Microsoft Workloads on AWS

Driving cost optimization and modernization of Microsoft workloads on AWS with SoftServe’s application modernization platform

In this blog post, you will learn how SoftServe’s comprehensive assessment strategy, combined with a platform-focused approach, is effectively driving cost optimization and modernization of Microsoft workloads on Amazon Web Services (AWS) for their enterprise customers.SoftServe logo

Founded in 1993, SoftServe is an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner that helps enterprises solve complex business challenges and achieve meaningful business outcomes. SoftServe designs and implements innovative solutions using cloud migration and modernization methodologies, digital engineering, application modernization, data analytics, and AI/ML. They serve customers across diverse industries, including high tech, financial services, healthcare, life sciences, retail, energy, and manufacturing.

To gain a deeper understanding into SoftServe’s modernization approach, we spoke with Ruslan Kusov, cloud center of excellence director at SoftServe, who is also an AWS Ambassador.

Q. What challenges do your customers face during their cloud migration and modernization journey?

Ruslan: When working with our customers, we see multiple challenges. The most common challenge is related to modernization itself. A majority of our customers want to avoid the rearchitecting migration strategy for their applications and services, as they believe this approach will require more time, expertise, and significantly higher costs. This is why customers tend to pick migration strategies that involve minimal effort, such as rehosting or relocating.

Of course, this will help customers move their workloads to the AWS Cloud, but they may not fully leverage the benefits of cloud-native development and managed services. Sooner or later, they’ll need to modernize. This is particularly relevant for Microsoft workloads, especially Microsoft Windows Server and SQL Server environments. The benefits of modernizing Microsoft workloads are even more significant because you can optimize costs associated with Microsoft licensing.

Modernizing .NET applications presents similar challenges. These applications were developed years ago and lack documentation and subject matter expertise. The absence of straightforward tools and solutions to evaluate the modernization complexity leads to uncertainty. Moreover, deploying modernized applications in the cloud presents a hurdle, as concepts like containers, serverless, and other cloud-first technologies seem complex due to a lack of cloud skills. This leads to retaining legacy applications in their current state, thus delaying the modernization process.

Q. How do you help your customers overcome some of these challenges?

Ruslan: To unblock our customers, we promote the concept of platform engineering with interchangeable components that are created and maintained by a specialized team. I’d like to highlight three main customer challenges and show how we can solve each of these challenges with repeatable solutions, through the concept of platform engineering and self-service platforms.

The first challenge is skills. AWS service partners, like SoftServe, can assist by providing a team of expert cloud architects and engineers who can conduct AWS Immersion Days, educational workshops, and other sessions focused on knowledge sharing. We package repeatable solutions into service offerings, such as SoftServe’s Application Modernization Platform (SAMP). SAMP is an accelerator to build an in-house, standardized, and customized self-service platform based on Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) and Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) blueprints, and AWS accelerators like AWS Observability Accelerator for Terraform. By incorporating SoftServe’s framework for application modernization and migration with prescriptive guidance, SAMP simplifies developers’ work with a documented, extendable, scalable, secure, and customizable platform that sets cross-team standards. Our customers can reuse these prebuilt components to simplify the onboarding process. SoftServe also offers Managed SAMP, which includes a dedicated platform team who can assist our customers in supporting their evolving business requirements.

The second challenge our customers face is lack of time. Built on an AWS landing zone, our SAMP accelerator leverages core components like Amazon EKS, Amazon ECS, and AWS Lambda to accelerate application modernization. The foundational components of SAMP are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. SoftServe’s App Modernization Platform

Figure 1. SoftServe’s App Modernization Platform

Due to the modular nature of the SAMP accelerator, it can be seamlessly integrated with any third-party solutions, delivering immediate value. Platform modules and components are interchangeable; they interact through defined interfaces and remain solution agnostic. Existing CI/CD pipelines can be plugged in to deploy customers’ applications into the customized self-service platform. The default setup of the self-service’s platform with the SAMP accelerator takes just 18 minutes. To further accelerate application onboarding, SAMP generates a step-by-step guide with checklists on application onboarding.

The third challenge is cost. Customers want to minimize their investment and optimize their operational and infrastructure costs. By reducing application onboarding time, our self-service platform boosts ROI through shorter time-to-market for new services and features. The platform increases developer velocity and operational efficiency by standardizing application development processes across customers’ organizations.

The standardized processes, along with the platform’s foundational components designed in accordance with cost optimization best practices, further contributes to the reduction in operational and infrastructure costs. SAMP supports AWS Graviton processors, employs effective scaling mechanisms with Karpenter, and utilizes AWS Lambda Power Tuning to optimize Lambda functions for cost and performance efficiency.

Q. What is SoftServe’s approach/strategy in modernizing Microsoft workloads?

Ruslan: Our strategy involves two components. The first component focuses on how to modernize and the second component focuses on how to run modernized workloads. SoftServe understands the importance of these components and works closely with the AWS Microsoft Workloads Partner team to provide our customers with the best solutions.

