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CASE STUDY: A Productivity-Enhancing Cloud Journey


Moving a fully functioning business to the cloud with minimal disruption takes expertise, preparation, and an innovative approach to problem-solving.

In the September 2018 edition of the BUI Bulletin, we briefly discussed our latest Azure migration project. Here, we highlight key stages in that journey to help you understand how we solved a complicated business problem with cloud technology.

The business problem

Our customer, a financial services company, was hosting its entire online environment with front-facing websites at a large local hosting provider in South Africa.

BUI was brought in to help the business migrate all its services to Azure. The move had to be done seamlessly, with zero downtime. It also had to happen in the background, without affecting normal operations.

The solution

Solving the customer’s problem involved end-to-end service delivery from BUI.

We harnessed the strength and expertise of our networking team and our Azure cloud architects to successfully migrate the customer’s digital environment into Azure – with zero downtime.

In technical terms, we moved the customer’s entire online environment by using Network Address Translation (NAT) to re-map the IPs across ExpressRoute. We secured the solution in Azure behind next-generation firewall virtual appliances and took care of the high availability concerns with Azure Load Balancers. The security happens when the previous provider NATs it over ExpressRoute into Azure, where it hits the Load Balancers. Now, we are passing through the traffic and keeping the source address throughout the whole transaction until it lands in the back-end database behind the firewall and two Load Balancers. The entire process runs without any downtime for our customer, or any of its own clients.

Azure services are now being used instead of Virtual Machines, all Load Balanced and Highly Available.

The following technologies were among those used or implemented to achieve a successful migration and an improved overall security infrastructure:

  • Azure Network Watcher
  • Azure Backup for instances
  • Azure Backup for SQL Server
  • Azure Batch (to run the customer’s batch jobs and queuing jobs efficiently in Azure)

The benefits

Our customer has been running services in Azure for more than 30 days, and already there is a substantial cost saving.

Improved performance has also been noted: batch processes that took 15 minutes to complete with the previous provider now take under 60 seconds.

Enhanced security has been a particular game-changer for our customer… There were audible gasps when the results were first viewed via Azure Security Center and Azure Network Watcher. “All of a sudden, we can see all the malicious attacks that are hitting our web front ends! A real eye-opener,” said a key staff member.

The future

The next step is to replicate the same environment to another region in Azure as a Disaster Recovery Site.

This customer’s appetite for Azure services has grown enormously – because the business benefits are clear.

Looking for ways to make your business more efficient and more agile?

Book your assessment with BUI’s Azure experts.

We’ll make cloud migration simpler and more manageable for you.

BUI is an official Microsoft Partner in South Africa, and an award-winning leader in identity and security solutions.

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