Architect as a Service – Part 3 – Customer Case Study

Quick recap – What is #AaaS? – In its most basic form, #AaaS is a fixed price engagement targeting senior stakeholders in the business (often executives CIO, CTO, CISO, CDO) delivered through a series of workshops, meetings, interviews and interactive sessions. The intent of the engagement is to discuss and resolve any questions, risks, and concerns surrounding cloud adoption and to remove as much fear uncertainty and doubt (FUD) as possible to make the consumption of cloud services both cost effective and successful.

Customer case study – Large supplier of office services

@Insentra was initially approached by one of our valued partners to deliver an #AaaS engagement – to their client, a large supplier of office services.. The primary focus was to assist in understanding the various product and feature options available for their Everything to Cloud (E2C) Azure datacenter migration program of works. The primary objective of the E2C program was to migrate all existing workloads across two datacenters into Azure. During the workshops we were asked to produce several option papers, to “score” the options available and to enable down a selection of products and features to ensure suitability to task and control costs appropriately.

@Insentra took a collaborative approach to understand the customer requirements through workshops with executives, project stakeholders, and technical resources. As a result of the extensive collaboration, a joint position of trust was established and the roadmap was agreed. The customer had the confidence that we could manage the roadmap execution through to completion and the journey began.

Upon completion of the #AaaS workshops, accountability for outcomes were assigned and a number of projects were identified, scoped, approved and initiated. Since the completion of the workshops, at the customers' request and with approval from our partner, Insentra has assumed the architectural lead across all projects within the E2C program to ensure successful execution and continuous enablement for the customer.

What did #AaaS uncover and deliver?

Post the #AaaS sessions, together with our partner, the customer executed on the roadmap and asked us to deliver the following outcomes:

  • Options papers delivered to executive management showing the various technical options available
    • Papers enabled down selection of required products and technology
  • Program Planning
    • Resource scheduling across projects included in the E2C program to ensure timelines match up
    • Weekly meetings with execs to track program deliverables and risk
  • Cost Modelling
    • Design spreadsheet to track budgeted and estimated costs against actual run costs on a weekly basis
    • Weekly meetings with execs to track spending
  • Azure tenancy design
  • DNS
    • Internal DNS design using Active Directory-integrated DNS
    • External DNS design using Azure DNS
    • Migration approach for internal/external DNS
  • Automation
    • Ansible automation for tenancy build
    • Ansible automation for VM deployment
  • Azure Tenancy Build
    • Deployment of approved design
    • End to end testing of the solution
  • Storage
    • Assist with product validation and down selection
    • Implementation of Netapp Ontap in Azure for backup and shared storage
  • Security
    • Consulted across firewall selection process to assist with the down selection
    • Designed Azure solution to support Cisco ASA-v HA deployment
    • Worked with vendor on implementation of Cisco ASA-v platform
  • Migration
    • Consulting across projects to provide Azure specific guidance regarding VM sizing, storage sizing and migration approach
    • Assistance in the migration of critical workloads to Azure including SAP ERP, WebMethods, STEP, and NetExpress
  • Backup and Recovery
    • Design of Azure recovery and backup services
    • Azure Site Recovery design for migration and DR
    • Azure backup design for production and selected UAT workloads
    • Validation of the appropriate back/recovery solutions per application
  • Intune
    • Implemented Windows 10 Intune architecture
    • Piloted Windows 10 Autopilot solution
  • Remote Desktop Services (RDS)
    • Designed Microsoft RDS deployment
    • Implemented solution based on arm template deployment
    • Trained staff on deployment and use of a solution
  • Monitoring
    • Implemented Azure log analytics and Azure monitor for VM monitoring
    • Configured monitoring dashboards per project workload

Conclusion

At the completion of the engagement, a total of 345 virtual machines across almost all operating system flavours, had been successfully migrated to Azure. Mission-critical SAP ERP systems were migrated to Azure with zero downtime or data loss. Three other Tier 1 E-commerce applications were successfully configured to operate across ExpressRoute in a hybrid model and successfully migrated to Azure. The customer was able to take a significant leap forward working with trusted advisors delivering against the agreed roadmap whilst staying in control of costs.

It was critical to have executives with decision-making authority engaged in the #AaaS sessions, providing business sponsorship for the documented and agreed outcomes and roadmap. Further, the trust placed in our partner and Insentra enabled a strong relationship allowing for the provision of ongoing technical governance

and a clear measure of successfully delivered outcomes. Focus brought the results the business strived for and the execution provided the proof. The client now operates in a modern infrastructure model.

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