About Deaf Services(DS)

Deaf Services (DS) is the prominent service provider for the Deaf and hard of hearing community with a focus on community and empowerment. Deaf Services are a not-for-profit organisation working with the community to enhance services and programs that benefit Deaf and hard of hearing adults and children across Australia. Deaf Services provide a broad range of services including ageing support, lifestyle support, community integration, child education, interpreting and sign language education.

Why Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Deaf Services host several workloads on AWS and when it came time to implement an EUC (End User Compute) environment it made sense to build that on AWS. Deaf Services implemented an EUC solution using Amazon Workspaces for roughly 180 members of staff to be able to work remotely. The solution was rapidly implemented and for the most part was working really well.

Overview of the challenge

There were a few challenges that lead to DS working with WOLK Technology on a AWS Well Architected Review. For DS the main challenges were a lack of visibility of the state of the Workspaces, users complaining of slow login times and a blown out budget.

What is AWS Well Architected

AWS Well-Architected helps cloud architects build secure, high-performing, resilient, and efficient infrastructure for their applications and workloads. Based on five pillars — operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency, and cost optimization — AWS Well-Architected provides a consistent approach for customers and partners to evaluate architectures, and implement designs that can scale over time.

The AWS Well-Architected Framework describes the key concepts, design principles, and architectural best practices for designing and running workloads in the cloud. By answering a set of foundational questions, you learn how well your architecture aligns with cloud best practices and are provided guidance for making improvements.

The Benefits of Working with AWS and WOLK Technology – an AWS Advanced consulting partner and “Amazon EC2 for Microsoft Windows” Solution Provider

WOLK worked with DS on a Well Architected Review with a particular focus on the Cost pillar. Through account visualisation and the Well Architected Review process we analysed the environment, customer needs and costs. We noticed that most staff worked more than 2 hours per day on average and some staff complained of connectivity issues in the mornings.

WOLK changed the running mode of the Workspaces fleet from “Auto-Stop” to “Always On” which gives DS a fixed monthly cost which helps with cost planning and analysis. “Auto-Stop” is great for users who work only a few hours at a time, giving a small monthly cost with a small hourly charge. If the service is used more regularly the hourly costs aggregate and eventually cost more than an “Always On” solution would, with fixed monthly costs.

WOLK then implemented a daily restart of the Workspaces instances, greatly reducing the number of issues the users were experiencing upon login. Combining the “Always On” option with a daily restart meant that the users had a much quicker login experience than before, saving an estimated 3 to 4 minutes per user per day. With 180+ users that very quickly adds up to a lot of wasted time waiting.

Moving DS from “Auto-Stop” to “Always On” and implementing the changes listed above saved DS roughly $4 000 per month in direct AWS usage costs and a further conservative estimate of $9000 in lost productivity savings.

WOLK implemented a 3rd party monitoring solution for the Deaf Services internal IT helpdesk to monitor the health of the EUC fleet, giving the IT helpdesk the power to rapidly see and fix issues before being contacted by end users.

WOLK also supplied DS with a dashboard which shows their compliance with the Well Architected standards from an account level while giving a daily snapshot of predicted vs actual vs budget cost.

Using Amazon Workspaces has been a great benefit for DS staff working from home during the Covid pandemic. Going forward DS believes that productivity will be maintained as they transition back into a more traditional / hybrid workplace as they know that the majority of staff will never return to the office.

About Northwest Investments(NWI)

Northwest Investments Pty Ltd (NWI) owns and operates a number of Quick Service Restaurants throughout Australia. NWI have a head office located in Melbourne and run a Payroll system called Accrivia.

Drivers to the Cloud

NWI was running an old SBS server in their head office location. The hardware was end of life and the operating system and operating environment were no longer supported. Connectivity for remote staff was also an issue with store managers needing to log into the central system to submit data.

Accrivia (Payroll system) is a WOLK partner and always recommend AWS and WOLK as their preferred cloud offering. This is where NWI and WOLK started their journey to the cloud. NWI wanted a system that was up to date, easy to use and allowed their remote staff better access to their systems.

“We needed to replace our aging hardware and considered several solutions and providers, the recommendation from Accrivia and the fact that WOLK supply services for a number of other similar franchisees made the decision easy” said Diana Earp, NWI.

Why Amazon Web Services (AWS)

NWI needed to replace their old server infrastructure and decided that cloud was the answer. As always, using a proven system is the easiest route to guaranteed success and WOLK had proven that it can provide solutions to other Accrivia customers, hosted on AWS.

Being the world’s biggest and most reliable public cloud provider, moving to AWS gave NWI a lot of certainty that their data would be safe. There would not be capacity or speed issues and all staff would have the same experience when using shared company resources.

