Our client, a large financial investment firm, provides financial services and handles multi-billion-dollar assets. The organization had multiple websites running Drupal with a third-party vendor. The vendor provided a custom setup that was riddled with issues such as slow response times, excessive downtime, and high operating costs. As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with such experience, AIS was engaged to perform a Drupal lift and shift operation for the websites along with a CI/CD setup across multiple environments.
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As soon as AIS started the requirement gathering, it was clear that we were going to migrate the websites and databases to a PaaS-based model. Microsoft Azure was deemed the best choice given the plethora of options available for websites. The customer also already had an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft Azure, making it the perfect fit.
The client had several modifications which required explicit use of Apache Webserver, along with Drush, PHP 7.1 and they needed room for future modifications. People working with Drupal should be quite familiar with that—Drush is often known as the “Swiss Army Knife” for Drupal.
Selecting the Perfect Azure Offerings
Initially, we came up with the following options:
- Create Virtual Machines Hosting Web Servers & Databases
- Modify the modules requiring Apache and then host the websites on Windows/IIS based Web Apps
- Azure Web App for Containers
Option 1 meant that we had to set up the entire infrastructure from scratch. Setting up the infrastructure from scratch wasn’t an issue, but the overhead of maintenance and costs afterward made us look for other alternatives.
Option 2 required quite some rework, and our previous experience taught us that Drush has hiccups when running on Windows-based hosts.
Option 3 was the best choice because it allowed us to write a custom Docker image with Apache, PHP 7.1, Drush and give the room for future modifications. It was the perfect balance of customization, maintenance overhead and costs. We also got added benefits like:
- Automated backups handled by Azure
- Continuous Deployment handled by the magic of Kudu
- Detailed metrics like Response time, number of requests etc. (Who doesn’t love detailed metrics??)
- Auto-scaling and more!
The Immediate Benefits of the Drupal Lift and Shift
This is the section which should most interest all of you readers. After moving the sites over to Azure, we immediately noticed a huge drop in…
- Time to deploy to various environments
- Response time. The response time came down to ~350 milliseconds from almost 1 second and above.
- The site was overall much faster…and the best part was that the client’s earlier infrastructure had four cores but this new set up only had two cores and 3.5GB of RAM.
Over the period of almost 20 days, the container served almost 4.6 million requests without breaking a sweat, as you can see from the below graph of CPU/RAM usage:
Figure 1 Mind you, this App Service plan runs another website!
Check Out Our Successes
Read the full story, Investment services firm migrates websites to cloud to save money, improve reliability or check out our library of featured success stories! If you’re interested in what AIS can do for you, contact us today and tell us about the challenges you’re facing. There’s an excellent chance we can help.