SNP showcases repeatable success formula by Migrating Apps and Infrastructure to Azure
This blog highlights our three customer use cases on how SNP helps customers migrate their apps and infrastructure to Azure to to run efficiently and securely.
Use Case 1: A leading insurance provider in USA
Some of the key challenges they faced included:
They had two proprietary applications that were highly was highly storage dependent and required a significant amount of disk IOPS. Furthermore, the application and storage architecture were highly inefficient. Despite significant investment, the client was unable to keep up with the growing demands of their application.
The client was experiencing network congestion issues, resulting in slower application response time and increased downtime, impacting overall performance and user experience.
The client was running a critical application on a Windows Server 2008 operating system which was no longer receiving security patches or updates, posing a significant security risk.
The client was facing read-write performance issues on their on-premises SQL servers due to the limitations of disk IOPS. These issues were impacting their mission-critical applications, which heavily relied on large databases for their operations.
Microsoft introduced SNP to assess their bare metal infrastructure, which supported most of its operations. SNP discovered that they lacked scalability for their existing on-premises platform, and several applications were approaching the end of support without a transition plan in place. Additionally, the company had many servers, with no visibility into the applications running on some of them or how the servers were interconnected. They also had several critical applications that were sensitive to downtime and latency and required significant storage systems. SNP’s findings concluded that their onsite servers should be decommissioned and moved to Azure, giving them increased up-time of their business-critical applications, and better value on their spending as their running costs would be significantly reduced.
SNP followed a streamlined approach and an inhouse converged hybrid cloud adoption framework to provide a secure and functioning base in Azure for seamless migrations leveraging different tools and methods.
- SNP was able to address the storage and performance issues of their applications by designing a solution that utilized Azure Storage with a premium SKU, which can accommodate high IOPS and scalability. The implementation of this solution has enabled the application to efficiently process large volumes of data, without incurring significant costs or operational overheads, exceeding the business’s expectations.
- To overcome the network congestion issues with their applications SNP migrated the application to Azure to provide optimization, scalability, and increased reliability. Leveraging features such as Azure Express Route and virtual networks significantly enhanced network performance and reduced congestion. SNP optimized the client's bandwidth usage by implementing traffic-shaping policies that allocate network bandwidth to specific applications or users. SNP also implemented bandwidth throttling, limiting the bandwidth used by certain applications or users. These measures improved the network performance, resulting in reduced downtime and vastly improved user experience.
- To address the security and application performance issues, SNP recommended migrating the application to Azure. By migrating to Azure, the client now enjoys the extended support provided by Microsoft, ensuring that their servers have up-to-date security patches. The client intends to upgrade the operating system to a newer version or modernize the application with Azure.
- SNP provided the client with several solutions to address their disk IOPS issues: Upgrading to faster solid-state drives or NVMe drives, offering higher IOPS and lower latency, to improve read-write performance. SNP also suggested using storage tiering to automatically move frequently accessed data to high-performance storage tiers and less frequently accessed data to lower-performance tiers, optimizing the available disk IOPS and improving system performance. SNP also offered to fine-tune the client's database settings by adjusting buffer sizes, index options, and optimizing queries to improve the efficiency of database operations and reduce the need for disk I/O.
Overall benefits included:
Improved data governance and cost requirements in line with their TCO requirements. They were also able to improve performance, which helped them onboard new customers for their services. Azure has helped them reduce their IT costs by an estimated 30%. The solution also had an estimated ROI of 120% in the first year of implementation.
Increased transparency: Azure Active Directory provided a centralized location for identity and access management.
Operational Efficiency: The client's cloud infrastructure now provides higher performance, enabling the client to improve their business operations.
Enhanced Scalability providing greater agility and flexibility.