WOLK implemented a new firewall appliance with failover to 4g at the NWI head office, which meant that the normal blocker of “what if my internet goes down” was negated very easily.

The Benefits of Working with AWS and WOLK Technology – an AWS Advanced consulting partner and “Amazon EC2 for Microsoft Windows” Solution Provider

NWI had been working with another Managed Service Provider (MSP) who made things a lot easier for WOLK to transition NWI to the cloud – often incumbent providers try and make things as difficult as possible. Moving all of NWI’s IT resources to WOLK meant that WOLK turned into their single point of contact for all their IT needs.

There was no longer a need for a VPN or insecure RDP connections. WOLK implemented an Amazon Workspaces solution which meant that everyone had access to everything they needed to do their job and meant that the store managers could be more efficient.

WOLK provided a very straightforward solution, which includes the EUC environment, File shares, Office applications, Payroll system and their Legacy apps. With a baseline cost, every additional user cost can be easily calculated to allow for planning.

Doing a client onboarding using a AWS Well Architected Review allows us to know a lot more about our clients than what we otherwise would have, which inevitably gives the customer a more robust and secure solution.

Most of the office-based staff now work from home and only occasionally go into the office. This is only possible because staff can now work from home with the same efficiency as working from the office, even if using BYOD home grade equipment. The ease of switching from office based to remote working is one of the key advantages to having a cloud native end user compute solution.

About HSA

Hydraulic Seals Australia (HSA) leads the hydraulic seals market in providing custom-engineered and OEM hydraulic components. With manufacturing and warehouses located in Melbourne West, Melbourne East, Sydney, Newcastle and Brisbane, HSA provides quality products along with highly trained professionals, each employee working directly with the customer from procurement to delivery and inventory management.

Drivers to the Cloud

HSA was running an end of life on-premise server solution which was extremely noisy to the point where it caused a disturbance to the workplace. After experiencing numerous problems with this ageing solution and not being able to keep up with the pace of demand, HSA decided to look for an alternative solution to overcome the challenges.

HSA decided to abandon the physical servers and move to a private cloud solution, belonging to a third-party private vendor. But with the provider failing to address the company needs and not being able to deliver the demand, HSA was facing new problems.

“We were exhausted by the constant issues we had to deal with relating to the third-party who hosted the servers for the company” said Kelly Barrett, HSA. “WOLK technology brought us hope and faith that we could overcome these issues by moving to AWS” she further stated.

Why Amazon Web Services (AWS)

With the disappointing experience of on-site and private cloud server offerings, HSA was looking for a reliable, agile solution that could cater for their growing requirements without the huge capital outlay.

Being the world’s biggest and most reliable public cloud provider, moving to AWS gave HSA a lot of certainty that their data would be safe. There would not be capacity or speed issues and all branches would have the same experience when using shared company resources.

HSA had big growth plans and needed a solution that could scale with them, while being able to stay within the company budget.

The Benefits of Working with AWS and WOLK Technology – an AWS Advanced consulting partner

HSA had been through a rough time with regards to their IT environment and needed a robust, performant solution that would not break the bank and could grow with them. WOLK understood the customer needs, especially the desire to be able to launch new branches with minimal fuss so WOLK implemented an EUC (End User Compute) environment for HSA to meet their needs. Because of external factors, there was a very small window during which WOLK managed to successfully migrate HSA from their old private cloud hosting facility to AWS.

Moving all compute resources to the cloud and keeping the data secure meant that the endpoint devices no longer had an influence on the user experience. We removed the need for endpoint devices to contain any data and we removed the need for a VPN between branches – this has significantly improved the customer’s security posture. Backups are automated, data is encrypted, users are kept away from data and the payroll system and data is no longer on shared resources.

WOLK provide our customers with a simple per user cost for usage and support, providing the customer with an easy to calculate growth path. HSA recently opened a new branch in Melbourne which was made very simple thanks to their scalable AWS environment. WOLK ordered an NBN connection, supplied the needed equipment for the new branch and configured the Firewall to use a 4g connection until the NBN went live, allowing the branch to start trading as soon as they were granted occupancy of the building.

During periods where access to the office is restricted, staff have the option of working from home with the same efficiency as working from the office, even if using BYOD home grade equipment. The ease of switching from office based to remote working is one of the key advantages to having a cloud native end user compute solution.

About HSA

Hydraulic Seals Australia (HSA) leads the hydraulic seals market in providing custom-engineered and OEM hydraulic components. With manufacturing and warehouses located in Melbourne West, Melbourne East, Sydney, Newcastle and Brisbane, HSA provides quality products along with highly trained professionals, each employee working directly with the customer from procurement to delivery and inventory management.

