Case Study: Vehicle retail group

Delivering a DR capability to a leading vehicle retail group implementing a cloud first policy using best of breed methods and technologies.

Requirements

The customer had built an initial Azure environment, but how needed a geo-redundant DR solution to extend their existing transactional platform and their existing platform design. The key requirements defined were:

  • Implement a geo-redundant platform that would have limited business as usual costs alongside an ability to move to the DR within a specified recovery point and time.
  • Ensure the environment remained scalable
  • Extend their DevOps capability

Critical success factors:

Scalable

Create a scalable environment, using code for extensible scalability.

DR Solution

Disaster Recovery service enabled.

Automation

Automation of build and deployment through pipelines.

Our solution

Analysis undertaken by our principal engineers highlighted a number of issues with the existing build leading to a recommendation to undertake some re-engineering of the existing platform first, so that it could be delivered using Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and optimised pipelines.

The design would not allow for rapid DR provisioning – Expert Thinking propose a modern platform re-engineered to meet business need. Key activities undertaken by Expert Thinking:

  • Rapid re-design of the platform using industry best practice designs (for example the use of policy driven guard rails). To enable DR to be built using code on an as needed basis.
  • Delivery of the platform using Terraform and CI/CD through integration with GitHub.
  • Support of the application development teams to ensure they build the applications to take advantage of the new platform (especially around the integration of MuleSoft, ExpressRoute, Hybrid DNS etc).
  • Working closely in blended teams to deliver the solution and relevant KT, documentation etc as part of the core platform delivery.

The benefits

The system underwent comprehensive enhancements to ensure robust disaster recovery capabilities, enabling the deployment of the core services in under an hour through a pipeline deployment to an alternative Azure region.

The new future-proof approach to code design incorporated policy-driven solutions that not only improved security, but also improved the repeatability of deployment and supportability.

A significant boost in the capabilities of the customer’s development teams was achieved through regular weekly “show and tells,” coupled with thorough documentation for effective knowledge transfer.

Governance measures were implemented, imposing stringent controls over pipeline usage for delivering application code to production and promoting the best practices of continuous integration and continuous delivery for infrastructure code deployment.

The implementation of disaster recovery was achieved without incurring incremental increases in cloud costs; in fact, the project highlighted areas for potential reduced spending.

Highlights:

Platform

Modern, supportable and documented platform.

Cost

Deliver rapid DR without legalacy methods and cost increments of “command line” platform delivery.

Resource

Freeing development teams to deliver at their pace.

..being able to call on ETs expertise was one of the key factors in getting us over the line…

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