"We a specialty niche-focused, commercial insurance underwriter and insurance administration services company. SNP initially engaged with us in late 2021 to perform an Azure Foundation Assessment to discover server workloads, applications and their interdependencies and assess our networking, security, identity, and governance requirements. Based on the outcome of the assessment and our interest in moving forward, SNP engaged further to do deeper discovery and develop a Migration Plan for our datacenter migration, which included infrastructure, applications, and their data warehouse. This Migration Plan was presented and approved by our Executive Team. SNP then engaged with our teams to establish a strong Landing Zone in Azure and begin the process of migrating their datacenter workloads. SNP migrated approximately 200 virtual machines and helped modernize their database infrastructure during the migration process, as well as establish backup and DR capabilities. SNP completed the datacenter migration project and delivered a secure, scalable infrastructure to the Meadowbrook team. SNP is currently engaged with Meadowbrook to modernize their portfolio of applications and provide enhanced security as their cloud presence continues to grow". Says SVP IT Technology
Use Case 2: A leading healthcare and home based care provider is the USA
The client has multiple standalone applications with several challenges that included:
- Operational inefficiencies with their networking customization for multiple remote sites and security due to the limitations of their shared DC model handled by Evolve IP. Making any changes to the environment required them to contact support, leading to delays and reduced flexibility. Additionally, they were grappling with high costs associated with running the SQL and Windows servers on EIP, as well as the cost of upgrading to the latest operating systems. These factors collectively hindered the client's ability to innovate and improve their operations.
- The client was also struggling with the performance and scalability to meet their IOPS requirements during surges in user demand. As they were operating under a shared datacenter model, they were unable to increase the compute and storage resources in the application stack without involving Evolve IP's admin team. This resulted in delays in delivering the necessary performance to users during surges, hindering the client's ability to provide seamless and reliable service to their users.
SNP addressed their networking and security challenge by improving network traffic control for multiple remote sites. SNP has implemented SDWAN using a 3rd party NVA of Cisco Meraki. Additionally, for better security and improved traffic control, SNP has provided the client with an Azure firewall solution, enabling them to efficiently manage and customize their application traffic. This architecture has allowed the client to achieve better performance and scalability while ensuring their security needs are met.
SNP has successfully addressed the client's SQL performance issues by devising a solution based on repeatability of previous projects. This involved implementing disk striping and disk caching to provide the necessary IOPS for their Data warehouse servers. To manage multiple application routings, SNP used Azure Application gateway, which allows URL/header-based routing for better efficiency. Additionally, to handle access requests from both internal and external users, SNP utilized Azure Front Door, which efficiently handles these requests, resulting in a smoother user experience. These solutions have enabled the client to achieve better performance and scalability while improving their overall operational efficiency.
Overall benefits included:
- By migrating and modernizing their infrastructure, they were able to achieve better data governance and cost requirements which are in line with their TCO requirements. They were also able to improve their performance, which helped them to offer new services to their customers. The solution reduced their IT costs by 30%, which enabled them to invest more in innovation and stay ahead of the competition. The solution had an ROI of 120% in the first year of implementation.
- Improved data governance: By migrating their infrastructure to Azure, the client was able to achieve better data governance. Azure's built-in security features and compliance certifications helped the organization meet regulatory compliance requirements more easily.
- Enhanced security: Azure Security Center provided a centralized location for security management and monitoring, enabling the client to enhance their security posture and detect and respond to security threats more efficiently.
- Operational efficiency and scalability provided higher performance, enabling the client to offer new services to customers and improve their overall business operations with flexibility and agility
“SNP engaged with the client in mid-2022 to perform an Azure Foundation Assessment to discover server workloads, applications and their interdependencies and assess the client's networking, security, identity, and governance requirements. Time was of the essence, as the client's co-location contract was expiring at the end of calendar year 2022. SNP then prepared a Migration Plan for the client's datacenter, which included infrastructure, applications, and their data warehouse. This Migration Plan was presented and approved by the client's Executive Team. SNP then quickly engaged with the client's team to establish a strong Landing Zone in Azure and begin the process of migrating their datacenter workloads. Working feverishly with the client, SNP completed the datacenter migration project on-time and was able to meet the client's business requirements for migration by the end of calendar year 2022.SNP is currently engaged with the client on a project to consolidate their Active Directory environment and is in the process of initiating an assessment to evaluate opportunities for the client to modernize their portfolio of applications. Says Director IT Infrastructure.
