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New Hope – The New Platform for the PLoS Journal Websites

After five years of hosting the PLoS journals on Topaz, the PLoS development team decided earlier in the year that it was time to re-think the platform for the next five years. They came up with a new architecture, named New Hope, which leverages best practices in developing enterprise platforms, a private “cloud” of virtual servers and a distributed file system that contains multiple copies of site content.

This new environment is scalable to support the future growth of the journals, flexible in that it can store any type of data/content, built to minimize downtime, much easier for developing new features and best of all, it makes the journal websites perform much faster.

The migration to New Hope occurred over a 3 day period in November and New Hope officially went into production on November 14. This migration was the culmination of months of development and testing. The migration was completely seamless and users experienced no downtime!

Three weeks after the migration to New Hope, we can show that the new platform really did enhance our journal’s performance. For example:

  • Average load time of this PLoS ONE article went from 4 seconds to 0.8 seconds.
  • Nightly indexing of article data from Mulgara to Solr used to take 3-6 hours. From MySQL to Solr, the indexing now takes 24 minutes.

Warmest congratulations to the New Hope development team (and our intrepid Linux systems administrator) for building a streamlined new home for the PLoS Journals!

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