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20% Improved Application Performance And Reduced AWS Migrations Costs By 70%

Executive Summary

After Techstreet was spun off from its parent company and acquired by ASME, the company needed to migrate from its previous AWS environment to a new AWS environment within six months. The IT team also wanted to modernize the infrastructure to improve application performance and increase scalability. By turning to Mission for its Mission Cloud One, Managed DevOps and Mission Cloud Foundation services to take on these challenges, Techstreet benefits from an AWS infrastructure that supports e-commerce customer-facing apps, back-office apps for product management, and a vendor portal for product descriptions. The content distribution network deployed by Mission also serves images and other static content 20% more quickly to customers, and a new CI/CD process streamlines blue-green deployments and application image roll-outs. In addition, the infrastructure-as-code architecture built by Mission facilitates a modernized application environment, and secure FTP exchanges protect digital assets in transit and while stored in the AWS infrastructure. By collaborating with Mission, Techstreet reduced the time to create the new AWS environment from 60 hours down to six hours and can now execute server instance and storage right-sizing with zero downtime. Other key benefits include accelerating application access for internal users, the ability to deploy incremental software improvements faster, mitigating performance issues proactively, and lowering cloud costs through auto-scaling and spinning down environments no longer in use. Techstreet also reduced the cost of the migration by 70% in comparison to hiring the required resources, and the cost of Mission’s 24x7 coverage for the infrastructure is a fraction of AWS resource costs and significantly less than hiring an internal staff. 

“Mission ensured the migration of our environment would be a success by listening upfront to our challenges and proactively offering choices on how to solve any issues. They also communicated constantly with our internal team and helped us project the amount of time the project would take. We continue to meet with the Mission team regularly to discuss our DevOps process, and they frequently identify ways we can accelerate the rollout of new application services.” 
Dennis Burrill 
Vice President of Technology

The Challenge

Shortly after ASME acquired Techstreet from Clarivate, the IT team faced a six-month deadline to migrate the IT infrastructure away from the shared-services AWS environment managed by Clarivate. Failure to beat the deadline would result in escalating cloud infrastructure costs, which would continue to increase sharply for each month that Techstreet did not complete the migration.

In addition to this challenge, Burrill also saw the migration as an opportunity. As a business unit within the previous organization that had invested heavily in Oracle database systems and MySQL data load programs, Techstreet was restricted in what it could do to improve the performance of its front-end applications

“Those systems are difficult to support, and some of our critical business processes were running on old versions,” explains Burrill. “We wanted to convert to modern applications for improved scalability and application performance, and we knew that we would have that flexibility as a separate business entity operating our own cloud environment within the ASME organization.”

Why AWS?

While determining the best way to migrate the IT infrastructure, Burrill wanted to keep using AWS cloud services, which Techstreet was accustomed to through the Clarivate environment. “The flexibility of services AWS offers, and our familiarity with those services made this an easy decision,” Burrill says. “With AWS, we can capitalize on native cloud features that allow us to scale infinitely and deliver fast application responses to our customers.”

Why Mission?

That left finding a partner with the required expertise and resource bandwidth as the last piece of the puzzle that Burrill needed to solve. He found the answer through another Clarivate business unit, which collaborates with Mission for managing an AWS cloud environment and strongly recommended Techstreet do the same.

“We needed a true cloud player with experience who could not only support our migration but also help us leverage native AWS technologies. We also needed off-hours monitoring—partnering with Mission gave us the ability to holistically optimize our cloud operations.”

Dennis Burrill
Vice President of Technology

Strategy and Solution 

To support Techstreet’s AWS infrastructure that supports e-commerce customer-facing apps, back-office apps for product management, and a vendor portal for product descriptions, the Mission team built an AWS infrastructure that features Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) server instances and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). Mission also deployed Amazon CloudFront to serve images and other static content more quickly to customers across the globe.

During the build-out of the AWS environment, the Mission Managed DevOps team created a new CI/CD process to support the Techstreet applications. Previously, Techstreet rolled out code updates using open source CI/CD tools such as Spinnaker and Jenkins. But with Techstreet requiring blue-green deployments, it would have been costly to keep using these tools in AWS. 

So Mission applied a greenfield deployment strategy to build the pipeline and new application images by using AWS CodeBuild and AWS CodeDeploy. And for configuration management, Mission implemented Ansible, which runs on HashiCorp Packer. Mission also modernized the environment using Terraform to create an infrastructure-as-code architecture.  

