Private Equity Firm Requires Enterprise Cloud Hosting Expertise
This large multinational technology services firm was hosting hundreds of production applications and development/testing environments in AWS and Azure, both its own and those of its clients, with dozens of new applications being added annually. They needed help transitioning from a poorly understood and limited cloud strategy to something more streamlined and capable of handling this rapid influx of new clients and deliverables.
The company was unhappy with the effectiveness of their cloud strategy and was concerned that it would not support the short-term or long-term needs of their expanding business. They need help implementing a new cloud strategy that was built to last – one that was consistent, easy to manage, and capable of handling a flurry of new projects on the horizon. And until all existing applications were migrated to the new architecture, the legacy hosting infrastructures would need to be supported.
An additional challenge for this company was their current infrastructure was made up of a multitude of their own clients and sister organizations’ projects, each with their own SLAs, application architectures and implementation stacks. To make matters worse, these projects were spread across many different accounts and multiple cloud providers. SLAs and existing development timelines had to be maintained during the transition period. Managing this degree of complexity would require a broad cloud and infrastructure knowledgebase and a deep understanding of the software development lifecycle.
Enter Winmill. We were confident that we could build a new cloud architecture, migrate all existing applications, while managing the legacy hosted environments until they could be decommissioned. We would improve the overall effectiveness and robustness of the organization’s cloud strategy. Furthermore, we knew we could deliver a cost-effective solution that would fit within the organization’s strict budgets.
Leveraging our extensive institutional knowledge, experience and expertise in cloud, software development, project management and infrastructure services, we were able to quickly learn the existing cloud infrastructure. We were able to immediately assume responsibility for maintaining the SLAs and hosted architecture of their several hundred production applications.
In the meantime, we set to developing a flexible, extensible and sustainable cloud strategy in AWS and Azure. We strongly emphasized native cloud tools over third-party solutions. We shifted infrastructure components to serverless and managed services wherever possible. This included all static frontends, stateless REST APIs, and database resources. We secured the backend infrastructure using a private-first, public-by-exception philosophy as well as ensuring that all outside traffic was funneled through cloud native WAFs. We leveraged API gateways to allow a multitude of frontend client technologies (mobile, web, cli, etc.) to securely interact with RESTful endpoints running as stateless, serverless atomic functions. This approach was both more secure and much easier to manage since we were able to eliminate much of the OS management required in a traditional architecture. Given this private-first philosophy, a robust point-to-site VPN solution was required. We implemented a product which could be deployed to any number of virtual networks and cloud accounts using cloud-native automation, all while being centrally managed from a single interface. The cloud CI/CD strategy also shifted to a cloud-native-tools-first philosophy. All of the new DevOps pipelines were built using managed services which no longer required support infrastructure. The deployment targets shifted from a complex clustering system built on top of traditional virtual machines, to natively scalable and fully cloud-integrated deployment environments which required no additional software to learn or maintain.
As part of our standard delivery protocol, we fully documented the new cloud architectures and provided knowledge transfer to the client development teams. This would help to avoid technical silos and loss of institutional knowledge in the future.
The new cloud strategy was designed and implemented in just two (2) months. Within 10 months Winmill had migrated 100% of the company’s existing applications and retired the disparate legacy infrastructures. During the transition, Winmill supported the legacy systems and met all SLAs and existing project deadlines. Today, new applications are built directly in the new cloud infrastructure using native AWS and Azure tools. Applications that the company inherits through acquisition or from clients are immediately deployed in the cloud using documented, standardized methodologies.
Because the architecture is standardized, efficient and highly automated, Winmill is able to manage it with a surprisingly small team. The company estimates that the new cloud architecture is saving them in excess of a quarter million dollars per year.
This company is winning new business on an unprecedented scale, due in no small part to their demonstrable success with their existing client base, and their ability to present a flexible, extensible, and proven solution.
Within 10 months Winmill had migrated 100% of the company’s existing applications and retired the disparate legacy infrastructures.