AWS Germany, Austria, and Switzerland Customer Success Stories
There are no borders separating big ideas. Explore the latest thinking across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in public sector cloud-first creativity.
Powered by AWS, Munich University of Applied Sciences (MUAS) built the M:UniverCity innovation network to address public sector challenges in the Munich metropolitan area.
Find out how the Staedel Museum uses AWS to make 700 years of art history accessible to all.
CODE University’s Better Future Lab organizes challenges around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and collaborates with AWS for technological components.
Kiron Open Higher Education (Kiron) democratizes education for refugees and underserved communities. With AWS, it has built and scaled flexible, customized learning pathways.
Medisanté increased its agility with shortened time to market for their products and has increased its ability to operate at the global scale using AWS.
Using AWS, Europol made its anti-ransomware website available in three days, supported 2.6 million visitors on the first day, and has supported 12 million visitors since launch.
FOM University uses AWS Educate resources in the classroom to improve their learning experiences for more than 55,000 students.
Nowadays the mobility landscape is far more complex. Car-, cycle-, and scooter-sharing are part of the transportation mix, alongside private vehicles, licensed taxis, and public transport. Trafi and its mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) technology is helping people in cities around the world choose from the options available. Residents and visitors in Berlin, Germany, for example, have access to the Trafi platform as single destination for all their transport requirements.
To thrive in the highly competitive MaaS sector, platform development is crucial. “The more resources we can focus on building great software to constantly improve Trafi, the better,” says Benediktas Poviliunas, head of engineering at Trafi, a tech startup founded in 2007. For a growing company, this means reducing infrastructure management time and cost. That’s why Trafi has been working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) since the day it launched. “Thanks to AWS, we don’t need to hire dedicated systems administrators,” says Poviliunas. “Everybody can contribute to product development.”
Whether it’s enhancing processing speeds, delivering data with millisecond latency, or managing multiple streams of data, Trafi has found a service from AWS to complete the task. What’s more, the company never stops fine-tuning operations. It recently adopted AWS Lambda, a serverless service, which lets Trafi spend less time on infrastructure management. Trafi is also using Amazon Managed Streaming for Apache Kafka (Amazon MSK), a fully managed service to build and run applications to process streaming data. “Amazon MSK will help make our services more responsive, reduce code complexity, and potentially save on network bandwidth. It’s what we’re constantly striving for,” says Poviliunas.“
“Thanks to AWS, we can deploy a new solution—including dozens of different services, databases, and other infrastructure resources—in less than a day.”
Benediktas Poviliunas, Head of Engineering, Trafi
Copalana, a Switzerland-based startup, has a founding philosophy: Technology has the power to do good. Copalana uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) to deliver its online crowdfunding and volunteering platform.
Inspired by his millennial-age children and their desire to change the world for the better, Paul Ryatt founded in 2018. The organization’s aim is to help companies in their fundraising and skills-based volunteering efforts by engaging and empowering employees. The platform helps build strong communities and effective collaboration with nonprofit partners like the Red Cross and Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Since Copalana’s small team works on a voluntary basis, the startup needs to focus on delivering its product—not managing the underlying infrastructure. Ryatt and his team were looking for a reliable solution within the European Union that could scale for large fundraising campaigns.
The team considered all major cloud service providers, but chose AWS because of the strategic support it offers to nonprofit organizations. An AWS Professional Services team based in Zurich, Switzerland helped Copalana quickly configure its virtual private cloud to ensure security and set up a DevOps pipeline for streamlined, efficient development processes.
Copalana’s AWS environment includes Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), and development tools such as AWS CodeCommit and AWS CodePipeline. Since using AWS, Copalana has achieved close to 100 percent uptime with a few minutes of downtime a week for scheduled deployments. This reliability is crucial as Copalana prepares to bring more socially responsible enterprises onto its platform.
AWS also provides ample scope for Copalana to expand and improve its own services. Plans include a move from Amazon EC2 instances to containers and a greater use of AWS analytics tools like Amazon QuickSight to better understand how customers use Copalana. To support growth, the AWS Professional Services team is helping to re-architect the platform to a microservices architecture.
“We can dedicate our precious resources to making a difference in the communities we serve because AWS provides a robust, reliable, and safe environment to deliver our services.”