Drivers to the Cloud

HSA has been with WOLK for some time and as such has matured it’s use of AWS services along the way. Originally HSA was running an end of life on-premise server solution which was extremely noisy and caused a disturbance to the workplace to the point where people no longer wanted to sit in the office. After experiencing numerous problems with this ageing solution due to ageing hardware and software, HSA decided to look for an alternative solution to overcome the challenges.

Before moving to WOLK, HSA decided to abandon their physical servers and move to a private hosting solution, belonging to a third-party private vendor. But with the provider failing to address the company needs and not being able to deliver the demand, HSA was facing new problems. There were multiple issues relating to the underlying hardware and configuration used by the vendor – oversubscription, slows and extended periods of outages ranging in days rather than hours or minutes were very common.

“We were exhausted by the constant issues we had to deal with relating to the third-party who hosted the servers for the company” said Kelly Barrett, HSA. “WOLK technology brought us hope and faith that we could overcome these issues by moving to AWS” she further stated.

Why Amazon Web Services (AWS)

With the disappointing experience of on-site and private cloud server offerings, HSA was looking for a reliable, agile solution that could cater for their growing requirements without the huge capital outlay.

Being the world’s biggest and most reliable public cloud provider, moving to AWS gave HSA a lot of certainty that their data would be safe. There would not be capacity or speed issues and all branches would have the same experience when using shared company resources.

HSA had big growth plans and needed a solution that could scale with them, while being able to stay within budget.

The Benefits of Working with AWS and WOLK Technology – an AWS Advanced consulting partner

HSA had been through a rough time with regards to their IT environment and needed a robust, performant solution that would not break the bank and could grow with them. WOLK understood the customer needs, especially the desire to be able to launch new branches with minimal fuss so WOLK implemented an EUC (End User Compute) environment for HSA to meet their needs. Because of external factors, there was a very small time window during which WOLK managed to successfully migrate HSA from their old private cloud hosting facility to AWS.

Previously, HSA had regularly experienced slows when someone at the branch level uploaded files or synchronized their Documents or Photos from their local machine to the server. There were also a couple of incidents relating to lost files, file corruption and or virus related damage that goes hand in hand with the threat of losing a device with confidential company data on it. Moving all compute resources to the cloud and keeping the data secure meant that the endpoint devices no longer had an influence on the user experience. We removed the need for endpoint devices to contain any data and we removed the need for a VPN between branches – this has significantly improved the customer’s security posture. Backups are automated, data is encrypted, users are kept away from data and the payroll system and data is no longer on shared resources.

WOLK provide our customers with a simple per user cost for usage and support, providing the customer with an easy to calculate growth path. HSA recently opened a new branch in Melbourne which was made very simple thanks to their scalable AWS environment. The IT / communication part of this go-live took mere minutes. WOLK pre-ordered an NBN connection, supplied the needed equipment for the new branch and configured the Firewall to use a 4g connection until the NBN went live, allowing the branch to start trading as soon as they were granted occupancy of the building.

During periods where access to the office is restricted, staff have the option of working from home with the same efficiency as working from the office, even if using BYOD home grade equipment. The ease of switching from office based to remote working is one of the key advantages to having a cloud native end user compute solution.

So what did WOLK do for HSA?

Due to time constraints and the technology stack already in place, WOLK migrated HSA to AWS using a lift-and-shift method from the private cloud hosting facility. This was partly done to reduce pushback from users by completely changing the technology they used as the users were reluctant to change. There was no time to retrain staff at that point as they had only just learned how to use the previous systems. We implemented a classic Microsoft Terminal Server environment and migrated all users across all branches over to the new infrastructure – going offline on a Friday afternoon and being live on the new systems on the Monday at 9am. This also included an Office 365 migration at the same time.

HSA used this system for several years, slowly adding more and more services to the mix as they grew and matured within the AWS portfolio. A need arose to keep the payroll system completely isolated from the rest of the shared systems due to incompatibility with software versions, so we implemented Workspaces for that purpose and the rest of the users continued to use the Terminal Services environment and it worked really well.

The time came to think about modernizing again, based partly on the age of the operating systems used in various parts of the infrastructure and changes in Microsoft licensing. It was clear that the best option at this point was to move all users to Workspaces and remove the ageing Terminal servers.

As prescribed by the Well Architected Framework, we conducted a Well Architected Review with HSA’s new GM and modernized all components of their environment. This means that every component is now once again under Microsoft support, is modern and the account as a whole has had a refreshed look at security and compliance. This is something we look at as part of our managed services ongoing, but taking the time and reassessing with the client (especially if there is new management) by conducting a Well Architected Review is key.

