Convey Services: Modern cloud management strategy supports scaling of virtual event platform

Convey Services: Modern cloud management strategy supports scaling of virtual event platform

Modern cloud management resolves scalability, reliability, and performance – opening new market opportunities for growth

Cloud Conventions migrated their virtual event services to a new Amazon Web Services (AWS) environment to improve performance and reliability, as well as to rapidly scale in response to customer demand. However, the company soon realized that the ongoing monitoring, optimization, and management of their new AWS environment involved complexities beyond their internal capabilities. Cloud Conventions engaged Effectual as an experienced cloud partner to provide modern managed services expertise.

About Cloud Conventions

Cloud Conventions from Convey Services is an enterprise virtual/hybrid event management platform that redefines the exhibitor and attendee experience to allow companies to provide easy access to in-depth product information, showcase their brands with graphics and videos, create calls to action, and generate immediate sales leads. Used around the world for large managed events and smaller self-directed meetings, conferences and corporate kickoffs, Cloud Conventions automates exhibitors and virtual booths, continuing education, speaker sessions and reminders, invitations and email communication, while at the same time producing detailed analytics on attendee, session and exhibitor activity.

The Challenge

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Cloud Conventions was in a unique position to provide a sophisticated virtual event platform to replace a growing list of live events cancelled due to the new restrictions on live gatherings. While demand for their services was growing rapidly, the company began encountering performance and reliability challenges – including outages on their hosted infrastructure.

Despite Cloud Conventions’ repeated requests to address these urgent issues, the existing hosting provider was unresponsive. The company learned that the provider had them on a hypervisor that was out-of-date and obsolete and that they would not be able to upgrade for over 30 days. With numerous high-profile conferences in the US and around the globe scheduled within the next several weeks, this response was unacceptable.

Choosing the AWS Cloud for improved scalability and reliability

To resolve these issues and establish a secure, scalable environment capable of growing with customer demand, Cloud Conventions made the decision to migrate immediately to the AWS Cloud as a lift-and-shift move – with plans to pursue application and database modernization efforts in the near future.

Engaging Effectual to manage, modernize, and optimize workloads

Soon after Cloud Conventions’ development team finished migrating workloads to AWS, they realized they needed a partner with advanced cloud expertise to properly manage the new environment.

An AWS Premier Consulting Partner, Effectual is a cloud first professional and managed services company with a primary objective to enable modernization and solve business challenges with cloud technologies. Effectual’s Modernization Engineers™ deliver expert support and critical guidance on workload performance, acting as an extension of customer internal IT resources. The company also identifies opportunities to optimize security, operations, and cloud spend.

For Cloud Conventions, Effectual’s expertise and capabilities matched their needs precisely.

Adopting Effectual’s Modern Cloud Management Platform

After conducting an initial analysis of Cloud Conventions’ new AWS environment to ensure it was configured correctly, Effectual helped the company develop and implement a modern cloud strategy for governing the use of cloud services across their organization. This included onboarding Cloud Conventions to Effectual’s Modern Cloud Management platform to manage and monitor the health of their workloads, as well as to guide their cloud usage.

Effectual’s platform was developed using recommended controls by the Center for Internet Security (CIS) in conjunction with the AWS Well Architected Framework. The solution also applies Infrastructure as Code automation to deploy and manage customer environments. 

As a Modern Cloud Management customer, Cloud Conventions receives the following services and support:

  • Security & Compliance Management
    Effectual helps Cloud Conventions maintain a trusted security posture across dynamic cloud workloads by leveraging DevOps automation and continuous asset discovery, offering complete visibility into the managed environment.
  • Operations Management
    Effectual ensures that Cloud Conventions is maximizing cloud usage with streamlined procurement, cost management, monitoring, and support, including monthly and quarterly reviews to identify areas for improvement.
  • Shared Responsibility
    Effectual has helped Cloud Conventions establish a clear delineation of responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed tasks across their organization and the Modern Cloud Management platform (this includes 24 x 7 x 365 Security Operations Center (SOC) and customer support).

