Pythian makes critical applications highly available and reliable on the cloud for Australian Red Cross

Customer Success

Pythian makes critical applications highly available and reliable on the cloud for Australian Red Cross 

Australian Red Cross needed to migrate their data from outdated on-prem servers to virtual machines in the cloud to achieve high availability and disaster recovery. Pythian analyzed existing infrastructure and implemented database consolidation, database upgrades, and migration to the cloud. 

Overview

Australian Red Cross, a leading humanitarian aid and community services charity and an auxiliary to the Australian government, needed a significant data platform migration. The hardware they were using was outdated; they needed to consolidate their applications and data from older servers onto virtual machines in the cloud. This project would provide significant cost benefits by helping to convert capital expenditure outlays (Capex) into operational expenditure (Opex). 

Australian Red Cross needed to ensure high availability for their critical systems that perform transaction processing of data for all major services—including services for donors, volunteers, students, and clients—while reducing operational costs. The best way to meet this goal was to take advantage of the lower operational costs and high availability capabilities afforded by the cloud. The organization had already adopted Amazon Web Services (AWS) as their platform of choice and needed an experienced SQL partner who could expertly move their applications and databases to virtual machines (VMs) on AWS EC2.  

The Red Cross chose Pythian because of their extensive practical experience with the latest database technologies, including SQL Server and AWS, and their existing track record of maintaining reliable, scalable, and stable cloud environments. Gaining this stability would enable them to take advantage of features and functionality to maximize use of technologies being deployed. 

What we did

  • Provided database management, project management and cloud consulting; through Pythian’s managed services for SRE Windows offering, the Red Cross had 24/7 access to site reliability engineering resources through a unique follow the sun model 
  • Reviewed and documented client business and technical requirements and expected benefits, then analyzed existing infrastructure and developed database consolidation, upgrade, and a strategy for migrating to the cloud
  • Implemented the strategy into operations; Pythian provided these services to ensure optimal performance of the new AWS environment: 
    • Provided EC2 configuration
    • Advised on storage, technology, and power requirements
    • Performed installation, configuration, and migration (with client team) of SQL 2016 in a high-availability environment on AWS
    • Performed installation, configuration, and migration of Reporting Services in AWS
    • Created PowerShell scripting to take SQL backups to Amazon S3 
    • Implemented new SQL 2016 features (e.g., Resource Governor for Disk iops)
    • Project managed the build to specifications, consolidation, upgrade, and migration
    • Provisioned Business-As-Usual services including ongoing monitoring, maintenance, and management 

Technologies used

  • Microsoft SQL Server Data Migration Assistant for SQL 2016
  • Microsoft PowerShell for backup management 
  • Microsoft PowerShell for interacting with AWS S3, AWS EC2, and AWS Identity Access Management  

Key Outcomes

Pythian offered multidisciplinary resources and a market-leading consumption-based, flexible services offering that allowed us to maximize the use of time. Their model meant that we paid only for the time we used yet had access to top experts with very deep technical expertise when we needed it.

– Danijel Andric, Technical Services Manager, Australian Red Cross


Increased ROI: reduced licensing costs, consolidated and stabilized servers, and increased overall processing speed 

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