Migrating Applications To The Cloud An Amazon Web Services Case Study

Using CloudEndure, Cloud Nation performed cloud migration within one week – an Amazon AWS case study

Overview

Cloud Nation is a channel-only service provider that helps IT companies and SMBs/SMEs to move into the cloud. When the cloud provider of one of its clients (a CPA firm) was shutting down its operations, a fast and accurate migration of the whole workload of that client into Amazon’s AWS was required.
Using CloudEndure’s Migration Solution, the data and applications of that client’s services were seamlessly moved from the customer’s hosted datacenter into AWS.
The migration process was successfully completed one week before the deadline of three weeks.

Company

Privately held, New Jersey based Cloud Nation, Inc. offers technology professionals a platform to build solutions (Windows servers, attached file storage, and Windows desktop connections) using Citrix XenApp and Receiver as the core technology and putting it on Amazon’s AWS platform. With over a decade of experience with cloud-based products, the company is a leader in custom cloud migrations and implementations, offering its services on a month-to-month basis.

The Challenge

One of Cloud Nation’s resellers had a CPA firm as a client running 58 applications in a data center. That CPA was suddenly confronted with the fact that his hosted datacenter was shutting down. The CPA firm quickly contacted his Cloud Nation reseller who in turn contacted Steve Ferman, the owner and CEO of Cloud Nation, to find a migration solution. To make things more complicated, the customer was in the middle of tax season, which required that staff must have instant access to all data and applications on the servers to file tax returns etc. in time for their clients. Downtime was not an option.

The Solution

Cloud Nation heard about CloudEndure through Cloud Technology Partners, who recommended engaging CloudEndure for the migration. The migration solution that Cloud Nation was looking for had to be based on proven technology that could be easily deployed quickly and without incurring high costs. Cloud Nation tested CloudEndure’s Migration Solution and after 3 days decided to go with CloudEndure since the migration was even smoother and quicker than anticipated.

The preparation for the migration encompassed the handling of raw data on the servers and setting up the logins, print servers, caching, etc. A sandbox environment was used to test that the migration completed successfully before cutting over. This preparation was key for the migration taking only a few short days and having worked so well.

Results

With CloudEndure, 58 applications with hundreds of Gigabytes of data were migrated successfully to AWS. The whole migration project took one week and was completed one week before the deadline.
The cut-over was so seamless, that the employees in the CPA’s office could simply log on and work on their computers as if the migration never took place. They never noticed that all their data and applications had moved to AWS. As promised by CloudEndure, the migration was conducted within time and budget.

Recommendation

Steve Ferman was impressed with how easy the whole migration process was, especially in light of the customer’s stringent deadline. When asked what his opinion of CloudEndure’s migration solution was, he answered: “We all know that migration is not easy, since it involves an exact replication from A to B. As you can understand, reinstalling 58 applications was not an option we wanted to consider. CloudEndure was able to live up to its promise: a quick, seamless, and on time migration without any loss of data or other issues.” He went on to point out that CloudEndure also provided great support.

Who are the major AWS users, and what kind of workloads are they using AWS for? Here's a spoiler: If you're looking at AWS for enterprise-level deployment, you have plenty of company, and if your enterprise is already using AWS, you're in very good company indeed.

A look at AWS users

According to Amazon, the number of active AWS users exceeds 1,000,000.

While small and mid-size companies make up the majority of that user base, recent polls by private consulting firms suggest that enterprise-scale users make up at least 10% of that total.

Netflix pushes AWS to its limits

Among enterprises, Netflix was the most prominent early user of AWS, adopting it in 2009.

According to an article in Business Insider from January 2016, Netflix placed enormous demands on the resources available to AWS at the time, often pushing the service to its limits and beyond. The ongoing pressure from Netflix, combined with Amazon's willingness to improve its service and meet its customers' requirements, pushed AWS to develop into the full, enterprise-scale integrated set of services that it is today.

All-In: the big commitment

By mid-2015, Netflix had gone ‘all-in,’ closing the last of its major data centers and moving all of its IT operations to AWS. Other enterprises have also gone all-in with AWS, including Intuit, Hertz, and Time, Inc. These companies have demonstrated their willingness to trust AWS with their entire IT operations, including transactions, customer databases, and the rest of the information infrastructure on which they depend. This level of commitment and trust on the part of long-established (and often very conservative) enterprises speaks volumes about the ability of AWS to meet the needs of enterprise-level clients.