Solutions & Outcomes

  • Guided the company through Effectual’s Cornerstone Process, establishing the foundation of the customer relationship as well as a baseline understanding of Cloud Conventions’ existing environment
  • Onboarded Cloud Conventions’ to Effectual’s Modern Cloud Management service to ensure security, compliance, availability, and cost optimization for the company’s variable workload
  • Assumed management of the existing AWS environment including Amazon EC2 instances, Amazon RDS, and other web delivery services
  • Launched 24/7/365 support
  • Improved availability and fault tolerance by scaling out to multiple Availability Zones (AZ) in RDS, providing a highly available database solution
  • Utilized AWS Elasticache for Redis to store application session data, allowing Cloud Conventions to scale services more economically and handle unpredictable traffic spikes
  • Deployed Amazon CloudFront for secure, fast delivery of Cloud Conventions’ static, dynamic, and Video on-Demand content at a data transfer volume of 1 GB/month
  • Implemented Amazon S3 for increased scalability and data availability
  • Identified CIS compliance benchmarks that were non-compliant and prioritized them for remediation
  • Leveraged Qualys patch management to ensure that EC2’s remained hardened after deployment
  • To establish guardrails and security control policies for continuous compliance, deployed Amazon Control Tower – if changes are made to the environment that move them into non-compliance, Cloud Conventions will receive an automated email notification
  • Set up application monitoring and logging with Amazon CloudWatch to ensure a holistic view of operational health as well as the ability to respond to changes and optimize resources
  • Deployed AWS CloudTrail to log and monitor access to AWS services through the console
  • Used AWS Config to run continuous compliance checks using CSI, PCI, HIPAA, and GDPR benchmarks by means of conformance packs applicable to Cloud Conventions’ needs

Summary

Effectual’s modern cloud management services not only resolved Cloud Conventions’ scalability, reliability, and performance issues, but also allowed their development team to refocus time and energy on other core initiatives and opportunities. 

In addition, by moving to AWS with ongoing cloud management support from Effectual, the company can meet strict regulatory compliance for PCI, HIPAA, CIS, and GDPR. This has opened new opportunities for Cloud Conventions’ to bid contracts and expand its business into international markets.

Most importantly, Cloud Conventions can now onboard new customers and deliver engaging, high-quality virtual event services with the confidence that their infrastructure is well-managed, closely monitored, and optimized for the AWS Cloud.

Interested in learning more about our Modern Cloud Management services? Contact us

SpiraLinks: Rapid migration to AWS unlocks new cloud-native capabilities

SpiraLinks: Rapid migration to AWS unlocks new cloud-native capabilities

SpiraLinks offers tailored consulting services for projects, technical event, and implementation management to Fortune 500 companies, including designing, installing, and hosting secure web-based systems for human resources, compensation, and finance teams. The company’s FocalReview® planning suite is a leader in compensation and performance management, supporting customers in the US and beyond.

The Challenge

Driven primarily by the upcoming consolidation and closure of the data center hosting its product platform, SpiraLinks had made the strategic decision to migrate its infrastructure to the AWS Cloud. This included three application servers, a legacy Oracle database environment, and an older standalone Windows application. The company also had several virtual machines that were being retired by their MSP.

SpiraLinks recognized that a successful migration would provide an opportunity to modernize its technology stack and leverage new AWS capabilities to better serve its customers. However, without the internal resources to accomplish the move, the company needed to engage a partner with the technical resources and expertise to achieve the migration.

Benefits of the AWS Cloud

The company chose to migrate to an AWS environment to increase efficiencies, improve security and compliance, and optimize costs. In addition, the SpiraLinks wanted to access new AWS Native services to modernize and evolve its business.

Outsourcing Migration Expertise to Effectual

To achieve these business objectives, SpiraLinks partnered with Effectual to lead its migration and modernization efforts. Effectual is a cloud first, security first managed and professional services company and AWS Premier Consulting Partner with deep expertise leading complex migrations and managing modern cloud environments across VMware, VMware Cloud on AWS, and native AWS environments.

