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Aceville

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Delivering cost savings and greater

efficiency through migration

The Challenge

As Aceville is responsible for digitally delivering a comprehensive portfolio of magazines and websites, consistent, repeatable and always up infrastructure is key to their success.

However, aging infrastructure, with basic backups, no replication and long recovery times, was putting a strain on the business.

They identified AWS as a potential solution but limited in-house public cloud expertise meant they weren’t sure where to begin or how best to maximise the positive impact cloud could bring.

Partner solution

According to Aceville’s Dan Gowing, Brightsolid was the ideal AWS partner for them:

“Brightsolid was able to take the description of our problems and quickly understand what we wanted to prioritise e.g. reliability vs. costs. From there, they guided us through the AWS platform and really worked with us to deliver a solution that was right for us, rather than a one-size-fits-all.”

The project was split into three phases:

Replatform migration

Aceville was keen to move quickly due to expiring contracts with previous providers, so Brightsolid recommended a ‘lift and shift’, with a slight transformation to adapt Aceville’s applications to AWS services. As Dan explains:

“Brightsolid was great at explaining what needed to be done to achieve our requirements – more reliability for less money – and really gave us chance to understand the process and the pros and cons of our various options.”

And Aceville saw results almost immediately:

  • Reduced operational overheads by migrating to Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS)
  • Application services that auto-scaled up and down
  • Developers able to auto-deploy code in 30 minutes
  • Improved resilience of infrastructure and stronger security controls

Replatform modernisation (Part 1)

This saw Brightsolid transform the ‘lift and shift’ strategy to replatforming with modernisation.

Brightsolid led the transformation of hosting on servers to containerised hosting on Elastic Compute Service to improve resilience, increase cost-effectiveness and enable per-workload infrastructure-as-code deployment to Aceville’s new public cloud environment.

This meant that Aceville was able to take advantage of some of AWS’s more advance features as Dan outlines:

“By utilising spot instances on AWS, we experienced a 90% discount. The way our servers were originally architectured made it impossible to do this before, but Brightsolid worked to re-architecture the servers so we could enjoy this cost-saving benefit.”

Again, the results for this phase were almost immediate:

  • Costs were reduced by moving from Intel and ARM compute resources
  • Developers were now able to auto-deploy code in less than 4 mins with zero downtime

Refactor modernisation (Part 2)

Aceville’s weakest link for a long time had been database performance, which affects how applications are developed.

With the recent production release of Aurora Serverless v2, Brightsolid is now working to transform Aceville’s database to a serverless DBaaS that automatically scales. And Dan is excited about the flexibility that brings:

“The best thing about working with Brightsolid is we're always talking about how we can get even better. Right now, we are going through a phase of implementing a new AWS service, that was released about a month ago, that will allow us to auto-scale, so go as high, and as low, as our database needs.”

Peer-to-peer advice:

Dan thinks there have been huge benefits for Aceville and him personally, and thanks to the work he’s done with AWS and Brightsolid:

“I know so much more than I did when we started this process and Brightsolid has been great at helping me learn and understand as we went along. All that accumulated knowledge and experience was definitely a big factor in my recent promotion within Aceville. Meanwhile the benefits for Aceville – cost savings, flexibility, efficiency, and security – speak for themselves.”