Many businesses today are brushing up against the limitations of legacy IT architecture. On-premises systems don’t cut it anymore for those who need to scale, innovate, and adapt to market trends and competitive disruption. However, migrating critical applications away from old-school infrastructure can be intimidating and difficult.
Companies that require more than simple “lift-and-shift” migrations must have robust capabilities and expertise to move to the cloud successfully. Otherwise, they can fall victim to a variety of issues in the transition, from data loss and extended downtimes to large-scale instability. There is little room for error when it comes to migrations and significant downside if things go poorly.
A US-based financial services company was contemplating a massive migration when it approached ClearScale for help. The organization needed to move multiple essential components away from legacy IBM systems, including:
- A FileNet-based enterprise content management system
- A Datacap document capture system
- An IBM Db2 database
Several factors added complexity to an already major undertaking:
- The existing environment was not going to be supported much longer. The leadership team needed to find a stable landing zone for its IT infrastructure immediately.
- The company had a tremendous amount of data - approximately 60 TBs - that had to make it safely to the next solution.
- The nature of the legacy enterprise software stack meant the company had strict availability and security requirements.
The financial services firm had partnered with another company in the past to build its CMS and various other IBM applications. However, that organization didn’t have an in-house DevOps team or much experience with the cloud. Relying on the group for such a big project was not an option.
ClearScale, on the other hand, had extensive cloud, migration, and DevOps experience. As an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Premier Consulting Partner, ClearScale holds nine competencies, including DevOps and Migration, which were crucial for this particular endeavor.
Based on the scope and urgency of the project, the ClearScale team believed migrating to the AWS platform was the best path forward. The combination of ClearScale’s expertise and AWS’ vast array of advanced cloud computing services met every one of the client’s needs.
The ClearScale Solution
ClearScale began by engaging closely with the client to understand what would constitute success for the business. The company’s leadership team reiterated the importance of a clean migration, as well as a future-state characterized by tight security, high availability, and manageability.
With this context, ClearScale’s experts outlined key business requirements and created an architecture design that utilized AWS and DevOps best practices. Once the client felt confident in ClearScale’s ability to ensure a smooth migration, minimize downtime, and build the new architecture, the team was given the green light.
ClearScale developed powerful automation tools, deployed the desired customer environments, and carried out the full migration in 14 weeks, which included the time required for the customer to set up a Direct Connect link to AWS from their existing data center.
For the implementation, ClearScale designed a landing zone consisting of Non-prod, Prod, DR, and Shared Services environments. The environments contained copies of the client’s applications, such as Datacap running on Windows 2016, MS SQL Server 2016, and Content Search services with an HTTP server layer.
All servers were set up with high availability using auto scaling groups, which enable servers to restart in other availability zones (AZ) should the current AZ fail. Customer-provided application configuration scripts were integrated into startup configurations so that servers were ready to operate as soon as possible.
ClearScale also migrated the client’s large-file storage to S3. To ensure the transition was as transparent as possible, ClearScale experts used an AWS File Gateway solution that allows high-speed access to file data stored in S3.
In addition, the team established a shared services environment with Windows-based bastion hosts acting as RDP servers, as well as Windows admin nodes for secure administration.
Finally, the ClearScale project team placed a disaster recovery environment in a separate region, which included unique shared services and production environments. The data from the primary production environment was mirrored to the DR site using Amazon S3 cross-region replication. In case of a disaster event, the company can use automation to spin up new production instances, restore data to databases, and connect a replica of the file storage.
Thanks to ClearScale’s help, the financial services firm can now take advantage of the AWS platform in a multitude of ways.
ClearScale implemented several automation tools to help the client reduce IT expenses while maintaining consistency and management efficiency. With its new cold DR environment, the company can cost-efficiently comply with internal RPO and RTO policies.
Additionally, the company’s content management system, document capture system, and relational database are all cloud-enabled and optimized. The client’s overall platform is more available, durable, and elastic, which means the organization can efficiently launch new offerings and scale with demand.
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