AIS Delivers an Azure PaaS Solution to Enhance Agility and Time to Market

AIS has been engaged with a large insurance customer for many years now, and has successfully delivered dozens of customized software solutions to support AIS Delivers an Azure PaaS Solution to Enhance Agility and Time to Markettheir modernization efforts.  With our passion for continuous improvement and collaboration, we were well positioned to help our client save time and money by introducing an automated cloud strategy that dramatically reduces costs, time to market and provides a resilient and highly-available infrastructure platform.  

Background 

Our customer had a traditional on-premises data center environment for their Windows-based applications.  This center required a large amount of capital for maintenance, staff and for resources to be housed on-site.  After gaining some experience with an Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) DevTest solution, they determined that they wanted to move all of their on-premises resources to the cloud.  By tapping into a PaaS platform, there is improved agility and a steep reduction in time to market, as the time required to spin and patch up virtual machines is much higher than spinning up PaaS boxes.  Given this, AIS consulted with them to establish a scalable cloud strategy with Azure PaaS being front and center.  

Challenge

The main challenge with a traditional on-premises environment centers around its associated costs.  This type of environment requires both expensive hardware and data-center management software.  Additionally, patching (which is often disruptive and error-prone) and maintenance are needed on an on-going and regularly scheduled basis.  The customer also needed to ensure seamless access to particular on-premises resources that could not be migrated to the cloud, all while addressing security concerns for the organization.  This plan had to be executed without introducing any significant risk or cost, as that would be untenable to the business and the executive team. 

Solution 

In order to migrate to a PaaS solution and leverage the inherent benefits (such as remote storage and  scalability), the current application architecture needed to be appropriately mapped out and refactored. With Azure PaaS, the responsibilities of caring and feeding for virtual machines (including patch logging and base Operating System upgrades) are shifted to the cloud provider--in this case, Microsoft.  

AIS conducted an Azure migration architecture assessment as it related to the customer’s current application architecture story.  With this assessment, a detailed plan was established to refactor rather than rewrite the entire architecture, as that type of solution would be cost prohibitive. 

AIS helped our customer re-architect the existing applications and convert the on-premises based infrastructure to Azure.  In order to be compliant from a security perspective (given regulatory constraints and the unique business requirements of the insurance industry), we designed and implemented a hybrid infrastructure solution encompassing IaaS, PaaS and an on-premises architecture.  This allowed seamless access to resources that were to remain on-premises, as well as integration with infrastructure software such as Splunk.

 With this solution, the following cloud services were accomplished:

  • Web roles
  • Worker roles
  • Azure storage
  • PaaS Redis cache
  • AppInsight
  • Service Bus
  • Azure SQL

This enabled our client to meet security and regulatory requirements that were cloud compliant.  Subsequently, the client could consolidate their resources and streamline the team responsible for maintaining the Virtual Machines.  Typically, patching required its own infrastructure, servers, SCOM and capital assets.  Now that the majority of the on-premises resources were in the cloud, the entire process was more efficient as it eliminated the need for patching.  The significant reduction in time to market allowed our client to quickly deploy custom applications, databases and line of business services.  

AIS’ years of experience with Azure afforded us the expertise to evaluate risk, benefits, and provide cost effective architecture solutions with an automation approach that minimized both risks and expenses with this migration.

Technology 

  • Azure Cloud Service
  • Azure Storage
  • Azure Automation
  • Azure Resource Manager (ARM)
  • Azure Virtual Network (VNET)
  • Azure Service Management (ASM)
  • Azure Network Security Group (NSG)
  • Azure Express Route
  • Service Management Automation (SMA)
  • Azure Powershell
  • Active SubNET