40% faster deployments post migrating to cloud along with DevOps transformation

By September 14, 2020 Cloud Case Study

Customer: The fastest-growing cinema business in the Middle East

Summary

The customer is the fastest-growing cinema business in the Middle East who is intending to migrate their core movie ticket management and booking application on to AWS. Currently, it is a colocation data center that needs to be migrated for better scalability and availability followed by implementation of DevOps optimisation, disaster recovery, log analysis, and managed services.

  • Case – Migration
  • Type –  RePlatform
  • Number of VM’s – 50
  • Number of applications migrated – 5
  • Approximate size of DB – 250 GB

About Customer

The customer is the fastest-growing cinema business in the Middle East, which is the leading shopping mall, communities, retail, and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. They operate over 300 screens across UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Lebanon and Egypt and will expand to own and manage 600 screens by the year 2020.

Problem Statement

The customer is planning to migrate their core movie ticket management and booking application from their colocation data center (DC) to AWS for better availability and scalability. Migration to AWS was to facilitate the customer to move their production workload as-is without many architectural changes and then focus on DevOps optimisation.

Powerup proposed a 2 phased approach in migrating the customer applications to AWS.

  • Phase 1 – As-is migration of applications from on-premise set up to AWS cloud along with the migration of databases for better scalability and availability.
  • Phase 2 – Implementation of DevOps optimisation.

Post this, Powerup’s scope of work for the customer also included Disaster Recovery (DR) implementation, setting up EKK for log analysis and AWS managed services.

Proposed Solution

Migration

Powerup will study the customer’s environment and prepare a blueprint of the overall architecture. They will identify potential servers and database failure points and will accordingly fix the automation of backups.

Powerup to work in coordination with the customer team to,

  • export application and data from on-premise architecture to AWS using either Amazon Import/Export functionality or over the internet.
  • Restore data on the cloud and enable database replication between on-premise and Amazon data stores to identify differential data.
  • Implement the monitoring agents and configure backups.
  • Conduct load testing if required as well as system and user acceptance accessibility tests to identify and rectify vulnerabilities.

Post-deployment and stabilization, Powerup completed the automation of the infrastructure using AWS Cloud formation and code deployment automation to save operational time and effort.

Automation

Post phase 1 as-is migration of the customer’s applications, Powerup’s DevOps team will perform weekly manual and automated audits and share reports with the customer team.
Weekly reports on consolidated uptime of applications, total tickets logged, issue resolution details and actionable plans will be shared with the customer team. Powerup will also run a Vulnerability Assessment & Penetration Testing (VAPT) on cloud coupled with quarterly Disaster recovery (DR) drills for one pre-selected application in the cloud platform to ensure governance is in place.
DevOps is also responsible for seamless continuous integration (CI) typically handled by managing a standard single-source repository, automating the build, track the build changes/progress and finally automating the deployment.

Disaster Recovery (DR)

Powerup to understand customer’s compliance, Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) expectations before designing the DR strategy.

  • Configure staging VPC, subnets and the entire network set up as per current architecture.
  • Set up network access controls, create NAT gateway and provision firewall for the DR region.
  • Initiate CloudEndure console, enable replication to AWS staging server, create failover replication to DR site from CloudENdure dashboard to conduct DR drill.
  • Verify and analyze RTO and RPO requirements.

EKK set up

The AWS EKK stack (Amazon Elasticsearch Service, Amazon Kinesis and Kibana) act as an alternative to ELK, an open-source tool by Amazon to engage in and visualize data logs. Powerup’s scope involved gathering information on environment and providing access to relevant users to create an AWS ElasticSearch service and AWS Kinesis service. The intent was to install and configure the Kinesis agent on the application servers in order to push the data logs and validate the log stream to the Kibana dashboard. This set up would help configure error and failure logs, alerts, anti-virus logs and transition failures.  The EKK solution is known to provision for analyzing logs and debugging applications. Overall, it helps in managing a log aggregation system. Know more on EKK implementation here.

Managed services

The first step is to study the customer’s cloud environment to identify potential failure points and loopholes if any.

Powerup DevOps team will continuously monitor the customer’s cloud infrastructure health by keeping a check on CPU, memory and storage utilization as well as URL uptime and application performance.

OpenVPN will be configured for the secure exchange of data between the customer’s production setup on AWS and the individual cinema locations. The web, application and database servers are implemented in High Availability (HA) mode. Databases are implemented on Amazon EC2 with replication enabled to a standby server. Relational database service (RDS) may be considered if there are no dependencies from the application end.

Security in the cloud is a shared responsibility between the customer, cloud platform provider and Powerup. Powerup will continuously analyze and assist the customer with best practices around application-level security.

The security monitoring scope includes creating an AWS organization account and proxy accounts with multi-factor authorization (MFA) for controlled access on AWS. Powerup to also set up an Identity and Access Management (IAM), security groups as well as network components on customer’s behalf.

The powerup team has helped setting up the VPN tunnel from AWS to different customer theatre locations [31 different locations].

Enable server-side encryption and manage Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates for the website. Monitor logs for security analysis, resource change tracking, and compliance auditing. Powerup DevOps team to track and monitor firewall for the customer’s environment and additionally mitigate distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on their portals and websites.

Anti-virus tools and intrusion detection/prevention to be set up by Powerup along with data encryption at the server as well as storage level. Powerup DevOps team will continuously monitor the status of automated and manual backups and record the events in a tracker. In case of missed automatic backups, a manual backup will be taken as a corrective step. Alerts to also be configured for all metrics monitored at the cloud infrastructure level and application level.

Business Benefits

  • Migration helped the customer achieve better scalability and availability.
  • DevOps tool helped automate manual tasks and facilitated seamless continuous delivery while AWS cloud managed services provisioned the customer to reduce operational costs and achieve maximum optimization of workload efficiency.

Cloud platform

AWS.

Technologies used

EC2, S3, ALB, Autoscaling, CodeDeploy, CloudFormation, MS SQL, Jboss, Infinispan Cluster,  Windows, AWS Export/Import.

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