Migration to the AWS Cloud
AWS Cloud migration is the process of moving data, applications or other business elements to the cloud computing environment of Amazon Web Services. We made this possible for Albron.
Albron is the biggest independent catering company with a rich history spanning across three centuries approached Synadia to build an environment for their proprietary solution in the AWS cloud and migrate the application using a “lift and shift” approach.
Synadia made migration possible and quick: all environments (test, acceptance and production) were built in less than two months using DevOps development method, fully re-architected and designed for failure.
This project brought Albron the following benefits:
The next step in the migration journey will be to refactor the application and, possibly, add some more features. The existing application will need to undergo significant refactoring, meaning rewriting significant portions of the application and database code.
Albron is the biggest independent catering company with a rich history spanning across three centuries, but formally established itself as a result of a merger of BRN and Service One Catering in 1997.
For over a hundred years people are enjoying Albron’s catering services. In the late 19th century the first canteens were created where coffee, hot chocolate and soup were sold. Albron still carries this social origin in its identity.
Albron currently employs around 5000 people and has services in approximately 1000 locations throughout the Netherlands. The Company offers food and beverages at outlets in banks, offices, hospitals, campuses, and parties.
Albron has made proprietary software solution to speed up the shopping experience. The solution consisted of digital price tags, personal shopping cards (passes) and an application. Customers used cards to select products they wanted to place in the virtual shopping cart and then used an application to adjust the content. Shopping cards were used to pay at the terminal (register) or, alternatively, it was possible to schedule an automatic payment.
The solution had been tested as part of Proof of Concent evaluation and was announced as a success. The next step was to build an environment for this solution in the cloud and migrate the application using a “lift and shift” approach. Proof of Concept evaluation indicated following challenges:
Variative service demands
The demand for service is not persistent with surging spikes during breakfast and lunch times. At the same time demand might be close to zero during some periods throughout a day. One of the challenges was to architect the cost-efficient solution which is able to adjust and cope with the service demand.
Loss of service during peak hours would result in a financial loss for Albron that is why one of the challenges was to architect the self-healing environment which is able to tolerate a loss of not only one, but two geographical locations.
This project was not about building and bringing the solution (infrastructure and application) to live, the challenge was to automate deployments and have several environments running in parallel. We had to enable Albron to test new features without any impact on production, be able to create equivalent to production environments without any extra effort in a short amount of time.
Albron made it clear that OS maintenance tasks should be in the past.
Albron contracted Synadia to advise on details for technical implementation for their software in the cloud. Synadia, being AWS partner, suggested Amazon Web Services (AWS) due to positive experience gained in previous projects with other customers.
The AWS cloud was ideal for Albron’s workloads, for inexpensive storage and compute. Albron did not have to maintain their own on-premises infrastructure, was able to benefit from Infrastructure as Code approach, agility and scalability. All of this enabled Albron to walk along with the innovation.
Migrating to Amazon Web Services (AWS) unlocked efficiencies and operational benefits: increased speed, reliability and better performance at the same time with lower costs than owning their own infrastructure! Albron was simply able to focus on their core business whereas technology matters were left for experts in this field.
“We chose Amazon Web Services because it enabled us to achieve what we wanted without deeply investing further into our local hardware.”
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WHY APN PARTNER
Albron and Synadia never partnered before, but due to transparency and friendliness of initial interaction, a simple consultancy job had overgrown into “lift and shift” migration project which Synadia had been given privilege to execute. Needless to day, it was a pleasure for Synadia to accept the challenge.
Synadia decided to build a three-tier solution in Ireland. VPC is spanned across three availability zones. Route 53 serves application requests and forwards them to CloudFront with Elastic Load Balancer serving as the origin. Elastic Load Balancer distributes requests across all zones based on the health of resources forming Web layer. Instead of classic EC2, Synadia used ECS Fargate clusters for Web layer for this project.
Redis ElastiCache was placed between Application and Database layers improving the performance of the solution by storing frequently accessed data items in memory, so that these items are retrieved without the need to query the database layer.
All infrastructure was deployed as code by Terraform using SSM to store all parameters necessary for the deployment job. S3 was used to store logs and Terraform state, SNS was used for notification purposes. The list of key services include: Relational Database Service (Aurora Serverless), ELB, NLB, ECS Container Service, VPC, ElastiCache, Route 53, CloudWatch, Key Management Service, ECR Container Registry (ECR), CloudFront, S3, SES and SSM Parameter Store.
“During the migration process Synadia and Albron acted as real partners. Synadia took this challenge seriously and performed the migration in time and within the budget.“
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RESULTS AND BENEFITS
The new solution runs in the Ireland region, it was built in less than two months using DevOps development method. It is fully re-architected, designed for failure and as a result:
“Synadia helped us to leave technology constraints behind and simply enabled us to focus on our core business!“
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As you have already learned, in this project Synadia just migrated the existing infrastructure into the AWS cloud and used ECS containers to run the current workloads. The next step in the migration journey will be to refactor the application and, possibly, add some more features..
The truth is that the current application and its databases were not built with SaaS in mind, that is why the next step is to go into the serverless world and further benefit from cost savings and flexibility. The existing application will need to undergo significant refactoring, meaning rewriting significant portions of the application and database code.
Peak service demands on the provided solution result in the automatic starting and stopping of additional resources, ensuring customers are not impacted by the additional load. Database, application and front-end are segregated and can be scaled up independently from each other.
Both Albron and Synadia have freed up valuable staff resources.
Synadia was able to provide incomparable to the old solution solution availability of the application by spanning resources across multiple availability zones and subnets that were previously run in one location and network.
Disaster Recovery is embedded into the design, there is no need for a separate DR environment.
About Synadia Software
Synadia is Select Consulting Partner founded in 2016 with a strong focus on serverless, IoT and industrial cloud solutions. Synadia is a young, ambitious and innovative company which firmly believes nothing is impossible.
The Synadia explorers use innovation to create new opportunities. To allow things to happen which their clients never thought possible before. Synadia’s ambition is to get advanced partner status next year. Synadia practices DevOps and Continuous Delivery in every project they do.