Use case 3: Application Migration with Azure Security
The client is USA's largest alternate site GPO and has established itself as a leading health care services and software company.
The client had their 2 proprietary apps as part of migrations and each application had it share of issues and problems in terms of Operation Efficiency, Costs and Governance.
- Their first App has an N-Tier architecture consisting of an internal-only web, API server, DB and DWH server, making it a complex environment with multiuser identity requirement-based apps. However, their DHW storage was a significant challenge issue, as lack of scalability was causing operational and performance inefficiencies. The client had invested heavily in procuring storage that was configured in RAID, which was required to meet their heavy IOPS needs for the DWH server. Despite this investment, the storage solution was unable to keep up with the growing demands of the DWH server.
- Their second App utilized a microservices architecture with multiple apps running on different servers within the IIS hosting environment. The application had several database servers hosting multiple databases for each microservice, with a DWH server for processing data across their apps with high IOPS requirements. The user connectivity was both external and internal, with data exposed separately to external and internal users using frontends. The app had URI/host header-based redirection to apps, which required a similar setup in Azure. To address these complexities, SNP worked closely with the client's team to design and implement solutions in Azure, ensuring high availability and scalability while maintaining optimal performance and security.
SNP has designed a plan to deploy and configure Cloud Adoption Framework to provide the secure and functioning base in Azure for migrations.
- Up to 30% overall IT cost savings
- To address the storage and performance issues of their applications, SNP designed a solution that utilized striped disks with disk caching, along with vCPU constrained VM sizes for the DWH servers to accommodate high IOPS. With Azure, SNP was able to provide a scalable solution for the ever-growing storage needs of the DWH server, using Azure Disks, which provides almost unlimited storage capacity. This has enabled the GPO application to process large volumes of data efficiently and effectively, while minimizing costs and operational overhead.
- To further optimize the performance of their applications, SNP also recommended using Azure SQL Database for the microservices databases, which offers high availability, scalability, and automatic backups. To address the microservices architecture, SNP proposed using Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) for container orchestration, which allows for easy scaling, updates, and monitoring of the microservices. Additionally, SNP suggested implementing Azure DevOps for continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) to streamline the application deployment process and improve overall efficiency.
- SNP’s solution is optimized for cost and improve operational efficiency using Azure storage solutions. Additionally, SNP leveraged native Azure tools such as Azure AD authentication and Azure RBAC for access control, allowing for more secure and streamlined resource management. These solutions were tailored to meet the specific needs of each app, providing improved performance, scalability, and flexibility. Overall, SNP's solutions enabled the customer to modernize their legacy systems, innovate their services, and achieve their business goals.
- Improved data governance by leveraging Azure's built-in security features and compliance certifications helped the organization meet regulatory compliance requirements efficiently.
- Azure security center provided a centralized location for security management and monitoring, enabling the client to enhance their security posture and detect and respond to security threats more efficiently.
- Azure Active Directory provided a centralized location for identity and access management, allowing the client to manage user identities, access to resources, and application usage with increased transparency.
- Operational efficiency and scalability
“We began working with SNP three years ago on an SQL project. Then, in 2021, given our requirement to exit their existing datacenter, SNP then commenced an Azure Foundations Assessment to discover server workloads, 70+ applications and their interdependencies and assess our networking, security, identity, and governance requirements. SNP then prepared a Migration Plan for our datacenter, which included infrastructure, applications, and their data warehouse. This Migration Plan was presented and approved by our VP and Executive Team. We appreciated partnership with SNP for completing Phase 1 of migration and are excited for the engagement for Phase 2. Their expertise in this area was vital to the success of the migration” Says Vice President, Technology Solutions & Architecture.