May 25, 2018 - News

A Journey to AWS Cloud; AWS Summit Cloud London

At the recent AWS Summit Cloud London, CTO of AWS Werner Vogels said that AWS “innovates at a neck-breaking speed”. With 1430 ‘significant new services and features’ released last year, it’s hard to argue with Vogels. AWS has been releasing services at increasing speed since it started in 2006.

An entire ecosystem of partners and tools has been built around these AWS services. As the platform and ecosystem of AWS has grown, Version 1 too has established a market-leading Enterprise Cloud capability in parallel.

We believe that a key factor in the success of our Enterprise Cloud capability at Version 1 to date has been building our deep expertise in specific tools that will be most beneficial to our enterprise customers.

Cloud Transformation

The Version 1 internal journey to cloud started six years ago. As AWS and its ecosystem have grown, our expertise and experience have too rapidly expanded in parallel.

Building on our authoritative Enterprise Cloud expertise recently, Version 1 migrated the monitoring tool for our organisation’s Managed Service practice to AWS. Up to 2017, Version 1 was running OpsView for over 100 Managed Services customers in a datacentre.

In order to ensure that the performance of this business-critical application would remain optimised as Version 1 grew its customer base, migrating to AWS was the chosen solution for growth and scalability.  Instead of opting for a ‘lift and shift’ migration, the decision was made by Version 1 to refactor the tool to fully leverage the elasticity and reliability of AWS. This transformational approach to migrating to Public Cloud is an approach we recommend to our enterprise customers and one that will be discussed in our upcoming webinar on June 27th. If you would like to register for ‘Cloud to Transition, or Cloud to Transform’, please click here.

Today the Version 1 monitoring software is hosted in AWS and performs over 35,000 different service checks across our customers’ infrastructures, databases and applications each day. With 110+ slaves monitoring over 2600 devices, and over 26 million polls per day reporting to our master database, the Version 1 MSP service has enhanced visibility into every one of our customers’ environments.

Some of the AWS services that make this possible are Amazon ELBs to balance traffic and increase reliability of web servers, Amazon EC2 and auto-scaling to scale these servers out and in with demand and Amazon RDS with Multi-AZ which provides a highly available database with reduced overhead for database admins.

Rebuilding OpsView for AWS has allowed Version 1 to fully customise the tool for our organisation’s exact needs. The infrastructure sits in a Virtual Data Centre in AWS, which includes multiple Amazon VPCs, red, amber and green subnets in each Availability Zone, a VPC endpoint to allow private connectivity to an Amazon S3 bucket hosting logs, and VPN and Nat Gateways for secure access to the stack.

All of this is built running a single command in Terraform. Application Load Balancers, Web and Application EC2 servers and RDS databases are also rolled out with Terraform. Server configuration and application deployment is similarly performed with a single click using Ansible.

Using automation and Infrastructure as Code allows us to quickly to spin up and down production-like stacks for development and testing. We can also quickly adopt changes and new features into production. We are currently testing Amazon Aurora Postgres to add resilience and performance to our monitoring database.

Shared Learnings

AWS has been leading the charge in Cloud transformation since it began in 2006. We believe that continuous innovation and an ever-expanding partner ecosystem is key to this success.

Version 1 has been on a journey with AWS since our first customer migration in 2009, and specialised in Enterprise Cloud since. We have grown by leveraging the innovation of AWS by adopting new services as they are announced, such as Amazon Aurora.

The breadth of the partner ecosystem has enabled us to rapidly scale using a plethora of tools without having to invest the time required for in-house development. Finally, the most significant development for Version 1 has been the adoption of automation and infrastructure as code which truly enables the agility and cost benefits of AWS.

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