ICFES, Managed Services
The main challenge for ICFES was to face the enormous demand of students who take their exams every year on its online platform, in addition to delegating to a team of experts the management of these services that are hosted in the AWS cloud so that ICFES could focus on its key activities.
In addition to the above, the ICFES had an infrastructure platform composed of software and hardware elements (servers and storage), made up of thirteen (13) applications with high traffic and distributed on 62 servers, in a traditional physical storage scheme, located in an on-premise Data Center (Lumen).
Because the contract to maintain this infrastructure was soon to expire; ICFES decided to move its workloads to the cloud to begin to modernize its workloads and take advantage of both the economic and technological benefits that the cloud offers.
Strategy and Solution
As a result of the imminent expiration of the contract with your data center provider; ICFES decided to start this migration. To do this, Clouxter carried out the migration services of its entire infrastructure from its data center to the AWS public cloud. To mitigate this need, a migration project for these services to the AWS cloud is established.
Below is a reference to the activities that Clouxter carried out:
Because the termination of the data center contract with Lumen was set in about four (04) months, time and costs were the crucial factors when establishing the migration strategy that should be adopted; Additionally, since its application portfolio was not prepared to be hosted in the cloud; Important premises had to be considered to move these applications and minimize the impact on functionality.
In this sense, it was decided to address the “lift and shift” migration strategy or rehousing, where the capabilities of the local infrastructure (on-premise) were transferred to another infrastructure with similar characteristics in the cloud, which represented a risk approach. minimal impact at the application level, achieving, in turn, having the infrastructure in the shortest possible time.
The scope of this migration covers your entire infrastructure: 62 servers for 13 applications; to this end, the following aspects were established, to meet the primary objectives of time and lesser impact:
- A pilot test was executed to test the functionalities of its most critical application; so a set of Oracle DB data is migrated to the cloud and the necessary resources are implemented to test said application.
- The results of this test provided the necessary guidelines to make the most appropriate deployments and configurations to guarantee the functionality of your critical application.
The migration of servers is established in waves, distributed as follows:
- 1st wave of migration, productive environment; at this point, ICFES resources will be decommissioned from the local data center.
- 2nd wave: Pre-production and development: Production resources are cloned to create the pre-production environment. Reduced resources are deployed for environmental development.
Post-migration, a DRP (Backup & restore) scheme is implemented, and optimization and training activities are executed. All of these premises were key to executing the complete migration in the record time of 3 and a half months.
Managed Services Unit (MS)
Comprehensive operational management was implemented with 7×24 monitoring, timely support from cloud specialists, and advanced administration focused on the pillar of operational excellence, which combined managed to support ICFES in stabilizing its operation and correcting relevant infrastructure aspects, achieving remarkable stability.
Important opportunities were identified in the cost optimization pillar of AWS services on a sustained basis through initiatives such as RightSizing.
Periodic service reviews (Service Reviews) were carried out, which made it possible to optimize the management and relationship between both teams (ICFES and Clouxter).
Traditionally, the benefits that can be obtained from hosting infrastructure in the cloud are already well-known and proven. However, for ICFES 3 major elements meant substantial improvements compared to its previous on-premise solution:
- Cost optimization: Derived from the mobilization of your loads to the cloud; costs associated with hosting infrastructure were reduced by approximately 15%; these savings will increase given the resource optimization actions that must be addressed in the subsequent months, where the capabilities of the resources will be analyzed and adjusted depending on the need, thus avoiding underutilization.
- Minimum Impact: A migration was carried out with minimal impacts on the ICFES application portfolio; even though technical decisions had to be made to guarantee the correct functioning of the applications, LDAP, and databases; Currently the most critical applications are at a peak of transactionality without reporting issues or degradation of performance or security.
- Long-term value: Beyond the operational benefits generated by the migration; A very positive impact is evident on the culture of cloud adoption. The ICFES team had a strong on-premise experience and culture, and this migration experience helped them demonstrate the benefits that can be obtained by operating on AWS. This interest in adopting this journey is evident in medium and long-term opportunities for ICFES, where the team considers:
- Evaluate the modernization of your application portfolio, in order to improve functionalities and mitigate the technical debt that you currently have.
- 2nd phase of Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) Implementation, evaluate a new DRP strategy with minimum RTO/RPOs, in a medium-term horizon.
The ICFES is an autonomous entity linked to the Ministry of National Education of Colombia. It offers educational evaluation activities at all levels and supports the Ministry of Education in carrying out State exams.
At Clouxter we enable the adoption path and consolidate the cloud in organizations. Our focus is on DevOps, Migration, Security, and Analytics, providing the key pieces to have a great Cloud strategy. We have extensive experience in different industries such as Banking, Media, Fintech, Public Sector, ISVs and Startups.
We accompany organizations on this path and accelerate their adoption curve, covering the Definition, Planning, Implementation, and Operations of their solutions, through our Professional Consulting Services, Managed Services, and Local Billing.