Intruity Leverages Mission’s Cloud Expertise To Migrate To AWS Ahead Of Hurricane Season And To Improve Application Performance
Intruity, a SaaS provider of applications for the insurance industry, wanted to migrate its on-premises IT infrastructure to the cloud. Objectives included improving disaster recovery capabilities, application performance, and scalability capacity as well as enhancing the security posture of the infrastructure and streamlining compliance audits. Intruity chose Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the ideal cloud environment and partnered with Mission to architect the new infrastructure. Key AWS services configured by Mission include Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), AWS Directory Service, AWS Security Hub, AWS CloudTrail, AWS Config, and AWS Backup. The migration to AWS increased application uptime, resiliency, and response times while also creating a scalable architecture to reduce the time to spin up new servers from 1 hour down to 30 minutes and to expand capacity for clients. The environment also switches users automatically to a backup data center if the primary data center fails and removes the need for the internal IT team to manage systems and backups. Intruity has also strengthened its security posture and streamlined SOC 2 compliance audits. From a cost standpoint, initial infrastructure costs decreased by 30% through server right-sizing and private pricing offered by Mission, and the cloud infrastructure lowers the cost of new servers by 25% compared to the on-premises data center.
"We knew we could benefit by working with a partner to advise us on best practices for the architecture and to help us learn what we do not know about the cloud. After doing some research and meeting with the Mission team, we were so impressed that we did not consider another AWS partner. Mission has great communicators across their entire team, and they always respond quickly to our questions.”
When CTO Ruslan Belyy joined Intruity, one of his key objectives was to move the IT infrastructure from the company’s on-premises data center to the cloud. With hurricane activity escalating in recent years—and with the 2021 hurricane season fast approaching as a threat to the south Florida company—the senior leadership team agreed with Belyy that the time to migrate to the cloud had indeed arrived.
“In addition to data centers in Florida being susceptible to natural disasters, we wanted to improve the scalability and performance of our applications,” Belyy adds. “Our company has tripled the number of customers in the past five years, so we need to be able to quickly expand the compute resources supporting our applications. We also need to make sure our VoIP phone services deliver superior voice quality.”
The timing of the planned migration was also driven by the Intruity data center reaching the point where the hardware was due to be refreshed. Belyy knew the cloud would enable the company to avoid large capital expenditures and remove the stress his internal team felt, having to manage the IT infrastructure.
“We decided to consider Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure along with a colocation provider,” says Belyy. “A key aspect we focused on was the ability to modernize our infrastructure and to provide support for our Linux servers, which handle our VoIP services along with a key database.”
With the colocation option proving to be too costly, Belyy narrowed his choice down to AWS and Azure. Azure was appealing at first since many Intruity applications rely on Microsoft development technologies such as .NET and C#. But AWS ultimately won out for providing a wider range of infrastructure services and proving it efficiently supports Microsoft technologies
“With AWS, we don’t have to configure services for our databases and load balancers,” says Belyy. “AWS offers those as part of their portfolio—along with a host of other services that help our applications run efficiently.”
And given the Intruity technology stack is moving more so towards Linux—including the VoIP services and a key CRM application—AWS provides stronger scalability. “A lot of our .NET code is being moved into Node.js (open source), which means we can also connect our Linux servers more efficiently to centralized database and storage in AWS,” Belyy adds. “And moving our Microsoft SQL database to Amazon RDS makes it easier to manage.”
After selecting AWS as the cloud environment for the migration, Belyy first considered handling the migration with internal resources since his team was accustomed to running the on-premises data center. But after realizing the wide range of cloud services offered by AWS, he felt it would be best to collaborate with a partner. That’s when a systems administrator at Intruity came to Belyy with the ideal partner: Mission.
Belyy also appreciates that when he asks for help, Mission gives him options with the pros and cons of each so he can easily decide which is best for Intruity. Mission also adapted its workflows to sync with Intruity workflows. “The Mission cloud experts are very knowledgeable about finding ways to bring together what we want to get done vs. what is practical,” adds Belyy.
Strategy and Solution
Mission architected an AWS environment for Intruity with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) as the foundation. Other key components include Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), AWS Directory Service (to manage Microsoft AD), AWS Security Hub, AWS CloudTrail (to assist with compliance audits), AWS Config, and AWS Backup.
Utilizing these native AWS services reduces compute resource costs and provides improved resiliency for the applications that Intruity provisions to customers. Mission cloud analysts also taught Intruity how to use CloudHealth by VMWare so Intruity can now use it to monitor compute resource usage.
