Samsung’s Story: Digital Transformation on AWS, with the Help of Premier AWS Partner ClearScale
ClearScale, a Premier AWS Consulting Partner in the APN, has built a business helping customers across the globe take advantage of the many benefits of the AWS Cloud. Already an AWS Big Data, DevOps, Marketing & Commerce, and Mobile Competency Partner, the company recently became a launch partner for the AWS Migration Competency. ClearScale’s mission is to provide customers with a cloud solution unique to their business needs and objectives. The company has found great success in helping customers digitally transform on AWS, and today, we’d like to tell you about Samsung’s cloud journey, and the success the company’s Cloud Print division has found working with AWS and ClearScale.
A Strategic Vision for the Cloud
For more than 70 years, Samsung has been dedicated to building a better world through technology. Samsung is a global leader in mobility, enabling productivity for customers and partners. The company has built a reputation of quality and innovation that keeps it at the forefront of technology. To meet and exceed its own goals of innovation and delivery, the Samsung team saw a large need for strong infrastructure delivery capabilities and high talent software development. To fuel the increasing velocity of innovation, the Samsung team launched their initiative for building a Cloud Solutions Platform.
Samsung envisioned its Cloud Solutions Platform to deliver infrastructure with best in class innovation and a faster time to market; enabling further convergence of the Mobile and Traditional enterprise management and document workflows. In particular, the Samsung Cloud Print platform, which provides mobile cloud printing capabilities to office users and mobile workers, targets a gap in the market impacting many Small and Medium Business (SMB) customers, and aims to take advantage of the current cloud services and mobile printing trend.
ClearScale: Bringing in Expertise for Agile Development
As the Samsung team began to envision their Cloud Solutions Platform, they sought to identify a partner who could help bring their vision to fruition, and deliver robust infrastructure and cloud applications at hyper scale. “ClearScale has been a trusted partner of Samsung for several years, and was selected by the Solutions Innovation Group for this project,” explains Brent Richtsmeier, Vice President of Solutions Innovation Group at Samsung Research America.
“We started working with Samsung back in mid-2013,” says Pavel Pragin, CEO and CTO of ClearScale. “Key to Samsung’s requirement for the Cloud Solutions Platform was a modular approach that could support a hybrid deployment, with a replaceable cloud management component that could provide horizontal scalability and be replaced without additional application redevelopment. Samsung needed to develop a cloud infrastructure at the pace of agile development to maintain its leadership role in mobile products and services. Deployment automation and scalability to reduce their IT management overhead was one of the key requirements.” The biggest priority for Samsung was providing more cost-effective and reliable services to their customers. Some of the foundational technology decisions that played a large role in the strategic approach taken by ClearScale as the company worked to design Samsung’s infrastructure platform were:
- Horizontal scalability
- Open source implementation (where applicable)
- Vendor-neutral integration with a Cloud Management Platform
And as Pragin explains it, the foundational decisions needed to be coupled with the following technologies and practices:
- Rapid provision of new deployments (DEV, INT, QA, PROD, DR)
- Simplify solution application development effort
- Infrastructure-as-code practices
- Configuration management of core platform components
- Subsystem clustering
- Security configuration between subsystems
- Monitoring, alerting, and auto scaling
- Separate code and configuration
“One of the first steps was to design and test the new infrastructure platform for Samsung, based on their requirements and business goals,” continues Pragin. “Each new iteration brought new complex challenges that required steady innovation by our software team. Numerous technologies were deployed and evaluated for each layer of the solution. Performance was measured for each component and subsystem as well as detailed cost profiling to ensure the system was viable and provided a strong ROI.”
The Samsung team chose to use AWS in its hybrid deployment for its applications because of its requirements for a robust cloud infrastructure, horizontal scalability, and open-source implementation. “AWS provides a highly reliable and comprehensive set of features that help Samsung achieve faster application performance, auto-scaling, reduce IT overhead, provide self-service and instant provisioning, security, compliance, and management features,” says Richtsmeier. “Additionally, AWS provides deployments globally, and enable compliance with the data compliance requirements in each region.”
Another key factor for the Samsung Cloud Print team? The maturity of the AWS partner ecosystem. “The breadth and depth of the AWS ecosystem combined with constant innovation is important to us. We can pick and choose the best technology stack needed for our applications,” explains Richtsmeier.
The Cloud Solutions Platform started with RightScale as the cloud management engine, providing portability between cloud infrastructures, while capitalizing on the unique capabilities and cost benefits of each. In the early stages of the project, the RightScale templates developed had to be cloud independent, as Samsung was planning to reuse them for a variety of projects that could be deployed on AWS, other cloud platforms, or on-premises.
As Samsung iterated through development, additional requirements for analytics, monitoring, and high availability were added to the platform. ClearScale deployed an ELK stack (Elasticache, Logstash, Kibana) for additional Samsung Cloud Print and Device Monitoring features. The architecture was then further refined and automated with AWS CloudFormation / AWS OpsWorks and Chef to minimize cost and deliver efficient automation and scalability.
Today, Samsung uses the following AWS services in its Samsung Cloud Print solution:
- AWS CloudFormation was used for initial deployment and allows SCP components to be deployed via AWS CloudFormation templates as Amazon EC2 instances, as well as deploying OpsWorks stacks.
- AWS OpsWorks, with its excellent UI, is used for configuration management.
- Amazon VPC is used to enhance security and provide the ability to use additional network features like customized routing.
- Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is used to store app data, config files, scripts and AWS CloudFormation templates.
- AWS IoT is currently in proof of concept stage as MQTT server for Samsung Cloud Print Solution.
“ClearScale delivered the AWS-based cloud infrastructure at the pace of agile development, shortening overall time to market for Samsung Cloud Print,” says Richtsmeier. “Automated infrastructure deployment at cloud-scale reduced Samsung’s IT management overhead and provided faster, more cost effective and highly reliable services. This allows Samsung to maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace and offer the innovative Cloud Print platform to the SMBs around the globe.”
As it continues to evolve its Cloud Solutions Platform on AWS, the Samsung team is now beginning to experiment with what is possible using AWS IoT, through a proof of concept (PoC) delivered by ClearScale.
“Our device-to-device communication capability for our Cloud Print application is currently in a proof of concept stage. Scalability tests using JMeter have demonstrated the ability to handle 500,000 simultaneous devices on AWS IoT with excellent throughput. Cloud printing services between mobile devices and the print nodes demonstrate a high customer value use case for IoT. This was further enhanced with the launch of the Amazon Dash Replenishment Service (DRS) which enabled toner delivery, and Samsung Printer Diagnostic Services, which requires infrastructure that is common in IoT applications. We plan to launch additional services connecting printers and Samsung devices in fall of 2016,” says Richtsmeier.
With help from AWS and ClearScale, Samsung can benefit from highly scalable, cost-effective, and reliable services, reduce its IT overhead, and focus on the Cloud Solution Platform, while maintaining a competitive edge in the SMB marketplace.