- Paul Ryatt, Founder, Copalana
University of Tübingen
Every day, researchers at the Quantitative Biology Center (QBiC) at the University of Tübingen in Germany use high-performance computing (HPC) platforms to analyze genomics data and determine, for example, gene expression differences between diseased and normal tissue. QBiC supports genomics research within the university and at other research organizations across the globe. QBiC’s HPC workloads are mostly hosted in an on-premises data center. However, as the volume of research data rapidly continues to grow, QBiC foresees difficulties in scaling quickly and cost-effectively. "As our data volume grew larger, we realized we needed much more computational capacity than our on-premises infrastructure could provide," says Alex Peltzer, senior bioinformatics research scientist at QBiC. "The researchers using our platform also needed better performance, so they could analyze more data and complete their research faster."
QBiC’s highest value is data processing according to the FAIR data principles: findable, accessible, interoperable, and reproducible. "Meeting the FAIR processing requirements involves the need to scale efficiently, which we couldn’t do easily," Peltzer says. QBiC’s need for scalability and performance led it to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud. "We knew the cloud would meet our needs, and AWS offers more advanced technology than the other providers we looked at," says Peltzer. AWS also integrates with the Nextflow and nf-core frameworks, which support scalable scientific workflows using software containers. "AWS works very well with Nextflow, and no other cloud provider could do that," says Peltzer.
When COVID-19 struck, schools in Germany closed, leaving teachers, parents, and students with the challenge of how to continue classes. At first, teachers used email to keep study programs on track, however, students gradually became disengaged, and parents found it hard to motivate their children while also meeting work commitments.
In response, cloud solutions company LionGate looked to develop a secure, compliant remote schooling platform for teachers to engage with students. As partner in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN), LionGate worked together with AWS on this project. The platform—called Vicole—was up and running in less than 10 days, using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances to run online learning tool BigBlueButton, other open-source services, and LionGate enhancements for scaling and security. Alongside the applications, LionGate added Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) with Amazon ElastiCache for sub-millisecond latency.
With security and data protection top priorities from day one, Vicole is compliant with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations. Plus, LionGate provides a data processing agreement that fits to the needs of schools.
More than 10,000 students stayed safe at home and kept on top of their studies through online conferencing with teachers: individually and in class-sized groups. For all schools, it was their first experience of online teaching. They were highly satisfied with the results and considered it as an ideal home-schooling model to easily roll out in the event of another lockdown. Furthermore, many schools see the solution as playing an important role in the digital transformation of their operations.
Germany-based LionGate AG builds secure and scalable cloud solutions for companies across multiple industries, including telecommunications, media, and finance. LionGate’s mission is to support enterprises in providing the best digital customer lifecycle. Their areas of expertise cover UX management, process automation and analytics, machine learning and BizDevOps.
University of Münster
The Institute for Geoinformatics at the University of Münster provides bachelor, master, and PHD degrees in geoinformatics – the science of modelling geo-data to address challenges that face geography, geosciences, and cartography.
In 2017, a group of students at the Institute for Geoinformatics at the University of Münster embarked on an ambitious project: to build an Earth Observation Infrastructure (EOI) on AWS that would support flooding preparedness in Europe. Fifteen students – with no prior experience in developing for the cloud – were tasked with managing and processing Earth observation data from the European Union’s Copernicus programme.
Using this data they would need to perform flood risk analysis, and then make it available via a Web geographic information system (GIS). GIS systems not only contain incredibly detailed location data, but with many of them now online, they also enable researchers to analyse and cross-reference spatial and geographic info with other datasets.
Using an agile methodology the students went on to successfully implement the whole process. This included the automated replication of Sentinel-1 data from the Copernicus Open Access Hub into an S3 bucket. Lambda functions were then used to determine the availability of new data and to generate batch jobs for further data pre-processing.
“The study project demonstrated that data-intensive applications that make use of spatial data infrastructures—such as Copernicus—and integrate with parts of these infrastructures, need to be based on cloud and web technologies,” Remke concludes.
Albrecht Dürer Airport Nuremberg
Albrecht Dürer Airport Nuremberg handles around four million passengers every year and has won the Business Traveller Magazine award for best German airport for 12 consecutive years. Data loads on the airport’s systems vary greatly depending on seasonal travel peaks, bad weather, strikes, and other extraordinary conditions.
Nevertheless, the airport needs to ensure its systems perform reliably and are secure at all times. Purchasing additional server capacity, however, to support the data swings was too costly. Nuremberg Airport wanted a flexible and scalable environment to manage the ebb and flow of data loads while allowing the airport to continue to develop Internet-based services.
