Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

On Location: Chicago Tribune

On Location Series
"It's very simple: We don't accept missed deadlines--or missed budgets--ever, for any reason," Dejanovic says. "That may seem harsh, but it's the nature of this business."

That mentality is also driving the Tribune's server consolidation, a comprehensive initiative that includes elements of disaster recovery, mainframe migration, server clustering and storage-area networking. The project is designed to make the newspaper's computer systems available at peak performance in any situation, at a lower cost than the mainframe environment it replaces. Ironically, the glitch occurred as the Tribune was moving one of its critical applications over to the consolidated server environment, proving--unpleasantly--the need for high availability.

But the project isn't just about technology. The endeavor reflects a cultural shift of people and processes that has been taking place at the newspaper for several years (see "Tribune's New Goals Require Culture Shock"). Although many companies talk about aligning IT with business units, the Tribune's IT group is indeed making itself over to operate like a news organization. That means getting the server-consolidation project done on time, no matter how much overtime.

The Problem

In September 2002, Dejanovic and his team were preparing their annual budget requests, and it wasn't a pretty picture. The newspaper's IBM System/390 mainframes were running out of steam and would have to be upgraded or replaced with Unix servers. The Tribune also had a few Sun Microsystems 3500 servers for graphics and manufacturing applications, but these, too, were running out of capacity.

  • 1