Solutions & Outcomes

  • Completed a full migration of customer-facing applications from on-prem infrastructure to a new, modern, secure AWS environment in less than a month.
  • For applications:
    • Deployed all new modern Linux and Windows servers in separate VPCs for improved security
    • Configured Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS)for the three Linux EC2 instances hosting Wildfly (formerly JBoss)
  • For Oracle database server:
    • Migrated all data from legacy Oracle environment
    • Upgraded and deployed database into a new Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), allowing for adoption of Session Manager for accessing application servers (improving security and decreasing costs) and providing added functionality with real-time performance insights
    • Increased the security layout of the data environment by isolating it in its own private subnet and restricting access
    • Restricted access via approved ports from application servers
    • Deployed to a single AWS RDS instance with individual database schemas
  • Replicated and enhanced mail sending capabilities to utilize Fluent Ltd. mail relay service.
  • Increased security due to inherited ISO certification from AWS.
  • Created an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)group and defined the IAM policy to provide SpiraLinks developers with access to the AWS Systems Manager Agent(SSM). Once the IAM groups and policies were configured, shared initial login credentials with the primary SpiraLinks contact and configured Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to enhance solution security.
  • Deployed and configured CloudTrail and CloudWatch EC2 log streams to monitor instances, and also configured email alerting for these services.
  • Configured Amazon Data Lifecyle Manager (Lifecycle) to take snapshots, with a rolling 14-day retention period.
  • Established a clearer understanding of data needs as well as the specific benefits of AWS environment and services in order to make informed choices.

Summary

Through its partnership with Effectual, SpiraLinks was able to achieve a rapid migration of its infrastructure to the AWS Cloud and avoid unexpected downtimes associated with the closure of its MSP’s data center. The migration to an AWS environment provided opportunities to improve security, increase efficiencies, and optimize costs while opening new pathways to modernizing using AWS native services and capabilities.

Next Steps

Moving forward, SpiraLinks will utilize the newer, more secure AWS environment for its many tools and benefits in accordance with the constantly changing business and operational requirements of the SpiraLinks client base. Specifically, compliance and data protection/privacy will be evolving challenges for SpiraLinks and the client base. The AWS environment has been chosen as an excellent “base of operations” to meet those challenges.

SpiraLinks will continue to work with Effectual as a Modernization Service Provider to utilize their expertise in addressing the company’s long-term goals and challenges. In addition, SpiraLinks and Effectual have developed an evolving roadmap that includes further modernization efforts to increase automation, availability, reliability, and security – further establishing the position of SpiraLinks as an industry leader.

Verdant Web Technologies: Seamless Integration with Amazon EC2 for Microsoft Windows

Verdant Web Technologies: Seamless Integration with Amazon EC2 for Microsoft Windows

An enterprise level company, Verdant provides management software solutions that track, access, and update facility Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) compliance and sampling information. With a rapidly growing customer base, the company was beginning to confront scalability, reliability, and performance challenges that could not be solved with their existing on premise infrastructure.

Verdant engaged Effectual to conduct a Well-Architected Framework review as well as to develop and execute a strategy for migrating their Microsoft tech stack to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud.

Migrating to AWS with an existing Microsoft technology stack

Verdant recognized the importance of leveraging AWS services to address increasing customer demand and scalability issues. At the same time, it was critical that the company migrate their existing Microsoft technology stack. This was a requirement for two reasons:

  1. All of Verdant’s technical engineers already used Microsoft (.NET and SQL Server)
  2. The company’s industry clients had tools integrated with Microsoft and were loyal to their solutions

With an experienced team of Microsoft and AWS certified developers, Effectual was confident a seamless  integration with AWS services was possible.

Using Amazon EC2 to build a scalable framework

Using Amazon EC2 for Microsoft Windows Server, we rewrote Verdant’s entire on-premise workload to AWS and built a scalable framework that addressed their business challenges. To accomplish this, our team:

  • Leveraged IIS and the .NET framework
  • Kept the company’s SQL Server but hosted it on Amazon RDS for SQL Server to improve capacity, decrease costs, and reduce database administration
  • Automated their deployment using Jenkins and Elastic Beanstalk – like their enterprise clients, they were using Active Directory for user authentication which we were able to easily integrate with SAML

As a result, Verdant was able to stay with a Microsoft technology stack their internal team and customers trusted and were familiar with while taking advantage of the compute capacity of the AWS cloud. Because we began with an existing framework, we were also able to complete the migration far more quickly and focus on adding value with a customized solution.

Verdant Web Technologies: DevOps & AWS tools improve scalability, profitability, and customer experience

Verdant Web Technologies: DevOps & AWS tools improve scalability, profitability, and customer experience

Verdant offers management software solutions to track, access, and update facility Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) compliance and sampling information. With a growing customer base and a maturing product, the company was starting to encounter big DevOps and infrastructure challenges that threatened to slow its market momentum.

