Media and Tech

How Axel Springer is saving time and resources with Spacelift

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Buggy manual deployments were forcing long release cycles at Axel Springer National Media & Tech. Now Spacelift helps them quickly spin up new environments and efficiently deploy cross-platform updates.
Company size
Engineering team size
AWS, Terraform
Axel Springer_white

Axel Springer National Media & Tech was battling long release cycles due to error-prone, manual deployments that didn’t scale. Spacelift has become a key part of their work to spin up a new environment in 40 minutes and swiftly and painlessly deploy updates to all their platform’s instances across the company.

Andreas Prang and Martin Weber of Axel Springer’s National Media & Tech division are part of a team that works to align the technology infrastructure and editorial tools of the company’s German media brands by deploying an in-house software platform across them all. They spoke to us about their experience integrating Spacelift into their workflow.

The challenge

The team regularly deploys new instances of its software platform. Before they adopted Spacelift, their approach when beginning a new setup was to make a clone of a template repository containing their Terraform code to create a new instance. This approach was not satisfactory. “The problem we faced was updating all of these new instances with new features as we added them to the original template,” recalls Andreas Prang. “Sometimes it would take as long as one month to roll out feature improvements.”

Deployments mostly took place on developers’ local machines. That was not reliable and it didn’t scale very well with the growing number of setups they had to provision, especially as drift was not always detected promptly.

Why they chose Spacelift

In a comparison with the competition, Spacelift stood out because of features like drift detection and policy management via Open Policy Agent. But what they found particularly appealing was Spacelift’s open-mindedness about the infrastructure-as-code space — it’s not limited to Terraform. “We have been using Terragrunt for a long time and it was very important that we could continue to use it, so Spacelift was a no-brainer,” said Martin.

“We liked Spacelift’s pricing model, which is well-suited to a company like ours. And we appreciated their simple, direct communication that quickly answered our questions before we signed up. No matter the time of day, they were responsive.”

The Spacelift experience

Although the team is still in the process of fully implementing Spacelift to manage deployment across all instances of their platform, it is working as well as they required. They have found Spacelift to be solid, reliable software backed by a team that deals quickly with any issues or questions.

“The front-end is impressive and the Spacelift team regularly adds new features. Everything we have in Spacelift has been provisioned through Terraform as well, so we do not need to click anything manually in there. This has turned out to be a key feature for us” says Andreas.


The team is migrating many of its brands from their previous template-based approach, transitioning to an internal process where setup for a team can be provisioned, deployed, and managed by simply specifying a team config YAML and using Spacelift as the system and the backend to make all of that happen. This is precisely what we wanted it to do. 

They can scale the number of platform instances and keep them all up to date without devoting one or two people to the process for months at a time. This means they can devote more of their resources to development.

The ultimate goal is to be able to spin up a new environment in 40 minutes — a significant time saving as this previously took two days – and Spacelift is key to achieving this. As they work toward it, Spacelift’s benefits are already being felt among the development teams at all of the company’s media brands.

While giving a presentation about the platform, they spin up a new instance with Spacelift in the background, so it’s ready for the team to start using immediately afterward. “Previously, this would have been impossible because of all the manual steps involved. It’s transformed the way we introduce our platform to our teams across the country” says Martin.

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