To secure FTP (file transfer protocol) exchanges with customers, Mission set up AWS Transfer Family. This gives both Techstreet and its customers peace-of-mind knowing digital assets remain safe in transit and while stored in the AWS infrastructure.

And when it came time for the weekend cutover to migrate Techstreet to its new environment, the Mission team answered the bell. Mission worked alongside Techstreet late that Friday night and well into the early morning hours of the weekend. 

 “Our expertise focuses on the applications that provide standard services to our customers. We did not have internal resources who could migrate and then manage our cloud infrastructure. Hiring the right resources to do the job would have been costly, and we probably did not have enough time to go through that process and complete the migration by the deadline.”

Dennis Burrill 
Vice President of Technology

Results and Benefits

The infrastructure build-out mechanisms Mission created reduced the time to create the new AWS environment for Techstreet from an estimated 60 hours down to six hours. Mission is also introducing additional blueprint mechanisms to reduce the time of future build-outs to two hours. After the infrastructure was deployed, the Mission Cloud Foundation offering helped Techstreet conduct a server instance and storage right-sizing exercise, which Techstreet can roll out with zero downtime.

For Techstreet customers, the images from standards bodies along with other static content, web pages, and e-commerce functions now upload faster thanks to the CloudFront content distribution network. “This is particularly helpful for our overseas customers,” Burrill points out. “They have seen a 20% improvement in load times since their online requests don’t travel all the way back to content libraries in our U.S. AWS data center.”

Back office personnel have also noticed application speed improvements. “With Mission’s help, we streamlined how they access applications,” Burrill explains. “We use the AWS virtual private network only for apps requiring high-level security. But for other apps, users can access the files they need via the Internet.”

Burrill also appreciates that Mission identifies and mitigates issues sooner than his team was used to. This includes cases where a vendor recommends an application upgrade that might negatively impact the application frameworks that Techstreet uses. As an example, as MySQL 5.6 was about to be retired, Mission recommended holding off on the current version (5.8) and upgrading to version 5.7. This kept the Techstreet frameworks in order. “That’s worth its weight in gold for our global e-commerce platform,” Burrill emphasizes.

From a TCO analysis perspective, Burrill projects Techstreet will eventually lower its cloud costs in comparison to the previous AWS environment: “In the beginning, we over-sized on purpose to make sure the migration went smoothly. We will now adjust our costs through auto-scaling and spinning down environments no longer in use. With Mission monitoring our environment, we’ll know where to make changes.”

Looking back on the success of the project, Burrill estimates the company reduced the cost of the migration by 70% in comparison to hiring the required resources. “Even now, the cost of Mission’s 24x7 coverage for our infrastructure is a fraction of our AWS resource costs, and it’s a lot less than hiring our own staff,” Burrill adds.

Next Steps

Looking ahead, Techstreet and Mission will collaborate to replace Oracle databases with Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL, which Burrill says will further reduce cloud costs by requiring fewer EC2 resources. Techstreet also plans to have Mission build a web application firewall along with asset pre-compilation services for CloudFront, system optimization for additional improvements to client and internal apps, and disaster recovery services.

“We can rest easy knowing Mission takes care of all of this for us. We also benefit from being able to tap into the expertise of so many cloud pros with years of knowledge who can provide bonus nuggets of information. The value that Mission provides well exceeds our costs.”

Dennis Burrill 
Vice President of Technology 
AWS Services
  • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
  • Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)
  • Amazon CloudFront 
  • AWS CodeBuild
  • AWS CodeDeploy
  • AWS CodePipeline
  • AWS CodeArtifact
  • AWS Transfer Family
  • Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)
  • Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL
  • Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
  • Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) 
  • Amazon EBD Snapshots
  • Amazon Elasticsearch
  • Amazon Route 53
  • Amazon Registrar
  • AWS Amplify
  • Amazon Elastic File System (EFS)
  • Amazon ElastiCache for Memcached
  • Amazon MQ for RabbitMQ
  • AWS Lambda
  • AWS Glue (Jobs)
  • Amazon DynamoDB 
  • AWS Key Management Service
  • Amazon Simple Notification Service
  • Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS)
  • Amazon CloudWatch
  • AWS CloudTrail
  • Amazon Simple Email Service (SES)
  • AWS Secrets Manager
  • AWS Backup
  • AWS Systems Manager (Parameter Store and Session Manager)
  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk
Third-Party Integrations
  • Oracle
  • MySQL
  • Terraform
  • Ansible
  • HashiCorp Packer
  • Datadog
  • New Relic