Verdant’s migration of thought and concept demanded a far more scalable model. To the Effectual team, it was clear that the AWS platform could help them pivot and evolve.

Standardized architecture improves DevOps

Verdant’s primary pain point was architecture. With six different code bases unique to each client, the company updated code changes manually, published them out to 10+ web servers, and ran its SQL scripts on multiple databases. The process was overwhelming their team, impacting scalability, and preventing them from writing new features. The company’s IP also lived with a single developer, creating some vulnerability. Our team immediately got to work rewriting the company’s software with multi-tenant support, allowing different organizations to manage their data separately but with a standardized code base.

Results

  • Streamlined DevOps by automating the deployment/development process with a build server and rapid deployment tools
  • Created a faster, more reliable migration to the AWS Cloud
  • Leveraged AWS for greater security and global redundancies to safeguard against potential downtimes
  • IP knowledge is now shared broadly by Verdant’s entire team so the company is no longer reliant on one person to protect its IP
  • The ability to scale rapidly to meet customer demand

“Effectual has been an amazing partner in the development of our enterprise platform which is now our life blood. Along with their responsiveness, solution engineering depth and capabilities we appreciate their tight management of project budgets and schedules. Effectual is a valued resource and critical part of the Verdant Team!”  
                 
– Ron Petti / President, Verdant Web Technologies

Eliminating hardware lowers cost of customer acquisition

Before deploying AWS, it took Verdant weeks to onboard new clients with a process that required significant hardware investments. Infrastructure was a fixed asset regardless of the number of clients. Our solutions turned infrastructure into an operating cost and eliminated hardware altogether.

Results

  • Reduced new client onboarding from 2 weeks to 1 hour
  • Eliminated need for costly hardware
  • Decreased customer acquisition costs

Scalable solution allows for fast response to market demand

For Verdant, the timing for the project couldn’t have been better. Shortly after its completion, the company’s client base exploded overnight when schools around the US were compelled to perform extensive drinking water testing in reaction to the national crises in Flint Michigan. The revelation resulted in stricter reporting requirements and EH&S monitoring across Oregon, driving sudden intense demand for Verdant’s software solutions. With Effectual’s help, the company was well positioned to capitalize on incoming project opportunities, which resulted in a national award (with Environmental Business Journal).

Results

  • AWS solutions such as Elastic Beanstalk support continuous development and innovation and help Effectual manage multiple application environments for the development/testing/release cycle
  • Increased customer satisfaction with ability to quickly add new functionalities

Satellite Imagery Analysis Simplified with Serverless Infrastructure

Satellite Imagery Analysis Simplified with Serverless Infrastructure

Effectual worked with a Federal Government customer to provide a mission critical solution that simplified its Land Satellite sensor processing software of the Earth’s land surface.

The images provide uninterrupted data to help land managers and policymakers make informed decisions about our natural resources and the environment.

The Challenge

A Federal Government customer looked to us to migrate its on-premises infrastructure to a Serverless infrastructure in AWS to ensure cost optimization, availability, and application performance while logging satellite images.

The Solution

Our team implemented AWS Lambda, AWS Batch, Kubernetes, and Amazon EKS. This ensured the client’s ability to collect satellite images that would be used to help scientists track land change due to climate, urbanization, drought, wildfire, and biomass changes.

The Benefits

Cost Optimization

We implemented AWS Lambda to run code without servers. By implementing Serverless infrastructure the client was able to reduce cost by 80%.

Availability

Our team implemented Kubernetes to provide automated container orchestration and higher availability across multiple regions. This allowed users – both domestic and abroad – to access satellite photos more efficiently via the web for personal and private use.

Application Performance

We set up serverless storage to compact the client’s satellite imagery retrieval process from 2 weeks to 2 hours.

Application Migration: Service Employees International Union

Application Migration: Service Employees International Union

When flooding took out SEIU‘s New York data center, the national nonprofit needed a plan for migrating to the AWS cloud

Through third-party and cloud-native tools, we provided the infrastructure, resources, and products necessary for an efficient application migration.

Challenge

The national nonprofit serves branches of the organization with centralized IT based out of its New York offices. When NYC was hit by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, it led to flooding of the organization’s data center, housed in the basement of the building. The resulting outage took a week to recover from. The nonprofit needed a cloud-based backup solution and rapid application migration to ensure that it could be prepared against future disasters.