Nuremberg Airport chose Infopark AG, a Berlin-based member of the AWS Partner Network (APN), to develop a new cloud-based solution. Today, the airport runs more than 10 information systems in the AWS Cloud, including websites, arrivals and departure information, parking spot reservations digital assistant Alexa-skill and a messaging service. It uses a range of AWS services including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Lambda and Amazon Alexa, which provides a natural-language interface for giving passengers flight information.
The AWS infrastructure not only supports user-interfaces for passengers and employees but also includes an API and programming framework. Among the advantages of AWS for Nuremberg Airport are General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance, tight network security, and a good price-performance ratio. The airport estimates it is saving 60–70% in web-hosting costs with AWS.
The Federal Office of Topography, swisstopo, is Switzerland’s National Mapping Agency, and it manages the country’s geographic information system (GIS). These digital systems not only contain incredibly detailed location data, but with many of them now online, they also enable you to analyse and cross-reference information with other datasets – often in real time.
The swisstopo GIS contains a staggering billion map tiles and adds another two million new map tiles every day, which all need to be maintained and distributed. “We currently serve up to 60,000 users each day,” says Hanspeter Christ, deputy head of geoinformatics at swisstopo. “Thanks to AWS, we can significantly shorten the time needed to allocate new servers and strengthen our focus on real customer needs.” To optimize its services, swisstopo used automatic provisioning to scale with demand, and tasks that previously took weeks or months could be completed in under an hour.
Swisstopo has achieved this by running more than 140 Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and managing 200TB of geographic data in Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), Amazon Elastic Files System (EFS) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). In addition, migrating to AWS also gave swisstopo the opportunity to tidy up legacy issues.
“AWS not only freed us from fiddling with physical hardware but also made standardization and automation of our server infrastructure much easier,” says Christ. Swisstopo is now working toward a “hybrid cloud” setup, using a 1Gib/s Direct Connect fiber, connecting the Federal Network with the AWS Region eu-central-1. In the next steps it hopes to make FsX and EFS available in the Federal Intranet and start a PoC with VMWare on AWS.
Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences (THB)
The Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences (Technische Hochschule Brandenburg, THB)—located in Brandenburg an der Havel, Germany—is a young and modern university with 2,600 students. It focuses on computer science, technology, media, and business studies.
In early 2020, the university had to close its physical campus due to the coronavirus pandemic. The university needed a video conferencing system for teaching and learning to continue with as little disruption as possible. However, professors had concerns about the performance, reliability, and data sovereignty provided by commercial solutions.
Then, the university discovered BigBlueButton (BBB), an open-source web-conferencing system designed for online learning, endorsed by the European Union. Running BBB on physical servers for more than 2,000 simultaneous users presented challenges for the university. Physical servers would require up-front investment in procuring hardware and dedicated staff time to install it—not to mention the unique difficulty of ordering such items because of the impaired global trade flows due to the coronavirus.
Led by computer scientist Professor Thomas Preuss, the university decided to deploy BBB on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Prof. Preuss had already used AWS extensively in his teaching to set up low-cost teaching environments quickly, and he knew the cloud could provide the instant scale, reliable performance, and safe environment for personal data he needed. The university could also scale down the system at night, on weekends, or during holidays to save money and match demand.
After receiving an email one Friday afternoon informing him that that face-to-face classes were suspended, Prof. Preuss spun up an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance that night and downloaded BBB. By Tuesday morning, colleagues could deliver online classes. BBB on AWS soon became the standard for online learning within his own department, followed by the entire university. The university’s data protection officer was also impressed by the level of control THB has over its data.
The speed, simplicity, and success of the project has drawn attention from other universities, and the Brandeburg University of Applied Science has so far helped two other institutions set up similar systems.
“I was pleasantly surprised that we were able to find a solution for the entire university so quickly. AWS and BigBlueButton lets us continue virtual teaching and learning while keeping our personal and private data safe.”
- Prof. Dr. Ing. Thomas Preuss, Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences
The DB Group is one of the largest mobility and logistics companies worldwide, with more than 600 subsidiaries. In total, the group employs around 300,000 people full-time staff, of whom more than 100,000 are regular IT users. Within this, DB Systel is responsible for more than 630 productive IT applications, almost half of which were custom builds on standard software such as SAP or Oracle PeopleSoft, and largely limited to DB Systel's own data centers. Discover how AWS provided the best solution for agility and cost management when the organization made the move to the cloud.
