The Weather Channel, Drupal, and Acquia
When I talk about Drupal, information technology and the weather all in the same breath, I get a little excited. I can't help myself. I'm biased toward Drupal as it is one of my favorite content management systems. I'm also a former meteorologist working in information technology for a very large organization that is heavily involved with the weather. Needless to say, a year or two ago when I heard that The Weather Channel started using Drupal to meet the needs of it's customers and meteorologists, it caught my attention. I think the use of Drupal is a win-win for everyone around and given my background, I wish my own employer had adopted a similar solution. I think organizations miss out on a lot when they don't utilize open source or even proprietary systems in favor of an in-house CMS.
The news keeps getting better if you're a Drupal fan. Last month, both Acquia and Mediacurrent announced that The Weather Channel is standardizing on the Acquia Platform for Weather.com. Weather.com started using Drupal last year to increase the agility of its content creation and publishing. Now, the company has moved the entire website, which serves more than 20 million pages of content, to the Acquia Platform, which brings together Drupal and Acquia’s solutions for digital engagement and experience management. The team at Weather.com worked with Acquia and digital agency partner Mediacurrent for its site development and migration from its legacy web content management system Percussion.
“Weather.com is thinking ahead to a future, where up-to-the-minute weather information requires an open delivery platform that adapts to fast changes in technology,” said Tom Erickson, CEO, Acquia. “The Weather Company is leading the transformation of how we interact with weather news; people expect accurate weather forecasts on-demand, and they want to be alerted to events that may impact their life, work, travel, and leisure. Weather.com is gaining the agility to deliver on customers’ increasing expectations and help lead the charge with contextual weather insight that anticipates every user’s needs.”
Weather.com received more than 1 billion page requests in the week Hurricane Sandy hit, and the site experiences several massive traffic days every year when severe weather impacts the nation. In a blog post Dries Buytaert, Acquia CTO, talked about the importance of meeting site visitor's demands especially when the weather affects public safety and how he felt Acquia Cloud plays an important role in that demand:
Weather.com has been an active Drupal user for the past 18 months; it started with a content creation workflow on Drupal to help its editorial team publish content to its existing website faster. With Drupal, Weather.com was able to dramatically reduce the number of steps that was required to publish content from 14 to just a few. Speed is essential in reporting the weather, and Drupal's content workflow provided much-needed velocity. The success of that initial project is what led to this week's migration of Weather.com from Percussion to Drupal.
The company has moved the entire website to Acquia Cloud, giving the site a resilient platform that can withstand sudden onslaughts of demand as unpredictable as the weather itself. As we learned from our work with New York City's MTA during Superstorm Sandy in 2012, “weather-proofing” the delivery of critical information to insure the public stays informed during catastrophic events is really important and can help save lives.
“With Acquia, we can innovate quickly to create new dynamic experiences for our site visitors. Drupal has the right combination of agility and connectedness that allows us to be expand our platform and maintain quality at the same time,” said Chris Hill, vice president web development, Weather Channel. “Weather.com is a critical part of our business. We really feel that with the stakes that are on the line, it makes perfect sense to partner with somebody who has the experience and can guide us through it. Acquia was the only company that we found that actually could do that.”
Chris Hill, Weather Channel vice president web development, has his own impressions how the impact Drupal and Acquia has on Weather.com. “Weather.com is a critical part of our business. We really feel that with the stakes that are on the line, it makes perfect sense to partner with somebody who has the experience and can guide us through it. Acquia was the only company that we found that actually could do that.” Below is a video that Acquia has provided CMS Report with Chris Hill briefly discussing The Weather Channel's migration to both Drupal and Acquia Platform.
A version of this article was originally published on CMS Report.