Solution

We began with an assessment of the organization’s data center posture, then created a migration plan and proposed architecture to support the nonprofit moving forward in AWS. We configured VPCs, subnets, networking, and configured access policies. We also connected a third-party disaster recovery service to ensure consistent synching of information between on-premises and cloud servers.

The Benefits

Peace of Mind

After going without its critical IT infrastructure for a week, the nonprofit had confidence its cloud infrastructure would be highly available.

Data Replication

The AWS infrastructure included VPN connectivity to the on-premises network in order to replicate Active Directory and SQL databases to ensure ongoing operations.

VPN Tunneling

In addition to an initial VPN connection, our team configured remote VPN connectivity from field offices in seven east coast cities to ensure all users could access the environment in the event of a failure.

Cloud-based Solution Supports Early Warning Alerts for Earthquakes

Cloud-based Solution Supports Early Warning Alerts for Earthquakes

Effectual delivered a mission-critical solution to a Federal Government Client that ensured the delivery of early warning alert notifications for earthquakes and other natural disasters over multiple geographical locations to save lives.

This could not have been done without a Cloud-based solution to ensure a resilient system.

The Challenge

This Federal Government customer required a move from its on-premises infrastructure to a centralized Cloud environment. The client looked to our team to handle high availability architecture and fault tolerance to meet workloads over multiple geographical locations quickly after a natural disaster. The solution required improved resilience and redundancy capabilities, application performance, and control monitoring.

The Solution

Our team built out a highly available and scalable infrastructure to meet demand in the wake of a disaster. We utilized the customer’s containerized solution and created a pipeline leveraging a GitLab Runner in Amazon Web Services (AWS) to manipulate and manage the AWS Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) deployments. This ensured the client’s ability to deliver early warnings for natural disasters through their application.

The Benefits

Resilience

Our team configured Amazon CloudWatch metrics to identify a surge in traffic in the event of a disaster. This fully integrated AWS service is built with more resilience. Kubernetes was implemented to provide automated container orchestration and higher availability to reach across multiple regions.

Application Performance

We created a proprietary AWS-hosted Git solution to do all the linking, testing, and delivery to code. Our solution increased the rate at which the client released updates to the solution by 90%.

Control Monitoring

We deployed a GitLab Runner in conjunction with GitLab Continuous Integration to ensure all applications were provisioned through a pipeline. These necessary changes led to extreme version control and expediting developer updates.

Predictive Analytics: Volcanic Activity Analyzed Through Moving Magma

Predictive Analytics: Volcanic Activity Analyzed Through Moving Magma

Effectual delivered a mission-critical solution to a federal government client that ensured their sensor processing software was able to predict volcanic activity through moving magma.

This information is used to help scientists forecast seismic activity over multiple geographical locations. This could not have been done without a Cloud-based solution to ensure a resilient system.

The Challenge

Our customer required a move from its on-premises infrastructure to a centralized Cloud environment in AWS. They looked to our team to handle high availability architecture and fault tolerance to meet workloads over many geographical locations quickly after a natural disaster.

The Solution

We provided a highly available and scalable infrastructure that ensured efficiency in wake of volcanos and other natural disasters. This sensor processing solution ensured predictive analytics, resilience, and scalability.

The Benefits

Predictive Analytics

We worked with the customer to create a solution that ensured the user could collect volcano data to analyze and utilize for machine learning to better predict when volcanoes erupt.

Resilience

Our team configured Amazon CloudWatch metrics to identify a surge in traffic in the event of a disaster. Kubernetes was implemented to provide automated container orchestration and higher availability to reach across multiple regions.

Scalability

We configured EC2 instances that ensure adequate capacity to meet traffic demands and compute capacity. Our team automated launch configurations to allow the client to quickly launch and/or scale application servers in target environments in the future.

Bird Conservation Science Enabled by Automated Monitoring and Analysis of Migration Patterns

Bird Conservation Science Enabled by Automated Monitoring and Analysis of Migration Patterns

Effectual led a Federal Government client in need of automation, reliability, and efficiency for their bird identification website.

The customer supports the collection, archiving, management and dissemination of information from banded and marked birds in North America. This information is used to monitor the status and trends of resident and migratory bird populations.

