Scholastic is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, with $1.6 billion in annual revenue. Adam Japhet is the Head of Technology Services Architecture & Design at Scholastic—thanks to his 17 years with the company, he’s had a front-row seat, as the publishing, education and media leader, as Scholastic expanded their global reach and began their move to the cloud.
Scholastic's challenges with cloud
In 2012, as digital readers grew in popularity, the leadership team at Scholastic acknowledged the business benefits they’d gain by adopting cloud computing, and made plans for an organization-wide rollout. “We began with an IaaS model, relying on AWS,” says Adam. “The goal was for nearly all technology functions to rely on the cloud, so our operating model became 95% cloud-based.”
The shift to cloud computing could not detract from Scholastic’s primary business purpose. “We enlisted companies to do the heavy lifting on our behalf,” Adam recalls. “Our environment is heterogeneous – we started as an AWS shop, but have adopted different cloud platforms to support our own roadmap. We work with AWS, as well as Google Cloud Platform, Oracle, Workday, and ServiceNow. The result is that we are able to leverage the capabilities of many different vendors—but it also means that we must keep up with their ongoing transformations. That requires a tremendous amount of integration, different levels of thinking, and roles that perform several functions. At the same time, while ensuring we can scale and support everything as needed, we needed to maintain focus on the company’s core mission, value-added products, and services.”
With infrastructure spanning multiple clouds, the crux of the problem Scholastic faced was visibility. “We needed an approach that would help us identify how well we were managing workloads, how well we were managing our infrastructure. We had other tools in place, but nothing that would let us see the alignment between performance and efficiency. Our on-prem footprint was dwindling—we had to act.”
Finding a solution
As their infrastructure continued to grow, the Scholastic team started to search for a solution to provide them with a consolidated view of their infrastructure. “We couldn’t see our deployment at scale, across all accounts,” said Adam. After doing a close survey of various cloud service management solutions, they selected CloudHealth.
"There were some decent products out there, but we felt that CloudHealth just had better engineering, and we believed in [CTO and Founder] Joe Kinsella’s vision."Head of Technology Services Architecture & Design, Scholastic
Adam said that Scholastic briefly considered making something ourselves, but there was no way we could have built something like that.”
By offering a consolidated view into disparate data sets, CloudHealth gave Scholastic much-needed transparency and, by extension, better control.
Visibility improved almost immediately. Scholastic now manages their multicloud environment with a holistic view into cost, configuration, performance, and security.
The policy and automation capabilities within the CloudHealth platform have also been a boon: “We’ve implemented policies around tagging so that we can better organize resources for cost allocation and reporting. And we wouldn’t feel comfortable making an RI purchase without CloudHealth – you can easily save 30% off the bat.”
Although Scholastic had other cloud management tools in place, only CloudHealth gives them what they need to properly size their infrastructure. “We want to make sure we’re running efficiently,” says Adam. “CloudHealth has saved us countless man-hours, as well as 38-50% of our monthly AWS costs.”
Offering advice to his industry peers in similar situations, Adam shares the following: “As you increasingly rely on the cloud, make sure you have people with the right skill set. Start small, and get some early successes under your belt… Consider security, account access, etc. You need to have the scaffolding in place if you’re going to effectively grow.”