Founded in 1851 and known as the newspaper of record, The New York Times is a digital pioneer: Its first website launched in 1996, before Google even existed. After the company decided a few years ago to move out of its private data centers—including one located in the pricy real estate of Manhattan. It recently took another step into the future by going cloud native.
At first, the infrastructure team "managed the virtual machines in the Amazon cloud, and they deployed more critical applications in our data centers and the less critical ones on AWS
as an experiment," says Deep Kapadia, Executive Director, Engineering at The New York Times. "We started building more and more tools, and at some point we realized that we were doing a disservice by treating Amazon as another data center."
To get the most out of the cloud, Kapadia was tapped to lead a new Delivery Engineering Team that would "design for the abstractions that cloud providers offer us." In mid-2016, they began looking at the Google Cloud Platform
and its Kubernetes-as-a-service offering, GKE
At the time, says team member Tony Li, a Site Reliability Engineer, "We had some internal tooling that attempted to do what Kubernetes does for containers, but for VMs. We asked why are we building and maintaining these tools ourselves?"
In early 2017, the first production application—the nytimes.com mobile homepage—began running on Kubernetes, serving just 1% of the traffic. Today, almost 100% of the nytimes.com site’s end-user facing applications run on GCP, with the majority on Kubernetes.