Munich Leukemia Lab
Munich Leukemia Lab (MLL) is a diagnostics and research institution whose mission is to find a cure for leukemia and lymphoma. MLL uses state-of-the-art molecular and IT-supported methods to shape the future of hematological diagnostics and therapy. Using AWS, MLL reduced the turnaround time to process patient genome data from 20 hours to 3 hours, helping accelerate research and improve diagnosis of leukemia. To deal with its growing need for scalable compute and storage while maintaining a high standard for data security, MLL turned to AWS and deployed Illumina’s BaseSpace solution in the AWS Frankfurt Region.
Technical University of Munich
Students at Technical University of Munich (TUM) and at Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) in Munich, researched how to improve safety-critical systems that require large amounts of compute power. Using AWS, Khaled’s research project, pFaces, accelerates parallelized algorithms and controls computational complexity to speed the time to science. The findings introduce a new way to design and deploy verified control software for safety-critical systems, such as robotic surgical machines, air traffic control, shipping and warehousing, rail networks, and autonomous vehicles.
The Berlin Philharmonic, founded in the capital in 1882, is considered one of the best symphony orchestras in the world. Sir Simon Rattle has been its principal conductor, and director of the Berliner Philharmonie concert hall since 2002. The Berlin Philharmonic operates its own video platform – the Digital Concert Hall – where listeners can hear live concerts and excerpts of concerts in High Definition, with bandwidths of up to 2,500 kbits/s. The recordings can be viewed directly on the organization's website, on smart TVs, or through the organization’s own app.
Trans Austria Gasleitung
Trans Austria Gasleitung (TAG) GmbH uses AWS to fuel business expansion, ensure high availability for business-critical SAP and B2B applications, and enable innovation. The oil and gas company, based in Austria, manages a growing natural gas pipeline network. TAG worked with APN Partner Techedge Group to migrate its SAP environment, a B2B application, and other systems to AWS. TAG has been growing quickly over the past five years. But keeping pace with this growth while optimizing its business-critical enterprise applications, such as a workforce management platform and data management and reporting applications, was challenging because TAG relied on traditional data centers.
Ecosia – a social business based in Berlin, Germany – is the search engine that plants trees. Each month, they donate $100,000 (or 80% of their monthly profits from ad revenue) to nonprofit conservationist organizations, with a focus on tree planting. In 2013, Ecosia turned to AWS to host their website and search engine, in order to leverage scalability and allow it to react quickly to spikes in traffic from increasing demand. Additionally, as they are donating 80% of their profits to planting trees, being frugal is of critical importance to the organization’s bottom line.
Polytechnique de Lausanne
RoboGen™ is an open-source educational and research platform for the co-evolution of robot bodies and brains. It was developed at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at EPFL led by Professor Dario Floreano. Today, RoboGen is an educational, hands-on learning tool that has been used for class projects by over 100 master students at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), a research institute and university in Lausanne, Switzerland. RoboGen uses AWS Cloud Credits for Research. The AWS Promotional Credits are being used to perform large-scale experiments in distributing evolutionary robotics over the web.
Global Crop Diversity Trust
The Global Crop Diversity Trust, an independent international nonprofit organization headquartered in Bonn, Germany, has a mission to ensure the conservation of global agricultural crop diversity. As part of this, the organization also maintains Genesys, a database of the world’s crop diversity in gene banks. The database contains information on more than 2.7 million searchable varieties of crops. Using AWS, the Crop Trust has been able to consolidate its disparate website backends and internal systems into a single, centrally managed cloud-based solution.
With a wide range of forward-looking degree courses and a staff of highly qualified specialists, Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, Germany, provides students with the best possible prospects for their professional future. Through AWS Educate, each student on the university’s acclaimed Einführung in Data-Analytics & Big-Data Praxis course receives an AWS account to gain experience with AWS. Over the 14 weeks of the semester, 15 students attended the elective course for four hours per week to collect, store, process, analyze, and visualize big data on the cloud.
GivenGain is a global leader in cloud-based activism. Based in Switzerland, it was founded in 2001 on a simple premise to enable global philanthropy by empowering individuals and nonprofits to break down the barriers between and within ourselves. The organization’s initial web hosting solution presented reliability issues, and its web server and database were unable to sustain demand. To better scale to this more effectively and continue its good work, GivenGain turned to AWS.
European Space Agency (ESA)
The European Space Agency (ESA) is an international organization with 20 member states. Its mission is to shape the development of European space capabilities and to ensure that investments continue to be made in this area in order to provide benefits to European citizens and to the world as a whole. Find out how AWS supports its Data User Elements (DUE) initiative at the ESA Earth Observation Center in Frascati, Italy, which demonstrates the benefits of Earth observation products and services through data provided to scientists, government agencies, and private organizations worldwide.