Mission used CloudEndure to do complete block-level copies of on-premises servers into AWS. CloudEndure was also used to migrate a hand-built storage cluster containing more than two terabytes of data into AWS, and ultimately, into Amazon Elastic Filesystem (EFS).
For disaster recovery, Mission used AWS Backup to back up all required EC2 instances as well as EFS. Mission also enabled snapshots for point-in-time recovery of the RDS instances and split the EC2 instances across two availability zones—so traffic can switch over to another if one instance should become unavailable.
“Our infrastructure is now more redundant, and we no longer need to manage systems or worry about backups,” Belyy says. “When one of our EC2 instances recently went offline, the other AWS availability zone immediately kicked in, and end-users never noticed.”
During the project, Mission conducted regular meetings with the Intruity team to keep the project on schedule. “Their whole team attended each meeting, so as questions came up, we had answers right away,” Belyy says. “It makes a big difference when you don’t have to wait for someone to chase answers down.”
Belyy also appreciates how Mission worked around Intruity’s requirements to keep applications running during business hours. Intruity could not migrate any application or data sets during daytime hours, so Mission made all the changes during the night. “I’m impressed with their overall knowledge, especially in moving our database and phone servers into AWS and reducing our infrastructure from nine servers down to three,” Belyy says.
Results and Benefits
After the migration, Mission helped Intruity save 30% on the initial AWS costs through server right-sizing and other optimization measures. These include tapping into the Mission Cloud Foundation service, which offers private pricing.
“Mission also showed us how to use CloudHealth, which lets us analyze the costs of resources and their utilization. We can easily identify resources that are not in use.”
When asked about other key benefits Intruity receives from the Mission partnership and the migration to AWS, Belyy emphasizes the reduction in stress that he and his team have experienced. Belyy also values the increased scalability of the infrastructure. Intruity can now take on large clients more quickly, which sometimes makes the difference in closing on new business. “We don’t have to wait for the time it takes to buy and deploy servers,” Belyy points out. “We can spin up new resources in AWS within 45 minutes.”
Another key benefit comes from the security measures Mission set up in the AWS environment, such as access controls and two-factor authentication. These measures will help with SOC 2 compliance, which is required by some Intruity customers as a condition for doing business.
“We don’t have to worry about many of the components that get checked in a SOC 2 audit,” Belyy explains. “They’re automatically handled by how the AWS environment is architected, and the documentation is readily available to prove compliance. Auditors also tend to trust AWS more so than on-premises data centers.”
From a cost comparison of an on-premises data center vs. AWS, Belyy says the cost to spin up new servers is much less in the cloud. “New servers cost about 25% less in AWS, and we don’t have to over-spend on compute resources as we would typically do in an on-premises data center,” Belyy points outs. “When operating our infrastructure on-premises, we often had under-utilized servers. But in AWS, we always have the exact capacity we need and can quickly scale when necessary.”
“Our application uptime and speed have increased, and we no longer worry about servers going down or random Internet outages. We also don’t have to worry about how long our servers will last and if applications are running properly—it’s all taken care of by the AWS environment designed by Mission.”
With Mission explaining how the Intruity AWS environment was set up every step of the way and providing Belyy with detailed documentation, his team is now managing the AWS environment on its own. Belyy plans to see how well the team can manage the infrastructure and will consult with Mission when necessary.
“We are now looking to modernize our software by using containers and will rely on the Mission team to advise us on any infrastructure changes we need to accommodate this change,” says Belyy. “We will also look further into the Mission Cloud Foundation service for helping us identify additional ways to reduce our AWS costs. For any cloud challenges we face, we know Mission is a reliable and responsive partner we can always turn to.”
- Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
- Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)
- Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
- AWS Directory Service
- AWS Security Hub
- AWS CloudTrail
- AWS Config
- AWS Backup
- Amazon Elastic Filesystem (EFS)
- Amazon RDS for MySQL
- Amazon Elastic Container Service
- Amazon Elastic Block Store
- AWS Systems Manager
- CloudEndure Disaster Recovery
- CloudHealth by VMware
- Microsoft Windows
- Microsoft SQL
Based in Florida, Intruity develops SaaS applications to help insurance agencies run their businesses more efficiently. Solutions range from industry-specific CRM and lead-management tools to data and analytics software as well as phone systems.