Transforming internal IT to everything-as-a-service
Transforming internal IT to everything-as-a-service
The customer is one of the market’s largest retailers of electronics, consumer IT products, and school supplies.
The client had multiple internal IT applications and wanted to migrate from an on-premises environment to AWS Cloud. The challenge, however, was that every application was different and would need to be carefully evaluated to identify the right migration approach for the workload.
“There were several interactive user applications and a host of other applications developed in-house,” says Wael Al Aaraj, VP of Technology at Bespin Global MEA. “They were all critical to the business but used different architectures and technologies. So, the client asked us to plan and execute the migration based on specific business goals, including simplifying the IT environment, accelerating innovation, and managing increased customer expectations.”
“The task complexity was daunting,” says Hamzeh Shaghlil, Technical Account Manager at Bespin Global MEA. “With the applications developed in-house by different developers using different technologies and tools, we had to identify the optimal migration strategy for each workload. Our options included rehosting, refactoring, revising, rebuilding, or retiring and replacing applications based on a structured approach.”
Having already leveraged AWS Well-Architected to assess the client’s environment during their initial engagement, Bespin was aware of the limitations of the customer’s on-premises environment in terms of reliability, security, performance efficiency, cost optimization, and operational excellence.
“The first step was to evaluate each workload using our proven cloud readiness assessment,” explains Shaghlil. “For each application, we determined its purpose, number of users, technologies, resource consumption, costs, and integration capabilities and limitations. We also identified the application, data, network, and security dependencies, and determined how easy it would be to modify the application to run in the AWS cloud.”
Choosing the Right Strategy
After evaluating the client’s environment using Bespin’s proven cloud readiness assessment, the team decided to use two different approaches due to the number and variety of applications: refactoring and re-platforming.
Refactoring entails making significant changes to the application and its configuration to take advantage of cloud-native features to improve agility, performance, and scalability. This strategy may include rewriting the application to use purpose-built capabilities AWS offers for different workflows, or even going as far as breaking down a monolithic application into smaller microservices. Re-platforming, on the other hand, is more like a lift and reshape, as opposed to rehosting’s lift and shift. This strategy involves moving the application to the cloud with limited changes, while at the same time introducing some level of optimization to take advantage of the cloud environment.
“We decided to recommend refactoring for the customer’s instant messaging and customer engagement platforms,” explains Shaghlil, “since the organization wanted to scale the applications and take full advantage of AWS’s availability and scalability capabilities. For the other user-driven applications, we decided to re-platform to modernize the underlying infrastructure while reusing the resources the developers were accustomed to working with, including the legacy languages and development frameworks.
What we would do, however, was introduce automation to take advantage of the cloud and simplify the lifecycle management of the application.”
“Since it was a critical part of the client’s modernization journey,” says Hisham Sheikha, DevOps Engineer at Bespin Global MEA, “the internal IT project was a great opportunity for us to utilize our DevOps best practices and proven continuous integration and development (CI/CD) processes to simplify and streamline the migration.”
As a certified AWS DevOps Competency Partner, Bespin had already begun creating a DevOps roadmap for the customer. Plans included deploying infrastructure as code using AWS CloudFormation, optimizing configuration management using AWS AppConfig (a capability of AWS Systems Manager) and AWS OpsWorks, and automating the testing, management, and deployment of software with AWS CodeCommit, AWS CodeBuild, AWS CodeDeploy, and AWS CodePipeline.
“Combining CodeCommit, CodeBuild, CodeDeploy, and CodePipeline provides an end-to-end continuous integration and continuous delivery/deployment workflow,” adds Sokkar. “It allows the customer to deliver applications and services at a much faster pace compared to previously when they used legacy software development and infrastructure management processes.”
Migrating Internal IT
“After evaluating the applications, our proposed migration strategies, and the AWS services available,” states Shaghlil, “we settled on two primary AWS technologies; one for refactoring and one for re-platforming. For refactoring the client’s customer engagement and instant messaging platforms, we chose Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS).
For re-platforming the other applications, we decided to use AWS Elastic Beanstalk.”
Since refactoring entails making changes to the application to take advantage of cloud-native capabilities, Bespin used Amazon ECS, a highly scalable fully-managed container orchestration service. ECS simplifies the deployment, management, and scaling of containerized Docker applications, enabling you to schedule container placement across a cluster based on resource needs and availability requirements.
As a lift and reshape tool, AWS Elastic Beanstalk is an easy-to-use service for deploying and scaling web applications and services developed with common programming languages on familiar platforms. Elastic Beanstalk automatically handles everything from capacity provisioning, load balancing, and auto-scaling to application health monitoring. Migrating is as simple as uploading the code and letting Elastic Beanstalk do the rest while retaining complete control over the AWS resources used. In addition, Elastic Beanstalk is free; all you pay for are the AWS resources needed to store and run your applications.
RESULTS & BENEFITS
“Despite initially appearing daunting,” says Shaghlil, “the migration went relatively smoothly. Sure, we had a few hiccups, but, in hindsight, the migration strategies and technology choices we made were the right ones. In addition, our migration and DevOps consultants came to the party, leveraging their expertise and best practices to ensure a successful project meeting the customer’s business goals.”
Migrating the client’s internal IT to AWS has already realized significant business benefits. With everything available as a service, the customer can now innovate faster with increased agility and flexibility. They also have a simplified IT environment with more control over their resource requirements and costs, and better consumption management.
“One of the best things about the internal IT migration project,” adds Al Aaraj, “is that the client is better able to manage customer expectations. With the old, on-premises environment, it wasn’t easy to provide a fast, consistent user experience across all applications. But now that they’re running in a modern, scalable cloud environment, the customer has been able to deliver immediate business results, including a significant reduction in costs.”
About Bespin Global, an e& enterprise company:
An AWS Premier Tier Services Partner and AWS Managed Service Partner, BESPIN GLOBAL MEA (Middle East and Africa) is a leading provider of automated cloud solutions and consulting services, including cloud adoption, strategy, migration, implementation, Managed Services, DevOps, FinOps and Data & Analytics. Bespin is positioned as a Leader in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Infrastructure Professional and Managed Services, as well as a “Visionary” in Gartner’s 2022 Magic Quadrant for IT Transformation Services.
In late 2022, Bespin Global MEA and e& enterprise formed a joint venture with the aim to assist enterprises in their digital transformation journey and eventually become the largest pure-play public cloud-managed and professional services provider in the Middle East, Turkey, Africa, and Pakistan.
Bespin’s cloud FinOps management platform, OpsNow offers an automated end-to-end solution for customers to effectively manage cloud assets and costs, optimize cloud expenses, and automate the implementation of cloud governance policies across multi-cloud environments.
Address: The Offices 4, #138-139, One Central, Dubai World Trade Center (DWTC)
Telephone: 800 BESPIN (237746)
P.O. Box: 340729