Case Studies

Globo Centralizes Service Connectivity and Security With Kong

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Challenges

  • Fragmented approach to API management across multiple media brands, including radio, TV and web portal, impeded organization consolidation efforts
  • Shift toward subscription-based media properties increased need for bringing on new users and migrating to identity platforms to support these users

Solutions

  • Kong Enterprise as the service connectivity platform serving as the central digital hub for all Globo brands from an API infrastructure perspective
  • Kong Enterprise with OpenID Connect policy running on Kubernetes clusters and acting as a single authentication entry point for hundreds of microservices

Results

  • Empowered development teams across Globo with self-service API gateway access, reducing the time to add a route to a service by 99%, from three business days to one hour
  • Established Digital Hub of Globo as the company’s center of excellence and internal benchmark for API infrastructure and operations

The Largest Media Group in Latin America

Founded in 1925 and headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Grupo Globo (“Globo”) is the largest media group in Latin America and covers a wide range of fields, including film and television, radio, publishing, music, and real estate. Its affiliate, Rede Globo, is the largest commercial TV network in Latin America and produces 90% of its own programming, including a large number of news, sports, TV dramas and documentary programs every year. Globo consolidates access to these many forms of media, acting as a portal for news, sports, gaming, TV and more content.

Globo Leads Cloud Native Adoption for a Media Empire

Acting as the digital branch of the Globo media conglomerate, Globo’s Digital Hub has more than 3,000 microservices in production that provide a streaming platform for the portals. One of those portals, the news portal G1, receives on average 20 million page views per month and has reached peak loads of 29 million page views per month. Behind the scenes of Globo, the “Backstage” team is responsible for empowering developers across Globo. “We are a platform of platforms,” said Marcos Petry, engineering and product manager at the Digital Hub of Globo. “We deliver software for a publishing platform, video platform, big data platform, sales platform and more. What we support is driven by our end users’ products.” To accomplish this mission, Petry’s team owns delivering API gateways, databases and other API infrastructure to help end user developers build their platforms and applications.

“As a team, we are passionate about innovation and leading edge technologies,” said Lucca Mendonça, software developer at Globo. “We were early adopters of containers and even built our own open source Platform as a Service called Tsuru, which we donated to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.” While the Backstage team was very technically skilled and clearly not afraid to develop entire platforms if that is what the business required, the team also understood that not every tool needed to be built.

“For an API gateway, we knew that rather than building our own, it made sense to look at what was already available from vendors,” said Petry. “We have too many development priorities to spend months rebuilding functionality that is already available commercially.”

Globo Upgraded From Kong Open Source to Kong Enterprise

Given the team’s passion for open source technologies, its first experience was with Kong’s open source gateway. “We had 60 instances running in production and over 100,000 requests per minute,” said Petry. “Kong fit in well with our stack and easily met the needs of a business at our scale.”

However, as the system scaled up in support of multiple departments, the team chose to upgrade to Kong Enterprise for enterprise technical support SLAs, a management GUI more appropriate for scaling up adoption and access to many enterprise policies available out of the box.

“We also had a corporate decision to standardize on OpenID Connect for authentication,” shared Mendonça. “We knew that Kong Enterprise had an out-of-the-box policy for OIDC and that upgrading would save us months of development time.” For a team that cared about securing hundreds of services, this was an obvious benefit.

Centralizing All API Access Through Kong

For over a year, the Backstage team has relied on Kong Enterprise as the single gateway in front of 120 production services, and as more services will soon be exposed to end users, this number will increase significantly.

“Thanks to the architectural flexibility of Kong, we have a single gateway to manage multiple platforms. We run Kong in Kubernetes clusters and are able to natively manage the gateway from Kubernetes.”

Marcos Petry, Engineering & Product Manager

The team also makes use of the Kong Admin API. “The API-enabled nature of Kong lets us manage hundreds of services programmatically,” explained Mendonça. “This is key for the number of integrations our team is required to support.” These capabilities allow a relatively small team to manage Globo’s entire infrastructure efficiently, with the potential to scale even further in the future.

The team also uses the Kong Developer Portal, both to enable internal developers to publish and consume APIs, as well as to eventually offer APIs to partners and customers. “The Kong Developer Portal gives us a centralized view of all our APIs and services,” said Petry. “This helps with visibility and organization in managing our API knowledge base across many teams.”

Looking forward, the team sees an opportunity to enable observability as well. “Kong Immunity would help us on this journey,” said Petry.

Globo Trusts Kong as its Service Connectivity Layer

“We are very happy with how Kong has improved internal operations for our development teams,” shared Petry. “It used to take three to four business days for an end user to add a simple route to a service. With Kong, that has decreased to one hour maximum and often is simply instant.”

The orders of magnitude gain in efficiency was the result of Petry’s team providing a “gateway-as-a-service” to the rest of the organization. “We created a layer where our development teams can use the Kong platform within the parameters and permissions we have defined,” explained Mendonça. “They are empowered to write and dispatch commands from the command line, with minimal need for intervention or support from our central team.”

Thanks to the scalability of this model, Petry’s team has already more than doubled the number of services being managed by Kong’s API gateway. With additional business units consolidating across Grupo Globo, the vision is bringing hundreds of more services under the Kong gateway too. The Globo team has emerged as an important partner for the business in defining the technology that will be crucial to achieving Grupo Globo’s ambitious business goals.

“For a global media brand like ours, there are hundreds of internal APIs to consider, but we don’t want to stop there. We also have our eyes on eventually making APIs available to partners and customers, and creating a real ecosystem around our APIs.”

Marcos Petry, Engineering & Product Manager

With millions of viewers consuming content daily, at Globo, all eyes are on Kong and the Globo team to lead the company’s digital transformation across brands.

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