To address the first component, AWS offers the Microsoft Modernization Program (MMP) for its qualified partners. The initial step in the program is the Modernization Viability Assessment (MVA) for Microsoft workloads, followed by the actual modernization process. MVA helps build a business case for modernization, giving the customer a deeper understanding of the complexity involved, and evaluates the customer’s application. It also assists in defining a modernization roadmap and identifying the required steps and activities in the process.

Regarding the second component, SAMP addresses how to run modernized workloads. We offer a unique service offering that bundles MVA with the SAMP pilot. By the end of an engagement, our customers will have a completed modernization assessment and will have built a solid business case for modernization. Furthermore, they’ll have deployed a pilot version of their customized self-service platform, introduced the concept of a platform team, and successfully onboarded applications onto this new platform. Typically, this process takes 4-6 months. However, with this bundle and our SAMP accelerator, customers can achieve this within 6-8 weeks.

Q. Can you dive deeper into the bundle of service offerings you just mentioned?

Ruslan: Yes, sure. To accelerate and automate the MVA, SoftServe uses CAST Software. Through our partnership with AWS Microsoft Workloads Partner team and CAST, our customers have a unique opportunity to get this assessment delivered for an initial set of their legacy applications using automated tools. SoftServe commits the time and the expertise of our trained professionals to conduct the assessment and analyze the results.

Once we get the initial results of this assessment, our certified cloud architects and engineers start working on the SAMP pilot phase. This phase begins with either a Containers Strategy Assessment or Containers Maturity Assessment, depending on the customer’s application maturity level and the current state of their digital transformation and application modernization. This assessment, together with the MVA, helps in finalizing customization requirements for the self-service platform and refining the SAMP accelerator. It also assists in selecting the best customer applications for pilot onboarding to the platform. Once it’s completed, the pilot version of the platform will be deployed and the designated applications will be onboarded.

Q. Will you share some use cases of how your repeatable solutions and service offerings have helped your customers with their application modernization journey?

Ruslan: Yes, I’d love to share a couple of our customer success stories. One of our customers has been postponing the modernization process for their legacy monolithic application encompassing .NET technologies, Windows Servers, and Microsoft SQL Servers for several years. However, once we proposed our service offering, which included a no-risk MVA and SAMP pilot, our customer agreed to try. They liked the automated assessment approach, which included SoftServe’s Containers Maturity Assessment reports, the prepared business case, and the validated modernization scenario with SAMP. This helped our customer to realize the importance and benefits of application modernization, and they initiated the planning and budgeting for this modernization effort.

We also conducted a SAMP pilot and SoftServe’s Containers Maturity Assessment for another customer who was in the process of modernizing one of their applications to microservices. The customer had a strong understanding of the concepts of self-service platform and an application onboarding checklist, and was leveraging Amazon EKS as a core service for their infrastructure platform. Despite the customer’s maturity, our assessment helped identify security, cost optimization, and operational excellence risks, and we were able to recommend related improvements. The SAMP pilot played a crucial role in implementing these improvements.

Q. How can readers learn more about SoftServe’s case studies and service offerings?

Ruslan: Customers can read more about SoftServe’s application modernization platform-as-a-service on our website. We have blog posts on best practices for using Kubernetes on AWS in Enterprise IT and Application Portfolio Modernization.

Customers can also browse all our offerings on AWS Marketplace. Our application modernization offerings include Container Strategy Assessment, Monolithic Application Modernization Assessment, Cloud-Native App Innovation Assessment, Application Portfolio Modernization Assessment, and SoftServe’s Application Modernization Platform (SAMP).

About the Microsoft workloads on AWS Partner Spotlight series

Please continue to join us in this blog series as we highlight our AWS Partners’ capabilities in migrating and modernizing Microsoft workloads on AWS. As you do, we hope you’ll also ask the question: “What’s my organization’s plan for moving off SQL Server or Windows Server or whatever technology is keeping us from modernizing to better care for our customers?” Let AWS Partners with their specific niche offerings help you assess how your company can get the most out of cloud.

AWS can help you assess how your company can get the most out of cloud. Join the millions of AWS customers that trust us to migrate and modernize their most important applications in the cloud. To learn more on modernizing Windows Server or SQL Server, visit Windows on AWSContact us to start your modernization journey today.

Renuka Krishnan

Renuka Krishnan

Renuka Krishnan is a Partner Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services in Atlanta, GA. She has over 15 years of experience architecting and implementing solutions with a focus on Microsoft technologies. She is passionate about helping partners and customers migrate, modernize and optimize their Microsoft workloads on AWS.

Christine Brum

Christine Brum

Christine Brum is a Partner Development Specialist at Amazon Web Services (AWS). She has over 9 years of experience with Microsoft sales and 4 years helping partners in developing their Microsoft Workloads Business, specifically in migrating, modernizing, and managing Microsoft workloads on AWS. She enjoys helping partners develop services offerings, create GTM plans, and build their technical capabilities with a focus on Microsoft technologies.