Technologies used within this environment include but are not limited to:

– Organizations
– Cloudformation
– EC2
– Config
– GuardDuty
– KMS
– Secrets Manager
– Systems Manager
– Workspaces
– FSx
– Lambda
– Route 53
– Cloudfront
– S3
– SES
– SNS
– Cloudtrail
– Cloudwatch
– Backup

In the SMB segment it is also prudent to understand that sometimes there are valid business reasons why clients use certain technologies and not others. For example, using a SQL server hosted on EC2 is perfectly fine if the customer is using a line of business system that needs features that are simply not available when using an RDS solution.

About Deaf Services(DS)

Deaf Services (DS) is the prominent service provider for the Deaf and hard of hearing community with a focus on community and empowerment. Deaf Services are a not-for-profit organisation working with the community to enhance services and programs that benefit Deaf and hard of hearing adults and children across Australia. Deaf Services provide a broad range of services including ageing support, lifestyle support, community integration, child education, interpreting and sign language education.

Why Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Deaf Services host several workloads on AWS and when it came time to implement an EUC (End User Compute) environment it made sense to build that on AWS. Deaf Services implemented an EUC solution using Amazon Workspaces for roughly 180 members of staff to be able to work remotely. The solution was rapidly implemented and for the most part was working really well.

Overview of the challenge

There were a few challenges that lead to DS working with WOLK Technology on a AWS Well Architected Review. For DS the main challenges were a lack of visibility of the state of the Workspaces, users complaining of slow login times and a blown out budget.

What is AWS Well Architected

AWS Well-Architected helps cloud architects build secure, high-performing, resilient, and efficient infrastructure for their applications and workloads. Based on five pillars — operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency, and cost optimization — AWS Well-Architected provides a consistent approach for customers and partners to evaluate architectures, and implement designs that can scale over time.

The AWS Well-Architected Framework describes the key concepts, design principles, and architectural best practices for designing and running workloads in the cloud. By answering a set of foundational questions, you learn how well your architecture aligns with cloud best practices and are provided guidance for making improvements.

The Benefits of Working with AWS and WOLK Technology – an AWS Advanced consulting partner and “Amazon EC2 for Microsoft Windows” Solution Provider

WOLK worked with DS on a Well Architected Review with a particular focus on the Cost pillar. Through account visualisation and the Well Architected Review process we analysed the environment, customer needs and costs. We noticed that most staff worked more than 2 hours per day on average and some staff complained of connectivity issues in the mornings.

WOLK changed the running mode of the Workspaces fleet from “Auto-Stop” to “Always On” which gives DS a fixed monthly cost which helps with cost planning and analysis. “Auto-Stop” is great for users who work only a few hours at a time, giving a small monthly cost with a small hourly charge. If the service is used more regularly the hourly costs aggregate and eventually cost more than an “Always On” solution would, with fixed monthly costs.

WOLK then implemented a daily restart of the Workspaces instances, greatly reducing the number of issues the users were experiencing upon login. Combining the “Always On” option with a daily restart meant that the users had a much quicker login experience than before, saving an estimated 3 to 4 minutes per user per day. With 180+ users that very quickly adds up to a lot of wasted time waiting.

Moving DS from “Auto-Stop” to “Always On” and implementing the changes listed above saved DS roughly $4 000 per month in direct AWS usage costs and a further conservative estimate of $9000 in lost productivity savings.

WOLK implemented a 3rd party monitoring solution for the Deaf Services internal IT helpdesk to monitor the health of the EUC fleet, giving the IT helpdesk the power to rapidly see and fix issues before being contacted by end users.

WOLK also supplied DS with a dashboard which shows their compliance with the Well Architected standards from an account level while giving a daily snapshot of predicted vs actual vs budget cost.

Using Amazon Workspaces has been a great benefit for DS staff working from home during the Covid pandemic. Going forward DS believes that productivity will be maintained as they transition back into a more traditional / hybrid workplace as they know that the majority of staff will never return to the office.

So what did WOLK do for DS?

DS already had an AWS account with a production workload. Due to urgent work from home demands DS had created ~180 Workspaces to enable their users to continue functioning. For the most part this was a easy and smooth project and it was deemed a success.

The DS servicedesk were getting a fair amount of tickets and user complaints due to slows and unresponsive Workspaces instances. DS contacted WOLK to help, we recommended that we conduct a Well Architected Review.

WOLK found that the majority of issues came from users trying to log on in the morning, then having issues and slows due to Workspaces and applications resuming. WOLK implemented several changes to the Workspaces workload, first was to change all users from auto-stop to always on. This reduced the wait time in the mornings where users had to wait for their Workspaces instance to come alive. We also introduced a daily restart of the Workspaces instances which took care of slows caused by users never restarting their instances.

Lastly, WOLK gave DS a monitoring solution that checks the health of the individual Workspaces and displays it on a custom dashboard that the support staff can display in the office or in a browser. The result being that the servicedesk could resolve issues on unresponsive Workspaces before the users report them. Combining the time saved when logging on with the time saved by multiple users having non-responsive Workspaces each morning is where the productivity savings are realized.