The Challenge

This Federal Government customer required a move from its on-premises infrastructure to a centralized cloud environment. The client looked to our team to redesign their website, creating a system that would produce automated checks to save time and manual effort when registering banded and checked birds into the database.

The Solution

Our team assisted the customer in creating a system that would require minimal effort to keep up and running for years. This system saved time and manual effort through the implementation of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) to automate cron jobs for repetitive tasks to push all submitted web surveys from bird hunters and enthusiasts to the on-premises database. When banded birds were checked in, the system would be able to ensure the identification was correct, eliminating the need to manually check that information.

The Benefits

Automation

We utilized Amazon EC2 to automate database syncing. This allowed the bird banding lab to be more efficient when a bird was reported on their website. The client no longer needed to manually log and input the bird species. AWS CloudFormation was implemented to reduce manual work while developing an environment, ensuring productivity when debugging issues.

Efficiency

We used GitLab Continuous Integration in conjunction with GitLab Continuous Deployment to check code for errors, expediting developer changes.

Reliability

Our team implemented Amazon CloudWatch Events for serverless workflow to trigger Lambda functions. Without having to provision or manage, the client was able to keep the same server running by keeping it warm with a CloudWatch Event. This reduced response times from 3 seconds to a couple hundred milliseconds.

Serverless Infrastructure Enables Data Access Related to Environmental Issues

Serverless Infrastructure Enables Data Access Related to Environmental Issues

The Challenge

This Federal Government customer looked to our team to migrate its on-premises infrastructure to a serverless infrastructure on AWS. The client was in need of a centralized data catalog, management solution for users, and data access for environmental issues.

The Solution

We supported the client with a serverless solution that consisted of Amazon API Gateway, Amazon Cognito User Pools, AWS Lambda, and AWS Step Functions. This ensured the customer’s ability to make high-volume, complex data accessible to stakeholders, policymakers, and managers to facilitate data-driven conversations about environmental issues in a secure setting.

The Benefits

Application Performance

Our team implemented API Gateway to handle the tasks involved in accepting and processing up to hundreds of thousands of concurrent API calls to process any surge of traffic on its website.

User Identification

We implemented AWS Cognito User Pools for control over user authentication and user access for the website. This allowed for secure token handling and management of authenticated users from all identity providers.

Cost Optimization

We implemented Lambda functions to run code in a serverless environment and process its large data sets related to environmental issues. The client was able to reduce cost by 80%.

TNTP Application Migration to the AWS Cloud

TNTP Application Migration to the AWS Cloud

TNTP’s mission is to end the injustice of educational inequality by providing excellent teachers to the students who need them most and by advancing policies and practices that ensure effective teaching in every classroom.

Challenge

In the wake of a flooding, TNTP looked to Effectual to quickly and effectively move their public-facing web applications and internal applications to the AWS cloud for better cost, scalability, disaster recovery capabilities, and better application performance.

Solution

Effectual worked with TNTP to define a migration strategy, set up the infrastructure in accordance with best practices and to take advantage of the full feature set of cloud, and provided scripts to automate future updates and deployments. Effectual introduced TNTP to the Infrastructure as Code model so that they could version control the state of their infrastructure through the use of AWS CloudFormation templates and take advantage of AWS’ built-in resource dependency definitions to perform rolling updates with minimal downtime or system impact.

The Benefits

Cost Efficiency

TNTP experienced lower costs for running their workloads in the cloud compared to on-premise IT hardware and maintenance costs. Effectual assisted TNTP to utilize cloud purchasing options and offerings to meet TNTP’s technical requirements while remaining cost-efficient.

Scalability

The use of the AWS cloud provided capabilities for flexible infrastructure to allow accommodation of various sizes of workloads. The infrastructure used AWS Auto Scaling capabilities along with custom settings in AWS CloudWatch to automatically scale to accommodate larger workloads while retaining transparency of the scaling activities to the end user.

Disaster Recovery

Failover capabilities and strategies such as the use of AWS Elastic Load Balancing within AWS were implemented to protect the system, maximize uptime, and minimizes data loss in the event of a disaster. Notifications, alarms, and safeguards were put in place to ensure immediate notification of any abnormal behavior.

