; rebuilding from scratch rather than simply redesigning what it had. Moneyweb needed a platform that could respond elastically to its needs and they soon realised that this meant leaving the old, dedicated hardware thinking behind and moving onto the cloud.
In order to make the offering more mobile-friendly and data rich, Moneyweb also moved the handling of its JSE market data from hosting at a third party data provider and fully integrated it with all its platforms. “Using a modern, JSON-driven caching environment allows instant integration to new sites and this meant we needed to be able to adjust resource needs in minutes rather than hours. The cloud environment has given us this ability,” says Wilson.
After researching a number of products available on the market, Moneyweb elected to partner with RSAWEB and to make use of their Enterprise Cloud (Virtual Data Centre) product. Enterprise Cloud (VPS) provides Moneyweb with a logically-isolated, private environment that is secure, cost effective, infinitely scalable and incredibly fast, guaranteeing sustained ‘IOPS’ (input/output per second). Over the course of eight months, Moneyweb tested the usefulness of the virtual data centre and cloud environment, with the in-house development team working very closely with the team at RSAWEB to integrate the solution.
Wilson reflects: “The ramp-up towards implementation allowed us to develop the relationship between the two companies. This has proved invaluable, especially when assessing software performance and allowed us to manage the cost of the environment in a transparent manner.”
Team of experts
Today, the company continues to change and is currently working on an aggressive growth strategy. It is increasingly moving towards the incorporation of video and podcast content on their websites as well as moving into the education space, which will incorporate e-learning, video and interactive platforms.
Moneyweb now makes use of a fully-managed solution from RSAWEB and therefore does not require use of the VMWare interface. Wilson says: “The fact that we can make use of the fully-managed solution and that we trust the team of experts looking after us is in fact one of the most valuable attributes of our use of the system, since RSAWEB’s management of it means we can concentrate on our core business.”