AWS has done a great job in pushing out products and services that address our issues, and the cost model is very efficient for customers.
Chaiwat Ratanaprateepporn Chief Technology Officer

A subsidiary of Thailand-based communications conglomerate True Corporation, TrueMoney provides digital payment services to its customers in South East Asia. The organization provides a digital “smart wallet” for consumers to store value and spend on e-commerce and digital products. TrueMoney also aims to use digital technologies to give people in the region without bank accounts full access to financial services to undertake transactions such as bill payment. “About 20 percent of people in Thailand, 70 percent in the Philippines, and up to 65 percent in Indonesia do not have bank accounts, so we have a sizeable potential market for our digital services,” says Chaiwat Ratanaprateepporn, chief technology officer at TrueMoney. The business now operates in five countries in South East Asia: Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

TrueMoney started operations by running its own servers, storage, networking equipment, and associated systems in a collocated data center. This traditional infrastructure model proved to be expensive, labor-intensive, and inefficient. “When we started a project, we had to predict our likely requirements and the personnel and equipment resources necessary to deliver successfully,” says Ratanaprateepporn. “In addition, we would have to wait up to three months to procure, install, and start using the new servers needed to develop, test, and deploy new products and services.” Data center resources such as processing power, memory, and storage was underutilized outside peak periods, yet maintenance requirements remained unchanged. TrueMoney had to dedicate two team members to keep the systems running.

“We wanted to take on a different approach as our corporate culture and mindset was to deliver quality services quickly, and we were not achieving this with a collocated data center,” he adds. TrueMoney’s team had monitored the development of cloud services in the region and in early 2015, the business started evaluating providers based on their ability to help the business become agile and innovative, launch new products and services to customers faster, and enable the business to pay only for resources used.

TrueMoney’s research found that cloud providers typically provided some but not all of the services the business needed. “Amazon Web Services was the only provider that met all of our requirements,” says Ratanaprateepporn. Thailand’s financial services regulations and approvals processes meant that TrueMoney had to set up a hybrid architecture with its e-wallet engine and bill payment systems running on a physical infrastructure in an on-premises data center, and its websites, e-wallet web application, and payment gateways running in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Asia-Pacific (Singapore) Region. AWS Direct Connect provides a direct network connection between the on-premises data center and the AWS environment, which is distributed across two Availability Zones to minimize disruption if one zone experiences an issue. Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) provides compute resources for the websites, e-wallet application, and payment gateways, while Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) stores user and transaction data and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) runs the relational database supporting the services. TrueMoney operates Amazon CloudWatch to monitor its AWS infrastructure and AWS CloudTrail captures activity to provide an audit trail. “We are running AWS CloudTrail purely for internal audit processes at the moment. As we look to run more of our systems in AWS, we will use AWS CloudTrail to provide compliance data to external authorities,” says Ratanaprateepporn.

Ratanaprateepporn and his team members have embraced AWS training as invaluable in helping TrueMoney optimize its AWS architecture. “The AWS training is necessary for any organization that wants to run its own services in AWS. While we do not rely on AWS certification internally, we do regard it as valuable for our employees to receive recognition that they have achieved certain levels of knowledge and competency in AWS,” he says. The organization is currently using AWS Support, Developer level due to its basic cloud architecture, but plans to upgrade to AWS Support, Enterprise-level as it adds more AWS services to its environment.

The figure below illustrates TrueMoney’s environment in AWS:

truemoney-arch-diag-high-res

Running its websites, e-wallet application, and payment gateways in AWS has enabled TrueMoney to operate more cost-effectively and with greater speed, agility, and innovation. The business also now has a centralized infrastructure to deliver services and plans to expand to other markets in South East Asia. “We didn’t want to build our own data centers and purchase equipment in each of those markets—our plan is to use AWS as the platform to deliver our products and services in the region. By taking this approach, we have saved at least three million Thai baht (US$83,000) in capital costs,” says Ratanaprateepporn.

TrueMoney has reduced the personnel resources required to manage its infrastructure from two full-time team members to half the time of one team member. The AWS infrastructure is also meeting the organization’s target of 99.9 percent availability, and Ratanaprateepporn and his team regularly scale the AWS infrastructure to support peak traffic periods. Development and test processes have accelerated by up to three months, as the technology team does not have to procure new servers in the lead up to each new project.

Ratanaprateepporn is extremely pleased with how TrueMoney has benefitted from using AWS. “AWS has done a great job in pushing out products and services that address our issues, and the cost model is very efficient for customers,” he says. “I have also had excellent support from the regional team during the migration process and in optimizing our infrastructure.”

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