To run a modern publishing operation, German local newspaper the Schwäbisches Tagblatt must ensure journalists can use email and phones at all times, as well as managing production from editing to printing without delays. With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, the SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension, and integrated Xen virtualization, the publisher keeps mission-critical tasks and processes on track and on budget, ensuring that its print and digital publications go out to readers on time, every time.

Overview

The Schwäbisches Tagblatt is a local newspaper serving Tübingen, a university town in southwestern Germany, and the surrounding communities. The print edition, published Monday to Saturday, is the newspaper with the highest circulation in the Tübingen area, reaching over 100,000 readers. The company also publishes local, national, and international news, as well as weather, sports, and entertainment content on its website seven days a week. The Schwäbisches Tagblatt employs around 150 people.

The Challenge

The Schwäbisches Tagblatt prints and delivers tens of thousands of newspapers six days a week, and continuously updates its digital news website. It is therefore vital that the IT systems underpinning operations run reliably—day in, day out.

Sascha Speidel, Head of IT at the Schwäbisches Tagblatt, explains: “We rely very heavily on IT at every stage of the production process, from research and writing to editing and design. We must keep to very strict schedules in order to go to press on time, so there is no room for downtime. Ensuring high availability for these applications is a top priority.”

“SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has proven to be a remarkably stable and reliable platform over the years. We have always been very satisfied with the SUSE solution in terms of its simplicity, availability, and performance. SUSE Linux Enterprise continues to meet our requirements and is a tried, tested, and trusted platform.”

SUSE Solution

For many years, the Schwäbisches Tagblatt has run its mission-critical business applications, as well as its file, print, and email services, on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Sascha Speidel comments: “SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has proven to be a remarkably stable and reliable platform over the years. We have always been very satisfied with the SUSE solution in terms of its simplicity, availability, and performance. SUSE Linux Enterprise continues to meet our requirements and is a tried, tested, and trusted platform.

“In all the years that we have been using SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, we have not experienced any major issues. We work with our technology partner B1 Systems, who answers our questions, and resolves any issues very quickly and professionally in collaboration with SUSE Support.”

The Schwäbisches Tagblatt has six physical Lenovo servers, configured as two redundant three-node clusters, running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server with SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension. The host systems run the Xen virtualization technology built into SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. The Schwäbisches Tagblatt relies on around 60 virtual machines running a mix of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Open Enterprise Server, other Linux distributions, and Microsoft Windows Server.

Sascha Speidel notes: “Thanks to the builtin Xen virtualization, we can consolidate workloads onto an environment with high availability and an attractive total cost of ownership, making SUSE Linux Enterprise Server a very cost-effective platform.”

Using a wide range of general and industry-specific business applications, including content management systems, archives, bookkeeping, and subscription management systems, the Schwäbisches Tagblatt runs several databases on its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Xen environment, including Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and PostgreSQL. The company has also deployed its businesscritical central phone system, based on the Swyx Voice over IP (VoIP) communication solution, on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

The Results

With SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension, the Schwäbisches Tagblatt can ensure that its business applications and communications services run reliably 24/7.

The organization recently achieved a live migration of its telephone system from one physical server cluster to the other without any impact on business-critical phone communication services, demonstrating the robustness of the SUSE solution.

Sascha Speidel comments: “We are delighted with the availability, stability, and reliability of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Since we implemented SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, we have not experienced any unplanned outages. Our employees can always reliably access the tools they need to chase the latest stories and get the newspaper out quickly, so we can deliver news when it’s most relevant to our readers.”

By taking advantage of the Xen virtualization technology built into SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, the Schwäbisches Tagblatt can offer fully virtualized, clustered IT services very cost-efficiently. “Our solution with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Xen virtualization offers us
all the flexibility and tooling we need to make the most of our infrastructure with low administration overheads,” says Sascha Speidel.

He concludes: “As more and more readers choose to subscribe to the digital app rather than the print newspaper, round-the-clock availability becomes even more important. Thanks to our partner B1 Systems, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension, we can deliver news to our readers when and how they want it—whether that’s a physical paper on their doorstep in the morning, or online in the middle of the night.”