Insights: Case Study

Case study: Establishing an AWS cloud environment for a water provider

Kinetic IT has positioned a water provider for cloud success by establishing an AWS cloud environment that meets current needs and paves the way for future needs.

The Problem


The customer needed to establish a cloud environment to address ageing server and storage infrastructure challenges, providing the capacity and flexibility to meet its digital transformation activities.

The Solution


Kinetic IT supported the customer in establishing their AWS cloud footprint, ensuring the environment was set up to support current initiatives, as well providing a foundation for future opportunities.

The Outcome


The customer has gained greater flexibility and support for on-demand capacity, which are crucial for enabling its digital transformation activities.

Customer Background

The customer is a critical infrastructure provider responsible for ensuring the population of an Australian state has access to essential services like water supply, irrigation, and wastewater management. Like many organisations, the customer recognised the benefits of cloud technology and intended to adopt more cloud services to reduce reliance on on-premises infrastructure moving forward.

With several discrete projects that either necessitated or could be enhanced through cloud services, the customer required a cloud environment that would enable these initiatives. Kinetic IT worked with AWS to guide the customer through this process and perform the groundwork to establish a landing zone and VMware Cloud (VMC) on AWS that would serve the customer’s immediate needs, while also being ready to enable its future digital transformation objectives.

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The Problem

The catalyst for establishing an AWS landing zone was a project to replace the customer’s legacy system used for file and records management with a cloud-based enterprise content management (ECM) system. This new system was to be hosted in AWS, of which the customer did not have an established presence at the time.

While this ECM project triggered the immediate need for an AWS landing zone to support the new platform, it was far from the only initiative that would require cloud services, both in the near term and long term.

The customer was dependent on physical servers located in remote data centres to support their business. Many of these physical servers had reached end of life, with some moving into extended warranty, which increased cost and risk to the business. The organisation was seeking a solution to improve flexibility and capacity for their workload hosting platform that leverages modern technology and would not require investing in legacy infrastructure.

With this in mind, Kinetic IT also planned the establishment of VMC on AWS to lay suitable groundwork to take on these workloads when the time came to retire the on-premises infrastructure. This would need to happen quickly to avoid the cost of new hardware and support contracts.

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The Solution

While these two challenges were unrelated, they shared a need for a cloud footprint the customer did not yet have. Kinetic IT was aware the customer’s intent was to make further use of cloud-based services in the longer term, so it was important to consider this within the wider context of the organisation’s digital transformation objectives. This would ensure Kinetic IT could deliver on the objectives of each project individually and establish the cloud environment in a way that could be efficiently built on and utilised to support future initiatives.

Both streams of work were crucial to paving the way for the customer’s digital transformation: firstly, by establishing the AWS landing zone and thus enabling native AWS cloud hosting services to be utilised; and secondly, by migrating many workloads from on-premises to the recently established VMC on AWS environment to reduce the reliance on ageing infrastructure and address capacity constraints.

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Establishing the AWS landing zone

Kinetic IT worked alongside AWS to establish a secure, multi-account landing zone that would support the customer’s needs. Based on AWS architectural design and best practice, this well-architected landing zone serves as a foundation for deploying workloads and applications, providing configurations for multi-account architecture, identity and access management, governance, data security, network design and logging. This approach ensures standardisation across the cloud environment that provides consistency and security and makes the environment easier to manage and maintain.

Having provided IT managed services for the preceding 5+ years, Kinetic IT had detailed knowledge of the customer’s existing environment and infrastructure, how the business operated, and what the customer’s long-term objectives were. This context was crucial for ensuring that the AWS cloud platform would be fit for purpose for the customer and integrate seamlessly with how Kinetic IT was already managing the customer’s IT environment and delivering IT services to the business. This was important, as Kinetic IT would be responsible for managing and maintaining the AWS cloud environment moving forward alongside the end-to-end IT services it already provided.

With the landing zone in place, Kinetic IT could proceed with establishing the necessary workloads to support the Enterprise Content Management system, including the provision and configuration of 50+ EC2 instances (virtual servers), as well as other supporting accounts and services.

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Reducing reliance on ageing infrastructure

To reduce reliance on an on-premises infrastructure, the customer decided to leverage cloud technology to host its workloads moving forward. However, as much of its infrastructure had already reached end of life, a solution would need to be reached quickly to avoid the need to purchase new hardware.

Kinetic IT was engaged to design and implement a solution that would migrate the customer’s non-production virtual workloads to the cloud, with the intent of assessing the technology and migration processes to determine the feasibility of this solution for production workloads. The VMC environment needed to host the customer’s non-production corporate virtual server workloads from two geographically dispersed datacentres.

To address these requirements, Kinetic IT provided a solution based on VMC on AWS. This involved:

  • Deploying VMC on AWS.
  • Establishing the connectivity between the on-premises and cloud environments.
  • Configuring firewalls.
  • Migrating ~280 virtual servers to VMC on AWS.
  • Decommissioning unwarranted physical hardware no longer required post migration.

With this solution, the customer was able to reduce its reliance on ageing hardware.

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The Outcome

The customer now has a well-architected AWS cloud environment that is secure, scalable and enables the migration of workloads into the cloud. The benefits of having established this AWS environment are far-reaching, including:

  • Enabling the retirement of the legacy file and records management system and adopting a modern, cloud-based enterprise content management system. This was the first of the customer’s applications to be hosted in the cloud, but many others followed soon after.
  • Reducing reliance on aged hardware by migrating non-production workloads to the cloud. This also reduced the risks posed by operating aged hardware and avoided the need to purchase new hardware and enter new support contracts.
  • Reducing physical server footprint by removing servers from on-premises facilities.

It also had the benefit of enabling further initiatives utilising AWS services, including:

  • Establishing a demilitarised zone (DMZ) in AWS. The DMZ filters and controls data going in and out of the customer’s environment, acting as a barrier between the customer’s internal network and the external internet. Establishing a DMZ in AWS allows data to move directly, but still securely, to and from the internet without relying on an on-premises infrastructure.
  • Provisioning and configuration to support the establishment of an AWS-powered data lake to handle the scale, agility, and flexibility that the customer required to combine their different types of data and analytics approaches to gain deeper insights in use of their services.

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Find out more about how we partner with AWS to help Australian organisations securely transition to the cloud and succeed in today’s digital world.

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