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Crossmark - AWS Migration

Salsa engineered an enterprise grade solution that automated Crossmark’s process of capture and analysis of retail market intelligence data.  Post the initial release, having delivered to an aggressive imperative timeframe, Salsa identified the opportunity to re-engineer portions of the technical solution to take advantage of AWS delivering massive (75%) cost savings and a more robust service level.

Strategy

Salsa, having built the initial solution for Crossmark, recognised some inherent limitations in using their incumbent hosting service provider - it didn’t offer virtualisation services, and as such had long lead times and rigid processes for establishment of new environments (for example Test or DR) or changes to existing environments.

So, we constructed the business case to move to AWS. With an appreciation of the magnitude of decision for Crossmark to move from their incumbent provider to AWS, we offered to build a pilot system to validate the key assumptions of the business case prior to Crossmark committing to the migration. Post- this pilot Crossmark were convinced of the benefits of adopting AWS and the project to migrate the system was executed. Massive cost savings, flexible deployments and increased robustness ensued.

Design

Legacy infrastructure

The legacy infrastructure procured for the live pilot by Crossmark included two web servers to function as the web and application tiers, backed by two MySQL servers (one master and one slave). This infrastructure was fixed and running 24x7. It was replicated into a User Acceptance environment and a testing environment. A lighter-weight development environment was also built.

To improve availability, a cold disaster recovery environment was provisioned with specifications identical to the production environment. This environment was running full-time but was not used until a manual failover was initiated from the primary infrastructure, which could take several hours.

Salsa’s recommendation

By leveraging the AWS Cloud, we was able to improve the availability, durability and performance of the platform whilst reducing the overall total cost of ownership when compared with the original traditional hosting provider:

  • Environments could be changed in seconds with no downtime
  • Entire new environments could be procured easily and not require professional services from the hosting provider>
  • >Resources are able to be decommissioned when not in use and thus not contribute to operational costs

Engineering

Leveraging the Cloud - Architected for AWS

Salsa leveraged several Amazon Web Services to improve the platform: Compute and Networking, Storage and Content Delivery, Database, Deployment and Management, and Application Services. Our AWS solution utilised the following best of breed Amazon technologies:

  • CloudWatch
  • DynamoDB
  • EC2
  • IAM
  • RDS
  • Route 53
  • S3
  • SNS
  • SQS VPC

The benefits

Reduced Total Cost of Ownership by 72%

By rendering the disaster recovery environment redundant and shutting down resources when not required, Salsa was able to reduce the total cost of ownership for the platform by 72% - a significant cost saving on an enterprise grade project. The project paid for itself in less than one year, with significant accumulation in savings since.

Improved Availability and Durability

By balancing resources across two Availability Zones and building resources to automatically heal themselves, Salsa was able to dramatically improve the availability and durability of the platform.

Improved Performance and Scalability

Salsa boosted the performance and scalability of the platform by designing resources to scale to meet demand as required. This also reduced the overall application footprint.

 

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