Technologies used within this environment include but are not limited to:

– Organizations
– Cloudformation
– EC2
– Config
– GuardDuty
– KMS
– Secrets Manager
– Systems Manager
– Workspaces
– FSx
– Lambda
– Route 53
– Cloudfront
– S3
– SES
– SNS
– Cloudtrail
– Cloudwatch
– Backup
– Direct Connect

About The LOTE Agency

The LOTE Agency is a multicultural marketing agency that serves advertising needs for multicultural companies in helping them to deliver their message, product or brand to multicultural audiences. The LOTE Agency not only uses the best professional level translators available to translate the message and produce multilingual campaign materials, but also helps in effectively targeting a greater audience.

“While providing a range of advertising and marketing services like advertisements, brochures, corporate videos, research, planning and strategy to digital marketing production and delivery, The LOTE Agency serves the non-English Australian community including employers, advertising agencies and marketing professionals wishing to communicate with audiences from diverse cultural backgrounds.”

Drivers to the Cloud

The biggest influence for LOTE to move to a cloud-based platform was that their on-premises hardware was nearing end of life. An unexpected hardware failure nudged them towards a new solution slightly earlier than anticipated. “It was clear that we needed something more reliable than an on-site server”, spoke Peta Reynolds – Project Manager of The LOTE Agency about the disappointing experience caused by the server failure. The team have started realizing the significant limitations and challenges in cost, performance, and agility caused by the on-premise hosted server by the time this incident occurred.

The anticipation of the needs of its growing customer base was also one of the reasons that drove the company to move to the cloud.

Among many of the other drivers to the cloud, the security of data was a major concern with the rise of malicious attacks and crypto-style events. Having the data securely in an encrypted and secure cloud system removed the burden of further securing the physical office environment. The LOTE Agency now has all data encrypted at rest, all backups are encrypted and kept safe for as long as they require.

Why Amazon Web Services (AWS)

LOTE has been considering moving to AWS even before the server failure took place as they have been realizing the challenges and potential pitfalls that are inherent with on-premise servers. Without a remote solution and all the software running on that sever required staff to be located in the same physical location. AWS provides the ability to migrate from a normal workstation to a graphics workstation in a matter of minutes. This has been of benefit to LOTE as their needs change.

One of the other primary concerns for LOTE when contemplating the move to the cloud was the security. Data security being one of the main pillars of the Well Architected Framework, it is guaranteed that the data is stored more securely in their AWS tenant than in an on-premises server.

With AWS, the company exploits a scalable, reliable, and secure worldwide computing infrastructure, the virtual backbone of Amazon.com’s multi-billion-dollar online business that has been sharpened for over a decade. On the other hand, they can also scale up or down the computing resources according to business demand and requirements. Deploying new Workspaces or servers as well as the reduction of superfluous resources are instantly attainable.

The Benefits of Working with AWS and WOLK Technology – an AWS Advanced consulting partner and “Amazon EC2 for Microsoft Windows” Solution Provider

Moving to AWS has given LOTE the ability to go global, as it doesn’t require a specific location for staff members, In fact, they can work from anywhere in the world by logging into their own Workspaces environment. This has given the benefits and the capability to work globally despite the difficulties with doing so. Ash, Client Services Manager at The LOTE Agency, especially finds it convenient and easy as he can access the platform from anywhere with lower latency than before and also enjoys a better user experience. Moving to Workspaces has reduced the expenses on hardware – the company could cut down the expenditure on installation, configuration, and maintenance of high end graphics workstations and the on-premise servers including power costs, physical security concerns and cooling.

Looking Forward

The LOTE Agency keeps on propelling themselves to new heights while working closely with WOLK Technology, the organization intends to incorporate more AWS services into the platform.

The LOTE Agency now also has the ability to properly budget for tenders that they choose to bid for, having a fixed cost per employee or contractor, safe in the knowledge that the customer data never leaves the LOTE environment and when the tender ends, they no longer pay for those resources. A whole new way of working has opened up to LOTE, with the ability to engage staff or contractors from anywhere and at a moment’s notice. Applying for tenders that have extraneous security requirements is now also a lot easier – when completing the tenders they can now tick every box when it comes to security – “where is the data”, “how is the data stored, is it encrypted” or “who has access to the data” etc. Moving to AWS has given LOTE a solid security posture which really works in their favour when it comes to those security conscious customers.

So what did WOLK do for LOTE?

Due to hardware failure, WOLK lent LOTE some hardware thus time was a big factor in this migration so we fast-tracked the project and got all LOTE’s data synchronized and had the users working on AWS within a week. This was a pretty standard migration project for WOLK and fits our normal mold for Modern End User Compute.