Applications Rearchitected in AWS to Automate Security Triggers

Applications Rearchitected in AWS to Automate Security Triggers

Effectual led a Federal Government client in their journey from on-premises to AWS by extending their data center into the cloud and rearchitecting their applications.

Effectual provided guidance in the following areas

  • Implementing Automation for the client.
  • Creating a new AWS infrastructure and environment.
  • Updating and retooling current applications.
  • Building the solution as a receiver and retooling specific applications to function in the new environment.
  • Interpreting and providing additional information and understanding of features that are new and being developed as it pertains to their issues.

Our Team Leveraged the following technologies

  • AWS CloudFormation templates were created for DevOps
  • Organizations and AWS Config for management of the system
  • AWS CloudTrail and Amazon CloudWatch were utilized for automating security recommendations
  • Amazon CloudWatch was programmed to alert the client if changes were made in their system. The response would trigger the system to return to original configurations and alert security to these changes.
  • AWS infrastructure resources, EC2 instances and RDS database infrastructures
 

The Benefits

Migration to the Cloud

We rebuilt client applications in the AWS Cloud to connect to their on-premises data. This made their applications more accessible by all and created a working hybrid environment for their data.

Security Improvements

We deployed AWS infrastructure services, including Amazon CloudWatch to monitor resources and trigger responses to changes in the environment.

Management of Resources

The services in AWS monitor both on-premises and AWS cloud environments. The time to build components in the environment was significantly reduced and instances were saved as a template for repeatability.

 

Disaster Response: UAV Imagery Alerts

Disaster Response: UAV Imagery Alerts

Effectual delivered a mission-critical solution to a client that ensured the delivery of UAV imagery taken from infrastructure towers that were used to alert high risk fire areas of a wildfire and other natural disasters.

The Challenge

Our customer required a move from its on-premises infrastructure to a centralized AWS Cloud environment. They looked to us to handle high availability architecture and fault tolerance to meet workloads over many geographical locations. We automated common activities such as change requests, monitoring, patch management, security, and backup services, and provided full-lifecycle services to provision, run, and support enterprise infrastructure.

The Solution

We provided a client with Technical Amazon Web Services Infrastructure architecture to deliver a comprehensive, secure, and cost-effective hosting solution for supporting their efforts with Pacific Power. In addition, our team delivered Managed Services for the customer’s AWS environment. This assisted with the client’s ability to deploy drones to inspect the infrastructure of electrical towers and ensure their efficiency in wake of natural disasters.

The Benefits

Resilience

The implementation of Amazon CloudWatch Events for serverless workflow to trigger Lambda functions. Drones are programmed to deploy and inspect electrical towers to ensure that they are performing correctly.

Cost Optimization

We created a proprietary AWS-hosted solution in order for the customer to lower costs by running their workloads in the cloud. Our team assisted the client to utilize cloud purchasing options and offerings to meet their technical requirements while remaining cost-efficient.

Scalability

We configured EC2 instances that ensure adequate capacity to meet traffic demands and compute capacity. The implementation of automated launch configurations to allow the client to quickly launch and/or scale application servers in target environments in the future.

ERP Disaster Recovery Solution on AWS

ERP Disaster Recovery Solution on AWS

A longtime leader in golf equipment and apparel needed to find an alternative disaster recovery solution for a new ERP system.

Finding itself with a number of legacy IT systems, the company was looking to upgrade their infrastructure in a number of areas. With an upcoming planned elimination of a corporate disaster recovery support platform, IT management saw an opportunity to investigate alternative solutions for their DR requirements.

“We wanted to upgrade our disaster-recovery capabilities in order to mitigate the chance of data loss in our mission-critical, enterprise resource planning or ERP system,” said the Director of Infrastructure and Services.

“We were looking at the concept of continuous data protection in both our onsite production and DR environments,” he added. The company also wanted to incorporate newer technology, which would allow for quickly scaling memory size, CPU and disk space – without having to purchase incremental hardware.

While they were using nightly backup and data replication for disaster recovery, the company envisioned a solution with a lower recovery point objective (RPO) through continuous replication. They required a best-of-breed disaster recovery environment to match the 99.99 percent uptime of their new Oracle ERP solution.

The planned elimination of a legacy DR platform provided an opportunity to modernize.

“From the very beginning, we were talking about instances and hourly costs. This was an entirely different approach from the colocation options we explored earlier.”

