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Increasing Operational Flexibility & Decreasing Costs with AWS Services


Executive Summary

Unanet’s infrastructure once relied heavily on physical hardware that took significant time, effort, and money to maintain or upgrade. The company frequently experienced issues with running out of disk space and facing budgetary limits to procure more storage. Digicon Corporation, as a long-time IT services partner to Unanet and an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN) Consulting Partner, migrated Unanet to the AWS Cloud and currently uses several AWS services to improve operational flexibility and costs.

 

Customer Challenge

Unanet previously used dedicated physical hardware as capital expenditures, which required forecasting to budget the investment and maintenance costs. However, forecasts were rarely accurate, and this led to cost inefficiency when the system was overbuilt and performance problems when it was underbuilt. Unanet continually ran out of disk space and memory for its systems, which required a huge effort to expand and correct. In addition, each elevation was confined to a single data center, so new physical resources had to be provisioned at another data center in order to ensure business continuity, failover, and disaster recovery.

Partner Solution

Digicon has been a trusted managed services provider to Unanet since 2002. Our established partnership allowed us to leverage our APN Consulting Partner status, AWS product knowledge, and architecture design skill to move Unanet’s architecture to the AWS Cloud.

Digicon uses several AWS services to replace Unanet’s hardware purchases. Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) replaced servers, Elastic Block Store replaced the on-premise storage attached network, and Elastic File System replaced the network-attached storage, all of which allows Unanet to purchase only the resources it needs upfront and increase them as needed with little to no disruption. We use Amazon Machine Images to standardize and streamline deployment, giving Unanet the ability to spin up new instances in minutes rather than take weeks to select, purchase, receive, and set up hardware.

Now that Unanet is established in the cloud, it is also able to accurately analyze its usage with cost allocation tags, then purchase Reserved Instances to further reduce costs. Digicon also employs Direct Connect to establish a dedicated circuit and move data between Unanet’s enterprise network and cloud environment, saving on data transfer fees. We took redundant servers that were previously located in the same data center and separated them as EC2 instances in multiple availability zones, putting them in different data centers and increasing the reliability of the entire system.

Results and Benefits

All of Unanet’s systems are now virtual instead of being costly, dedicated, physical, vendor-managed servers. Using AWS, Digicon routinely resizes individual compute and storage resources that previously had to be bought with a three- to five-year capacity plan in mind. This has eliminated Unanet’s capacity limit issues without having to predict its long-term needs and requirements. With its systems in the cloud environment, Unanet has direct, immediate control over its expenses and has optimized costs with the pay-per-use model and Amazon’s cost analysis tools. Digicon improved Unanet’s continuity and recovery issues by spreading out the elevations across multiple availability zones, ensuring its systems remain available and reliable.

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