Today’s guest blog post comes from Alex Krikos, director of cloud services product management at SunGard Availability Services.
Early this year, a key customer of ours told us it wanted to move its computing infrastructure and services into the cloud. My company, SunGard Availability Services, provides IT availability services to ensure that enterprises’ mission-critical applications remain up and running. SunGard offers managed IT services, IT consulting, disaster recovery, and business continuity management software solutions to help organizations keep people and information connected.
Our customer, based in Europe, specializes in the outsourcing of government services. The organization was interested in moving its services into the cloud to accomplish five main objectives:
- Improve financial management through usage billing
- Enhance the efficiency of its operating model
- Reduce IT costs
- Improve speed, flexibility, and agility of infrastructure
- Enable a high-growth business strategy through low-risk provisioning of services in the cloud
SunGard’s first task was to select a platform on which to implement our customer’s application. In evaluating the possibilities, we considered several criteria, including a wide variety of flexible computing options, cost, and performance.
We chose Amazon Web Services (AWS) to meet the infrastructure needs of our customer because it provided the organization with attractive and continued cost reduction on infrastructure and it could meet both SunGard’s and our customer’s need for agility in terms of speed of provisioning.
SunGard’s implementation for this customer was built around AWS Regions and Availability Zones, with three main environments — dev/test, staging, and production — as shown in the figure below. Within each environment we created SunGard-defined subnet tiers for web, app, and database services. Each subnet tier is a logical connection of subnets, with access between regions provided by VPC-to-VPC IPsec, and access policy controlled by security groups that can be defined on a per-subnet-tier basis. With this flexible architecture we can expand by adding Regions and Availability Zones as needed for better performance and availability.
SunGard’s AWS deployment implementation
After settling on a public cloud provider, we considered how we were going to manage the application. We looked at five key factors in choosing an orchestration layer partner:
- Time to market was a critical motivator, as SunGard had a tight schedule and did not have time to develop deployment tools internally.
- AWS transparency was essential because the orchestration layer needed to mirror and manage AWS services.
- Costs associated with the provisioning of instances and services are always important to plan and optimize.
- DevOps ease of use was a key factor because the orchestration layer had to serve development and IT operations in tandem.
- Finally, forging a partnership with a cloud management provider was critical, not only for this customer’s release, but also for future releases.
SunGard chose RightScale Cloud Management because of its seamless integration with AWS. RightScale provided a path to migrate applications from our customer’s data centers to the AWS infrastructure. RightScale defines and utilizes instances and images in a way that provides functional transparency with AWS. We also appreciated the RightScale track record of handling AWS operations at scale and deploying resilient applications that can span multiple Regions and Availability Zones. And RightScale offered services and solutions in configuration, automation, and governance.
SunGard also recognized RightScale’s appeal to the DevOps community. Development and IT operations often function in disparate cultural camps. RightScale meets the needs of both developers and IT professionals in a seamless and frictionless manner, resulting in improved application quality and enhanced speed to market.
RightScale ServerTemplates™ were central to SunGard’s cloud implementation strategy. ServerTemplates provide a way to boot a server from generic images and configure the server dynamically at boot time. Using an operating system ServerTemplate as a base, we added SunGard tools to create a custom SunGard template and then created a customer template by adding our customer’s application to the SunGard template.
Thanks to our partnership with RightScale, SunGard was able to meet our customer’s need for agility and speed of provisioning and to create a reliable and effective orchestration management layer to manage AWS resources.