WOLK conducted a Well Architected Review with LOTE. LOTE learned a lot about AWS and terms like RTO and RPO which was a fun process which added value to their business.

Moving to AWS and Workspaces has allowed LOTE predictable ongoing costs and an easy process for adding extra staff. Since moving to Workspaces LOTE has grown from an initial 4 users to over 25 users and still growing. These users are no longer restricted to a geographic location which means that there are far reaching implications for LOTE being able to employ people in the locations they physically need to work..

Technologies used within this environment include but are not limited to:

– Organizations
– Cloudformation
– EC2
– Config
– GuardDuty
– KMS
– Secrets Manager
– Systems Manager
– Workspaces
– Lambda
– S3
– SES
– SNS
– Cloudtrail
– Cloudwatch
– Backup

About Northwest Investments(NWI)

Northwest Investments Pty Ltd (NWI) owns and operates a number of Quick Service Restaurants throughout Australia. NWI have a head office located in Melbourne and run a Payroll system called Accrivia.

Drivers to the Cloud

NWI was running an old Microsoft Small Business Server in their head office location. The hardware was end of life and the operating system were no longer supported. Connectivity for remote staff was also an issue with store managers needing to log into the central system to submit data. Slows due to the NBN connection caused severe issues for remote staff trying to connect back to on-premise resources.

Accrivia (Payroll system) is a WOLK partner and always recommend AWS and WOLK as their preferred cloud offering. This is where NWI and WOLK started their journey to the cloud. NWI wanted a system that was up to date, easy to use and allowed their remote staff better access to their systems while also keeping user familiarity with the current systems as a priority to reduce user pushback.

“We needed to replace our aging hardware and considered several solutions and providers, the recommendation from Accrivia and the fact that WOLK supply services for a number of other similar franchisees made the decision easy” said Diana Earp, NWI.

Why Amazon Web Services (AWS)

NWI needed to replace their old server infrastructure and decided that cloud was the answer. As always, using a proven system is the easiest route to guaranteed success and WOLK had proven that it can provide solutions to other Accrivia customers, hosted on AWS.

Being the world’s biggest and most reliable public cloud provider, moving to AWS gave NWI a lot of certainty that their data would be safe. There would not be capacity or speed issues and all staff would have the same experience when using shared company resources.

WOLK implemented a new firewall appliance with failover to 4g at the NWI head office, which meant that the normal blocker of “what if my internet goes down” was negated very easily.

The Benefits of Working with AWS and WOLK Technology – an AWS Advanced consulting partner and “Amazon EC2 for Microsoft Windows” Solution Provider

NWI had been working with another Managed Service Provider (MSP) for the on-premise server who made things a lot easier for WOLK to transition NWI to the cloud. Moving all of NWI’s IT resources to WOLK meant that WOLK turned into their single point of contact for all their IT needs.

There was no longer a need for a VPN or insecure RDP connections to an unsupported Remote Desktop server. WOLK initially implemented a modern and secure Microsoft Remote Desktop solution which meant that everyone had access to everything they needed to do their job and meant that the store managers could be more efficient all while keeping the way they worked very similar to before.

WOLK provided a very straightforward solution, which includes the EUC environment, File shares, Office applications, Payroll system and their Legacy apps. With a baseline cost, every additional user cost can be easily calculated to allow for planning.

Most of the office-based staff now work from home and only occasionally go into the office. This is only possible because staff can now work from home with the same efficiency as working from the office, even if using BYOD home grade equipment. The ease of switching from office based to remote working is one of the key advantages to having a cloud native end user compute solution.

So what did WOLK do for NWI?

Due to time constraints and the technology stack already in place, WOLK migrated NWI to AWS using a lift-and-shift method from the on-premise server to reduce pushback by users when completely changing the technology they used. We were told that staff were very resistant to change and they are used to the previous / old systems. We implemented a classic Microsoft Terminal Server environment and migrated all users to the new infrastructure over a 48 hour period.

NWI used this system for about 12 months, but a change in Microsoft licensing forced a rethink of the environment and NWI agreed to move to Workspaces.

WOLK conducted a Well Architected Review with NWI. The result being that every component is compliant with the new Microsoft licensing terms and the account is in the best state possible. Going through the process of a review with the client highlights the reasons behind some of the recommendations we were making and the client learnt a lot along the way. Engraining the Well Architected principles into everything we do adds real value to clients.

