Principal India moves to the Azure cloud for better productivity, reliability, and cost management

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About our customer

Our customer is a global investment management leader headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, US. In India, they bring on board the financial strength and global experience of over 140 years in asset accumulation.

They are a member of the Fortune 500® and has over $696 billion in assets under management (as of June 30, 2019). Since its inception, They have been helping people and companies around the world to build, protect and advance their financial well-being, with its retirement insurance and asset management expertise.

They serve more than 22 million customers with a strength of over 14,000 employees worldwide.

Challenges faced by the customer

The existing workloads of the customer were hosted on 3rd Party local datacentre with legacy hardware and were using Windows server, SQL 2008 R2, CentOS 4, & mySQL 5.5. Due to this, they were facing compliance, cost management, scalability, and performance issues.

Embee cloud experts analyzed their existing infrastructure and suggested modernization of application, new operating system, and migration to Azure cloud for better productivity, reliability, and cost management.

Here are the key challenges faced by the customer

Scalability Challenges: Their existing infrastructure was restrictive. Their critical applications were all hosted on a third-party on-premises datacentre. The availability of the requisite infrastructure according to the growing business needs was a challenge.

Cost & Security Challenges: The third-party operations were not compliant with the latest security regulations and were quite expensive.

Optimization Challenges: They were unable to scale up or down in real-time, further impacting costs.

Commercial Challenges: The applications required high bandwidth to withstand the high influx of active users. Low bandwidth issues with their existing setup posed a continuous pressure, causing performance issues.

Data Availability: The existing storage infrastructure made the process of accessing data cumbersome.

Solutions offered by Embee

Embee advised them to rehost applications on new versions of Windows server 2016 & CentOS 7 as per compliance needs along with their database components like mySQL 8.0.25, SQL enterprise, reporting. The application server has been configured in availability sets and front-end load has been managed by Azure Application gateway with web application firewall to manage the security.

Here is the solution implemented by our cloud experts:

  • Databases has been migrated to SQL managed instance and mySQL on VM.
  • Reporting has been moved to Power BI and the SQL Server analysis service has been upgraded to Azure analysis services.
  • The customer has achieved a DR solution for production workload using site to site.
  • Database migration assistance to identify compatibility of MSSQL and mySQL databases.
  • Database migration service to migrate data from both SQL Server and mySQL to SQL managed instance and VM hosted, respectively.
  • Azure File Sync and Azure Files to replicate data from file servers to Azure Files.
  • Azure Application Gateway with WAF to achieve IDS and IPS solution for frontend application.
  • Azure security center to assess current infrastructure, improve security posture, and compliance checklist.
  • Azure data factory to automate data warehouse services.
  • Azure SQL analysis services to replace SSMS hosted on SQL on VM.
  • Windows and Linux VMs are hosted for application servers.
  • VPN is deployed to connect On-premises DC with Azure DC.

Impact of the solution

The cloud solution implemented enabled our customers to meet their client’s compliance requirements while guaranteeing data security and high application availability for top-notch performance. Some of the benefits provided by our solution include:

Data security & compliance: Having a pre-approved cloud provider enabled our client to have compliance, which otherwise could have cost them time and money to first build the infrastructure and then get it certified.

Improved system performance: The new, cloud-based system architecture ensured better overall system performance than the customer’s previous on-premises setup. Microsoft Azure guaranteed 99.9% uptime to ensure smooth performance for users.

Improved scalability:  The implementation of Azure cloud gave them the freedom to leverage the IaaS and PaaS models to use only as much capacity as they require, thereby providing an ideal customer experience to the users.

Cost optimization: The cloud-based solution helped the customer drive significant reductions in procurement, implementation, and maintenance costs.

Modernized Infrastructure: With the infrastructure completely managed by Microsoft Azure, moreover the customer enjoys more features to make the environment more reliable by deploying the front-end servers on two different racks using Availability Set functionality on Azure.

Simplified Management: The Azure cloud infrastructure is managed and secured by Microsoft’s engineers, meaning that our customers did not have to assign additional resources to manage and monitor the infrastructure.

Azure site recovery- Customer is now reassured with a cost-effective, efficient, transparent DR solution, saving on major infrastructure costs and provide unprecedented peace of mind.

Sailing smoothly with Azure Migration

The customer is now reassured with a cost-effective, scalable, reliable cloud solution, saving on major infrastructure costs and provide unprecedented peace of mind. The solution is universal.

The benefits of such migration are being more widely adopted to reducing costs and attaining the desired scalability and uptime. It can be applied to any organization running business-critical applications with variable utility.

  • Rehost windows Infrastructure from on-premises to Azure & refactored MSSQL database on Azure.
  • Rehost CentOS Linux Infrastructure from on-premises to Azure & rehost MySQL database on Azure.
  • Database migration to an SQL-managed instance.
  • Modernize backend using Azure SQL managed instance.
  • Modernize data warehouse solution using Azure Synapse.
  • Automation of infrastructure using Azure automation.
  • High availability of application using availability set.
  • Application monitoring using application insights.
  • Unified visibility and security control.

With Embee’s dedicated consultation, robust delivery, and reliability of the Azure platform, the customer is also expanding their Azure utilization by migrating the rest of the entities to the cloud.

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