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LIONSGATE is a $2 billion diversified global entertainment corporation that produces feature films and television shows, which they distribute worldwide. Their products include the Emmy award-winning TV show Mad Men and the movie “Hunger Games”. Their productions appear in theaters, on TV, and online.
As a successful media and entertainment company, LIONSGATE was faced with IT challenges that confront many growing businesses:
These challenges led to an exploration of cloud-based solutions for development and test workloads, production workloads for enterprise applications, and backup, archive, and disaster recovery strategies. The company’s objectives were to reduce costs, increase flexibility, and increase operational efficiency.
Why Amazon Web Services
Theresa Miller, Executive Vice President, Information Technology for LIONSGATE, explains why the company decided to enlist Amazon Web Services (AWS) to help them meet these objectives: “The economics were compelling. AWS cloud services proved to be easy to use via the Management Console, APIs, and tools. The system is secure and flexible to work with. Also, working with AWS as a company was a very positive experience.”
LIONSGATE started using the following AWS products in 2010:
Miller describes some of the results LIONSGATE has experienced as a result of working with AWS: “We are able to use AWS to reduce the time required to deploy infrastructure from weeks to days or hours; and to run production SharePoint workloads, and testing and development for our SAP applications. The much quicker turnaround has been a win for our department, and for the business in trying to be more agile and more responsive to what is going on in the marketplace.”
Shahrazad McNeil, Vice President SAP Basis and Security Administration for LIONSGATE, adds: “The speed of building servers, disaster recovery, high availability, and better backup methods are really the wins that we will achieve using AWS.”
The company avoided acquiring additional data center space, saving an estimated $1M+ over three years. “Overall,” says Miller, “we believe moving to AWS will save the company about 50 percent versus a traditional hosting facility.”
AWS has also contributed to helping LIONSGATE maintain its systems security. Miller says, “AWS has provided a flexible means of securely extending our Datacenter to the cloud via their virtual private cloud [VPC] offering. We can leverage existing hardware/policies and procedures for a secure, seamless, and scalable computing environment that requires very little resources to manage.”
Another important factor for LIONSGATE is running SAP, which is key to the company’s operations. McNeil was pleased with the smooth transition: “We wanted SAP to come in and give us a quick introduction to a new tool and this had to happen really fast. In pre-AWS times, we wouldn’t have been able to have the server available, but with AWS it took us two days to put the servers up and have SAP come and show us how to develop the apps and implement the project.”
LIONSGATE’s future plans include moving SAP applications from the test and development environment into a full production environment. In terms of using AWS for other applications, Miller comments, “We have had such a positive experience; we would consider it for any type of application. We have been very, very happy with AWS’s response to all of our questions and our support needs.”
McNeil agrees: “The AWS team is excited to work with us and they’re invested in our success.”
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