Technologies used within this environment include but are not limited to:

– Organizations
– Cloudformation
– EC2
– Config
– GuardDuty
– KMS
– Secrets Manager
– Systems Manager
– Workspaces
– FSx
– Lambda
– Route 53
– S3
– SES
– SNS
– Cloudtrail
– Cloudwatch
– Backup

About NCS/DSDAssist

“Numeric Computer Systems (NCS), has focused on the needs of Fast-Moving Consumer Goods companies for over 40 years. Over that time, we have stayed abreast of revolutionary changes in the industry, today offering the eighth generation of our solutions. In 2016, we launched the DSD Assist cloud based solution portfolio.  The DSD Assist portfolio includes a new portal application, DSD Connect, plus online-offline mobile solutions for Sales Reps, Van Sales, Delivery drivers and Merchandisers.  Added to this is a mobile-first web ordering solution”

Drivers to the Cloud

The biggest influence in the creation of the DSD Assist products and for NCS to move to a cloud-based platform was to increase reliability and availability for customers. Scalability was also a large component to allow the suite of applications to respond rapidly to increasing customer demand, primarily within the Asia Pacific market.

The anticipation of the needs of its growing customer base was also one of the reasons that drove the company to move into the cloud. A massive feature and benefit of this move as well as moving to a more modern mobile suite of applications was the decrease in onsite consultancy, and ease of use for the customer.

Why Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Moving to AWS was a natural progression for a company with such large and global growth, such as NCS, the scalability and availability allow them to readily increase and decrease the costs and performance as the customer needs changed and grew.

The move to SaaS model allowed NCS to increase its customer base rapidly, especially due to the scalability and reliability offered. “I cannot express how happy we have been with the process of moving to AWS, and the increase of reliability and scalability.” -Greg Mellis

With AWS, the company exploits a scalable, reliable, and secure worldwide computing infrastructure, the virtual backbone of Amazon.com’s multi-billion-dollar online business that has been sharpened for over a decade. On the other hand, they can also scale up or down the computing resources according to business demand and requirements. Deploying new servers as well as the reduction of superfluous resources are instantly attainable. Given NCS’ growing client base, the organization uses an expansive number of AWS Products and Services, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon FSx, Application Load Balancer, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS), Amazon Workspaces, Route 53, CloudFormation, CloudTrail, CloudWatch, Amazon SES, Secrets manager and more.

The Benefits of Working with AWS and WOLK Technology – an AWS Advanced consulting partner and “Amazon EC2 for Microsoft Windows” Solution Provider

This process has reduced the expenses on hardware – the company could cut down the expenditure in the installation, configuration, and maintenance of on-premise servers including power costs, physical security concerns and cooling.

AWS security and compliance is a mutual responsibility model; the double layered protection – the first layer of AWS security and the second layer of security architecture customized depending on the business requirements. NCS has benefitted from the extra security offered by AWS by opening only port 443 and further securing their client portal by using CloudFront. NCS can further protect themselves by only making their client portal available to certain geographic locations.

Prior to working with WOLK, NCS was partnered with two separate AWS Partners, they did not find a suitable fit with them either the partner was focussed on larger clients or on a more Linux focused set of services.

WOLK Technology had synergy and was recommended via AWS itself, moving forward together and investigating new technologies, including FSx.

The greatest benefit for NCS in regard to Amazon FSx for Windows File Server was ensuring logs and changing data was placed into FSx allowing multiple servers and services access to the data, reducing downtime for databases to allow for maintenance of servers.

Why Amazon FSx for Windows File Server?

A pivotal component or service of the continually evolving DSD Assist Portfolio is Amazon FSx for Windows File Server.

At the infrastructure level the addition of a resilient, redundant service for the storage of data, transactions, logs etc. increases the resiliency of the application, removing multiple data drives that were all single points of failure. What is at first glance a more expensive solution quickly becomes cost effective if you consider the removal of each disks overhead, the backing up of each disk, and the potential for multiple copies of the same data. Add data deduplication, full compatibility with Windows Server, different storage tiers the cost effectiveness is no longer the question.

At the application level using a shared storage solution reduces transfer of data between components, meaning a write once read many solution to ‘none database data’ reducing batch times and reducing demand on the application servers. With all data being written off host recovery times and recovery points reduce which aligns with the AWS Well-Architected Framework.

Looking Forward

NCS keeps on propelling themselves to new heights while working closely with WOLK Technology, the organization intends to incorporate more AWS services into the platform.

NCS look towards utilising FSx in more ways, as well as utilising the entire AWS Storage infrastructure, for example storing data in S3 as opposed to database storage. They are also looking into modifying some of their batch processing, investigating other options such as Lambda.

About The LOTE Agency

The LOTE Agency is a multicultural marketing agency that serves advertising needs for multicultural companies in helping them to deliver their message, product or brand to multicultural audiences. The LOTE Agency not only uses the best professional level translators available to translate the message and produce multilingual campaign materials, but also helps in effectively targeting a greater audience.

