Prior to forming Gunner Technology, our work at ESPN drew a lot of attention from the larger Disney company.

Once we had successfully moved a large portion of to an open-source Ruby on Rails stack, hosted in the cloud with Heroku, the results proved attractive to other companies.

ESPN was able to cut costs from their hardware and sys admin budgets by nearly 80%. This alone would be enough for other departments to investigate cloud-based, open-source alternatives, but there were more benefits as well.

  • Larger Talent Pool: Hiring inside the Disney Technology divisions always proved difficult. Because the whole company was run on a proprietary system, departments couldn’t bring in developers or engineers with any previous experience.
  • The Open Source Community: No bug is a deep bug when there are thousands and thousands of developers to leverage. That’s the benefit of running on open source platforms – you’re usually no more than a Google search or chat away from figuring out a problem.
  • Developer Morale: Developers and Engineers have more pride in their work when they know they can potentially release it to the world at large. There is a strong sense of community with open source developers, and they want to contribute and give back.
  • Prototyping is Easy: When your architecture is in the cloud, spinning up new servers and environments is a snap for any developer. This creates an environment that’s conducive to innovation and allows developers to push the edges of technology without sacrificing or endangering core applications.

This is what we laid out to ABC Sports and other groups within the ABC and Disney family over several days of presentations based on our experience with ESPN.

This soon sparked other groups to take the plunge and the Disney company began seeing apps build on Drupal, WordPress, Rails and much more that were hosted on Amazon Web Services and other cloud computing services.