Global Bridge provides an online platform for the recruitment of students by employers and educational institutes. Students seeking employment can showcase their skills and talents, and recruiters can promote their vacancies and search for individuals to hire. To support employers there is a searchable, fully customisable database which can be tailored to identify individuals with specific skills, interests and goals.
The organisation’s IT systems were being hosted on private cloud – which is a single tenant environment (the space isn’t shared with other clients and companies) cloud-based service for hosting and storage that can be on-site or off-site.
The company wanted to transform their infrastructure and implement the following changes:
Enhance their IT systems to lower the cost of running their websites and servers
Benefit from greater flexibility so their infrastructure could grow alongside their business
To be able to easily scale up and down in a cost-effective way
Work with an experienced IT services provider that would offer improved levels of support and development
A Senior Cloud Consultant at Perfect Image who worked on the project says, “Previously, they weren’t able to scale up and down very easily. They would have had to pay a lot of money to build and implement new servers, and Global Bridge wouldn’t have had the resource at the time to do that. Potentially they might have had to turn business away if they couldn’t scale, so it was vital to get this environment implemented – and quickly.”
Although they weren’t specifically looking for a public cloud solution after gathering requirements and consultation, it became apparent that moving away from private cloud into public cloud – specifically Amazon Web Services (AWS) – was going to be the most beneficial solution.
We began migration by building a development system in AWS with Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), a fully managed and hosted database service. We then moved their code base, their front-end web server and their app server. As we were utilising SQL as a service, AWS would manage the back end and take on the responsibility of updates and managing the operating system, and automatically provide backup and failover capabilities. With a cloud service, the headache of monitoring, patching, supporting and maintaining the server is taken away.
In the earlier stages of implementing the solution, Perfect Image provided assistance to train Global Bridge in how to use best practices when dealing with their new public cloud environment and to get them started in using SQL.
To ensure cloud solutions are optimised and maintained in the future, we offered regular meetings to review the infrastructure and its support, both from a technical and a commercial point of view, with an assigned AWS certified Technical Manager and a Commercial Account Manager.
When we set up the new environment, Global Bridge was in negotiations with around fifty companies. To be able to undertake that amount of work, the company would have to have the ability to scale up significantly. At the time of implementation, the company were expecting a growth of thousands of users. Because AWS is highly scalable, and wouldn’t require much internal resource or time to do, their systems can now effortlessly handle any fluctuations in demand.
Adopting a service instead of relying on a server means the company benefit from high availability. Their IT system’s recovery time objective (RTO – the time it takes the recovery process) and recovery point objective (RPO – how many hours or minutes of data you’re willing to lose if the worst were to happen) is typically within five minutes of the current time. They also have a 99.95% guaranteed uptime.
The low timescale of the company’s RTO is due to multi-availability zones being enabled. This means if one of the datacentres they use fails or is destroyed, the service would automatically switch to another, so there are no disruptions. This feeds into the high availability of AWS environment that they use – even if disaster strikes.
Our cloud consultant says, “These are the metrics that are going to be key for Global Bridge. It’s so important with the huge number of companies signed up to their site that they can’t afford to lose any data.”
Part of the appeal of AWS’s scalable platform is the monthly “pay as you go” model that means Global Bridge only pay for exactly what they use – billing accurately reflects only the infrastructure that has been used. Perfect Image recommended only running staging servers for twelve hours a day to reduce costs, as they are only billed for compute resources while they are active.
Perfect Image’s managed services team proactively monitor the AWS environment and have alerts set up for any errors, faults or failures with the aim of discovering issues before they become problems or before the company even realises. As an additional benefit, because their cloud solution is a managed service, Perfect Image don’t need to manage and patch the machines for them as AWS handles it as part of the service, which reduces their support costs.