A few AWS case studies

Let's have a closer look at some of AWS's biggest clients:

Unilever

Unilever North America, the U.S. branch of the venerable global-scale manufacturer of food, household, and other consumer products, found that its time-to-market (crucial in the consumer goods industry) was being held back by the lack of standardized technology among its on-premises IT facilities and websites.

Unilever conducted an exhaustive review of the available cloud-based options, and finally chose to migrate to AWS, using a full range of AWS services to support 1,700 digital marketing web properties on a worldwide basis.

For Unilever, the advantages include increased speed of rollout for a website (now two days, rather than the pre-AWS average of two weeks), and the increased speed at which changes to a site or a marketing campaign can be made. Unilever also uses AWS for comprehensive backup and disaster recovery, and for rapid deployment of standardized infrastructure.

GE Oil & Gas

The oil and gas division of General Electric has migrated 350+ applications to AWS, cutting the average cost of ownership by over 50%, according to their own estimate. For GE, the migration process is ongoing, with constant review of on-premises applications and services to see which ones are the best candidates for transfer to the cloud.

The ability to monitor the use of cloud-based applications is important to GE's IT team, since it allows them to accurately gauge expenses and savings, to determine when services should be active (and thus billable), and when they should be turned off.

AWS' capacity for handling large amounts of data is important to GE as well. The oil and gas division needs to be able to process enormous volumes of mission-critical automated pipeline inspection data. It is using AWS technology to store and transport the data, and for data analysis and processing, saving time and improving the quality of the results.

Kellogg’s

The Kellogg Company, or Kellogg’s, a familiar breakfast-table name, is a company with a long history (founded in 1888), with worldwide operations. For Kellogg’s (as is the case throughout the breakfast-cereal industry), product promotions are all-important.

The Kellogg company had been relying on an on-premises database for modeling marketing campaigns and analyzing promotion and sales data, but the system, which could run no more than a single simulation per day, was no longer able to keep up with the company's needs.

As a replacement, Kellogg’s chose a SAP promotion planning and simulation application. At the same time, they chose to run the SAP application on AWS, rather than on-premises. The decision to go with AWS was motivated by a number of factors, including speed and overall capacity. (The system handles 16 TB of weekly sales data, with several dozen marketing simulations on a weekly basis.) AWS also offered high availability, reduced cost, and flexibility in IT planning. The combination of SAP and AWS (with its support for SAP software) has given Kellogg’s a significant advantage in a very competitive market.

G4S

UK based group 4 Security have recently gone on record talking about how they have halved data center costs in their move to AWS.   

Met Office

The Met Office have deployed a large application called 'The Weather Cloud' on AWS.  This has enabled them to react faster to the demands for data that arise at times of extreme weather events, serving the public better.  

http://www.information-age.com/met-office-turns-aws-cloud-faster-and-more-accurate-weather-forecasts-123461273/

 

And Who Else?

Smart companies, smart enterprises, and smart IT departments. They're using it because it saves time, it saves money, and it gives them a remarkable range of features and services that make their jobs easier, and their enterprises more profitable.

To finish off, here are some of the other big names that are on record publically as using AWS:

Adobe, Airbnb, Alcatel-Lucent, AOL, Acquia, AdRoll, AEG, Alert Logic, Autodesk, Bitdefender, BMW, British Gas, Canon, Capital One, Channel 4, Chef, Citrix, Coinbase, Comcast, Coursera, Docker, Dow Jones, European Space Agency, Financial Times, FINRA, General Electric, GoSquared, Guardian News & Media, Harvard Medical School, Hearst Corporation, Hitachi, HTC, IMDb, International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, International Civil Aviation Organization, ITV, iZettle, Johnson & Johnson, JustGiving, JWT, Kaplan, Kellogg’s, Lamborghini, Lonely Planet, Lyft, Made.com, McDonalds, NASA, NASDAQ OMX, National Rail Enquiries, National Trust, Netflix,  News International, News UK, Nokia, Nordstrom, Novartis, Pfizer, Philips, Pinterest, Quantas, Sage, Samsung, SAP, Schneider Electric, Scribd, Securitas Direct, Siemens, Slack, Sony, SoundCloud, Spotify, Square Enix, Tata Motors, The Weather Company, Ticketmaster, Time Inc., Trainline, Ubisoft, UCAS, Unilever, US Department of State, USDA Food and Nutrition Service, UK Ministry of Justice, Vodafone Italy, WeTransfer, WIX, Xiaomi, Yelp, Zynga.

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