The Solution

To achieve their vision of a scalable DR environment, the company needed to look beyond colocation. Our experts helped the company focus on finding a suitable DR as a Service and cloud solution.

“For a long time, we did not think our requirements would work with Amazon. We required private networking and multiple nodes to be replicated synchronously, that seemed to defy implementation at a public cloud provider,” said the director of infrastructure and services.

To facilitate disaster recovery of its ERP database, the company decided on an Oracle Limited disaster recovery optimized solution. “We learned that the Oracle Limited solution was available to us at no cost when in sleep or standby state.”

AWS is an authorized cloud platform for Oracle — one of a very small number of approved cloud vendors.

It was the flexibility and willingness to share its operations expertise that attracted the company  to effectual’s team. “From the very beginning, we were talking about instances and hourly costs. This was an entirely different approach from the colocation options we explored earlier.”

An economical cloud-based, disaster-recovery environment offering the potential to do more with less.

The company deployed the architecture for its disaster recovery platform on Amazon Web Services. “We can even move between various Amazon data centers if needed for changing protection requirements – without incurring any data transfer charges.”

The Effectual team was able to build a custom, and cost-effective, DR environment harnessing the power of AWS. The company had a highly specific use case for the deployment of cloud resources for disaster recovery in an AWS environment. It was an ideal opportunity for Effectual to architect and secure an optimized solution at scale.

Social Media App Migration to AWS

Social Media App Migration to AWS

Transforming an existing legacy environment and building it natively on AWS.

A leading social media company’s apps explore the humanness of people instead of simply quantifying how good they are, or judging how professional their work may be. Users can upload their work directly to their platform, using it to edit photos, with enhancements – including white-balancing, filters and journaling – readily available. One user documented his mother’s fight with cancer, displaying the emotions he and his family felt during a very trying time.

In 2015, the company acquired a platform that creates tangible photo books, prints and gifts for digital photos. The platform was using a non-native environment and didn’t believe it was the right strategic technology in the long term. The combined companies have more than 30 million monthly active users across its platform consuming 5 billion images. Reliable infrastructure users can depend on is essential. The company wanted to work with experts who to help them transform their existing legacy environment and build it cloud natively on AWS.

30 million monthly active users consuming 5 billion images

Reliable infrastructure users can depend on is essential. The company wanted to work with experts who to help them transform their existing non-native environment and build it cloud natively on AWS.

The companies DevOps team is very capable – they had significant experience with Chef, using it to configure their servers and developer machines –  but the transformation to AWS required resources the team just didn’t have.

The transformation to AWS required resources the company’s team just didn’t have.

30 million monthly active users consuming 5 billion images.

Reliable infrastructure users can depend on is essential. The company wanted to work with experts who to help them transform their existing non-native environment and build it cloud natively on AWS.

The Solution

Since the migration to AWS, the company has seen great benefits: “Operationally, AWS is faster and more configurable than what was being used,” said the VP of Engineering at the company. “The new environment is faster, more reliable, and cost efficient. All three are pretty important things!”

Most  importantly, this solution had a big impact on the stability of the company’s platform and by extension, it’s brand. Previously, the platform had experienced random reboots on several occasions. The successful migration to AWS allowed them to have confidence going into the holiday season, their most important quarter of the year.  Confidence in the reliability and performance of their platform allowed the company to focus on maintaining a great experience for their user community.

“The experts had both the attitude and the aptitude, and I feel as comfortable as I possibly could in having AWS as the long-term foundation for our infrastructure.”

Bring in the Experts

With the support of our experts the company was able to seamlessly migrate from its existing environment to AWS. From the start, the company was impressed with our experts knowledge and expertise. “They inspired a lot of confidence, and their team clearly had the technological expertise,” said the VP of Engineering. “We knew they could get the job done.”

Our experts leveraged their extensive experience with Vagrant and Packer to build a strong foundation for the company’s cloud native environment.  This enabled the company to emulate the user experience of their members. The insights they gained helped them improve their product, streamline their operations and deliver an optimized user experience.

“Technology expertise is the number one thing we look for when hiring an outside firm,” said the VP of Engineering. “The experts had both the attitude and the aptitude, and I feel as comfortable as I possibly could in having AWS as the long-term foundation for our infrastructure.”