This highlighted Azure Migration engagement was for a large non-profit state entity that focuses on creating a more cohesive, equitable, and effective early childhood system in the Southwest. The organization also oversees food and nutrition programs that serve older children and families. Speedy response times are critical for their operations, which involve sensitive situations for their clients.
The customer approved CDW’s Azure migration solution. The solution included licensing cost-optimization, security protocols around the Azure ‘s Cloud Adoption Framework, and leveraged PaaS services such as Azure SQL, Azure Kubernetes Services, Key Vault, and VPN gateways. With the migration to Azure, the customer optimized their resources and personnel, created development and deployment automation for future environments, and increased flexibility and agility for their technical operations.
The customer was in a traditional VMware environment hosted by another public sector entity. This meant the customer did not have direct control of networking and resources based on the cohabitation. Cohabitation generated slower response times during outages from 3rd party support, lacked flexibility to innovate and improve applications, and slow-release times for new features did not meet expectations for the customer to support business operations. Multiple layers of complexity meant the customer could not address issues on their own or move forward with innovation without outside assistance.
The customer saw Azure and the CDW migration approach as a solution to their business needs. CDW’s solution was able to address several of their business problems. This includes new automation that will enable the customer to create new development and production environments on their timeframe and terms, cost-optimization of personnel hours for productivity and deployment, and set patterns for the customer to easily adopt future microservices.
CDW met with organizational leaders and laid out our Azure migration solution. CDW’s approach starts with an assessment and discovery phase 1 prior to a streamlined phase 2 that utilizes repeatable processes. This allows CDW to reduce the time needed to move workloads to Azure. In this case, Phase 1 included an assessment service for the VMware environment and discovery of the application itself. CDW created a detailed plan and framework for the migration and the customer approved the project.
The foundation of all CDW migration projects is based on cost optimization for the customer and the security of the environment. To help manage costs, CDW assisted with the evaluation of OpenShift on Azure and RHEL Containers versus Ubuntu on AKS, which allowed the customer to drastically cut licensing costs and simplify the management of the solution. For security, the project utilized Microsoft’s provided ISO 27001 Reference architecture to ensure compliance and optimization as well as the creation of the foundational Azure environment that adheres to the Cloud Adoption Framework. CDW also deployed Palo Alto NVAs to provide a centralized security solution. A VPN into Palo Alto’s on-premise environment was also created for hybrid connectivity. This path was selected by the customer because of their in-house expertise and support contract with Palo Alto Networks.
The CDW solution for the customer’s migration also included the move from VMware virtual machines to containers on AKS and shifted from a single virtual monolith to microservices architecture. Next, CDW converted/lifted/improved applications to leverage PaaS services such as Azure SQL, Azure Kubernetes Services, and Key Vault.
With extensive experience, CDW has created a streamlined and highly scalable approach to migration assessments and implementations. This approach decreased the solution deployment time for the customer and increased the ability of CDW to meet the customer’s needs.
With the customer’s new modernized Azure environment, the customer gained control over resources and cut through the complexity that slowed down their ability to perform their business. Deployment of market updates was reduced from 1 month to 2 hours. Licensing costs were optimized and security implementations added business continuity and disaster recovery options. Automation was added to ensure the customer was able to produce and deploy environments with agility and without additional support costs. This allowed the customer to redirect resources and attention from internal operations to external efforts serving the community.
CDW has completed over 800 Azure Migration projects to date and is currently targeting another 150 in the pipeline for this year. CDW invests time and resources in building a diverse talent base, intellectual property, and time-tested processes. The company culture uses all of these to provide customer-focused solutions that can be adapted to whatever stage the customer’s cloud journey is in.