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Belgian Media Company De Persgroep Improves Performance with Cisco Data Center Network Architecture

December 2007 by Marc Jacob

De Persgroep, the leading media group in Belgium, is using Cisco® data center virtualization technology to help make its media operations, including the region’s most visited news Website, more cost effective to manage and better able to handle large fluctuations in traffic volume.

De Persgroep customers and users can expect a fast response during peak demand, improvements in the provision of business applications and services, and the availability of more multimedia content.

De Persgroep, a media group with newspaper, magazine, online, radio and TV interests, will use the Cisco data center solution, comprising both network switching equipment and the Application Control Engine (ACE) switch. By using Cisco ACE to virtualize its data center application infrastructure, De Persgroep expects to reduce management and operational overhead by 25 percent and to bring video streaming in-house, saving at least 30 percent of outsourcing costs.

A virtualized data center application infrastructure will also help enable De Persgroep to manage the large fluctuations in Web traffic generated by the rolling news agenda, by sharing Web server resources more effectively as well as by "ring-fencing" other business applications against peak demand. Hits on the company’s flagship website can vary by 60 percent from day to day, reaching 525,000. In two years the company expects the site to garner a million hits a day.

Luc Verbist, De Persgroep’s director of information and communications technology, said, "The Cisco data center virtualization and application networking solution is vital to our business. We have the biggest news site in Belgium and a range of other leading media products and services, and our ambition is to grow even bigger. Our online revenue model is visitor-driven and, with more than 600,000 daily hits across our online media channels it is vital that we run at 100 percent availability. Every lost hit is lost revenue. Without the application infrastructure virtualization capabilities of the Cisco technology we would not be able to deliver this level of service to both external and internal customers or have the future scalability we know we will need."

De Persgroep is deploying the Cisco Data Center Network Architecture to connect two data centers with more than 300 servers in Brussels to seven additional sites across Belgium and Holland. The solution will comprise Cisco Catalyst® 6500 Series Switches, Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series Switches and Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series Switches to form a core network capable of supporting Cisco data center services as well additional applications in the future.

Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE) modules in the data center will support a range of data center operations, including firewall management, application switching and streamed media. The virtual partitioning technology in the Cisco ACE segments and isolates applications, enabling them to act as individual modules on a single server so that applications can be distributed across data center hardware, making more efficient use of computational resources. Web and business applications will be protected by Cisco PIX 500 Series Security Appliances and the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Firewall Services Module. The Cisco data center solution at De Persgroep is being implemented by Telindus, a Cisco Gold Certified Partner.

About De Persgroep:

De Persgroep is one the leading media organizations in Belgium. Its flagship products include Het Laatste Nieuws the highest circulation newspaper in Belgium and Flanders with 287,000 copies a day; VTM the largest commercial television station in Flanders; and the popular Qmusic radio station. De Persgroep also manages the region’s largest news website - - which has around 340,000 site visitors a day, 50 percent more than its nearest rival. Mediafin is a financial information service which gathers financial data from stock exchanges around the world and delivers it in real-time to customers such as banks and stock brokers. The company is headquartered in Brussels and employs 1,500 people.

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