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Case Study

Successful Business Scaling with Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Introduction

More transparency in resource allocation with integrated AWS features.

About racksnet®

The racksnet®External Link solution enables customers to automate their network infrastructures easily, quickly and securely. Its cloud-based, multi-vendor, multi-function software ensures the smooth exchange of configuration data between network components from a wide range of vendors.

The racksnet® software is suitable for campus and IoT networks as well as for configuring network hardware in the data centre or WAN.

The majority of racksnet® customers are medium-sized companies, typically with 200 to 1,500 employees. These companies operate their network infrastructures either in-house, with their own data centre, or as part of managed services provided by their respective IT systems partners.

2017
established
50+
Employees
2
Red Herring Awards
The Challenge

Already during the development of the network automation software, racksnet GmbH decided to implement the software backend on the basis of Amazon Web Services (AWS). This not only gives racksnet® access to several other AWS services such as VPC, ECS and ALB, but also enables it to make its cloud-based technology available to its customers much faster than conventional, non-cloud-based solutions. Moreover, with the integration of AWS, all important international and, in particular, strict national security standards are met for customers.

Even though AWS services are easy to scale with regard to storage and computing power, smooth scaling to more and especially internationally active customers is more complex without engineering. AWS offers numerous services here that ensure that current business processes continue unhindered despite parallel adaptation to increased requirements.

racksnet® has a diverse customer base with diverse and extraordinarily high security requirements. Standard architectures quickly reach their limits here. In particular, the rapid provisioning of additional network infrastructure, e.g. to demonstrate the performance and functional diversity of the racksnet® solution to potential customers in the context of PoCs, the establishment of customer-oriented backends in different regions or the dynamic setup and de-provisioning of environments while maintaining availability and security are not easy to administer.

As such, selecting and configuring the appropriate services that meet the specific requirements of customers like racksnet® can be a real challenge. For this reason, our expert team was brought on board at this point.

The goal of the collaboration with our cloud experts was to help racksnet® achieve their aims of satisfying the growing and extraordinarily high requirements of its customers, particularly with regard to aspects such as security, compliance and performance, with the possibilities of AWS and also to effectively support the internationalisation of the racksnet® business.

The Solution

For its basic infrastructure with EC2-based ECS clusters, application load balancers and Amazon Aurora-based databases, racksnet® was already using infrastructure as code based on AWS CloudFormation.

Thus, racksnet® already had the necessary prerequisites to take its own backend infrastructure to the next, significantly higher level.

Transferring Admin Access to AWS Systems Manager

Typically, a backend network without public access ensures that servers cannot be accessed directly from the outside. While this removes an important potential attack vector, it also presents a significant challenge for administrators when accessing diverse areas of the software, for example, to set up, configure, and maintain jump hosts, VPNs, or combinations of both.

Using AWS System Manager Session Manager, network engineers can easily access such backend services. They don't need to add and run additional infrastructure and can focus entirely on developing more software features while delivering consistently high quality of service to their customers.

In addition, AWS System Manager Session Manager covers other requirements for this admin level access, such as seamless integration with secured shell access or even archiving of all log files for each individual command.

More transparency in resource allocation with integrated AWS features

By using AWS services such as Guard Duty, Cloudwatch, Config and Trusted Advisor when integrating with the alert infrastructure, racksnet® can now define, manage and optimally adapt all its cloud resources to its changing requirement profiles without hindrance and at the same time in a secured manner. And should a resource deviate from its predefined racksnet® operating standard, racksnet® is automatically alerted to perform further analyses for these messages, for example. Our cloud experts have set up these specifications based on racksnet®'s requirements.

In order to quickly assign secured resources to its customers, racksnet® has implemented a comprehensive tagging concept, based on a concept developed by the Innovations ON experts. With the help of AWS resource tags, racksnet® is now able to analyse which customers use which resources for their productive systems and what kind of data is distributed over them.

Feature creation instead of server management

To further pick up the pace of the project and bypass EC2 instance management, container workloads were moved to Fargate. Leveraging the AWS services already in use, CloudWatch or even Elastic Load Balancing, meant that racksnet® could migrate to a new platform without developers and engineers having to learn new workflows.

Results and Benefits

For racksnet GmbH, the main result of our collaboration was in the form of valuable time gains in the management of their cloud infrastructures. These gains represent an investment in the further development of their service portfolio and in the improvement of their customer-related business processes.

During the project phase, racksnet® gained many important insights into the setup, structure and functioning of AWS, which will be of considerable importance to the further expansion and, above all, internationalisation of racksnet®.

Nauman A. Basit, CTO racksnet GmbH, on our collaboration:

"Thanks to the expert help that we received, we are pleased to be able to successfully continue our growth course, also with a view to the further internationalisation of our business. The collaboration was harmonious and goal-oriented during the project phase. Top! Many thanks for that!"

About PCG

Public Cloud Group (PCG) supports companies in their digital transformation through the use of public cloud solutions.

With a product portfolio designed to accompany organisations of all sizes in their cloud journey and competence that is a synonym for highly qualified staff that clients and partners like to work with, PCG is positioned as a reliable and trustworthy partner for the hyperscalers, relevant and with repeatedly validated competence and credibility.

We have the highest partnership status with the three relevant hyperscalers: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, and Microsoft. As experienced providers, we advise our customers independently with cloud implementation, application development, and managed services.

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