“While providing a range of advertising and marketing services like advertisements, brochures, corporate videos, research, planning and strategy to digital marketing production and delivery, The LOTE Agency serves the non-English Australian community including employers, advertising agencies and marketing professionals wishing to communicate with audiences from diverse cultural backgrounds.”

Drivers to the Cloud

The biggest influence for The LOTE Agency to move to a cloud-based platform was when their on-premises hardware was nearing end of life and an unexpected hardware failure nudged them towards a new solution. “It was clear that we needed something more reliable than an on-site server”, spoke Peta Reynolds – Project Manager of The LOTE Agency about the disappointing experience caused by the server failure. The team have started realizing the significant limitations and challenges in cost, performance, and agility caused by the on-site hosted server by the time this incident occurred.

The anticipation of the needs of its growing customer base was also one of the reasons that drove the company to move into the cloud.

According to Peta, AWS was chosen as the PaaS for The LOTE Agency, as for the reasons; convenience and agility with the rapid increase of the global customer base. Through this experience, The LOTE Agency built up a profound dimension of aptitude in security, systems administration, while removing the burden associated with on-premise environments.

Among many of the other drivers to the cloud, the security of data was a major concern with the rise of malicious attacks and crypto-style events. Have the data securely in an encrypted and secure cloud system removed the burden of securing the physical office environment. The LOTE Agency now has all data encrypted at rest, all backups are encrypted and kept safe for as long as they choose – using services like Deep Glacier it makes sense to keep backups for longer than ever before.

Why Amazon Web Services (AWS)

The LOTE Agency has been considering moving on to AWS even before the server failure took place as they have been realizing the challenges and potential pitfalls that are inherent with on-site servers and all the software running on that sever requiring the staff to be located in the same physical location. AWS provides the facility to migrate from a normal workstation to a graphical workstation in a matter of seconds and this has been benefiting their advertising market in an efficient way. In addition, AWS supports multiple technology stacks making it easier to manage the business on the public cloud based platform.

One of the other primary concerns for The LOTE Agency when contemplating the move to the cloud was the security. Data security being one of the main pillars of the AWS business model, it is virtually guaranteed that the data is stored more securely in the cloud than in an on-premises server.

With AWS, the company exploits a scalable, reliable, and secure worldwide computing infrastructure, the virtual backbone of Amazon.com’s multi-billion-dollar online business that has been sharpened for over a decade. On the other hand, they can also scale up or down the computing resources according to business demand and requirements. Deploying new Workspaces or servers as well as the reduction of superfluous resources are instantly attainable.

Given The LOTE Agency’s growing client base, the organization uses an expansive number of AWS Products and Services, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS), Amazon Workspaces, Route 53, CloudFormation, CloudTrail, CloudFront, CloudWatch, Amazon SES, Secrets manager and more.

The Benefits of Working with AWS and WOLK Technology – an AWS Advanced consulting partner and “Amazon EC2 for Microsoft Windows” Solution Provider

Moving on to AWS has given The LOTE Agency the ability to go global, as it doesn’t require a specific location for staff members, in fact, they can work from anywhere in the world by logging in to their own workspaces environment. This has given the benefits and the capability to work globally despite the difficulties with doing so. Ash, Client Services Manager at The LOTE Agency, especially finds it convenient and easy as he can access the platform from anywhere with lower latency than before and also enjoys a better user experience at a minimal cost. Apart from that, this process has reduced the expenses on hardware – the company could cut down the expenditure in the installation, configuration, and maintenance of on-premise servers including power costs, physical security concerns and cooling.

AWS security and compliance is a mutual responsibility model; the double layered protection – the first layer of AWS security and the second layer of security architecture customized depending on the business requirements. The LOTE Agency has benefited from the extra security offered by AWS by opening only port 443 and further securing their client portal by using CloudFront. The LOTE Agency can further protect themselves by only making their client portal available to certain geographic locations.

The LOTE Agency has also promoted the fast-paced working environment, reduced downtime, higher productivity and ensured customer satisfaction which eventually leads to higher revenue.

Looking Forward

The LOTE Agency keeps on propelling themselves to new heights while working closely with WOLK Technology, the organization intends to incorporate more AWS services into the platform.

The LOTE Agency now also has the ability to properly budget for tenders that they choose to bid for, having a fixed cost per employee or contractor, safe in the knowledge that the customer data never leaves the The LOTE Agency environment and when the tender ends, they no longer pay for those resources. A whole new way of working has opened up to The LOTE Agency, with the ability to engage staff or contractors from anywhere and at a moment’s notice. There are several AWS services that The LOTE Agency has not explored yet that may be of interest in the future to help automate and streamline the business, these include Elastic Transcoder, Kinesis Video Streams, Media Convert to name a few.