TechnologyOne Improves Security and Agility Using Fully Managed Storage Solution Built on AWS
TechnologyOne is one of the largest software-as-a-service companies in Australia and delivers solutions to a range of global customers. However, enhancing its security posture and facilitating compliance in various regions was difficult under its previous storage provider, which prevented it from gaining granular control over its business application data. This system required TechnologyOne to preprovision large amounts of storage, preventing it from scaling over 11,000 business-critical, always-on Microsoft SQL Server failover cluster databases for its services.
TechnologyOne needed a highly secure, scalable, and available cloud storage solution. In 2020, it began migrating to a fully managed shared storage system on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Now the company can scale on demand and surpass global security regulations.
Using Amazon FSx for Windows File Server, we can securely deliver cost-effective file storage to thousands of customers at scale.”
Director of software-as-a-service product and platform, TechnologyOne
Searching for Secure, Shared Cloud Storage Simplicity
TechnologyOne develops enterprise resource planning software built on highly available SQL Server databases, with key markets in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. The company previously stored its customer data using a network-attached storage (NAS) solution in a colocation environment. Its enterprise resource planning workload used Microsoft SQL Server on AWS and ran it on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), which provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. For the colocation environment, it used AWS Direct Connect, a service that establishes a dedicated network connection from on-premises systems to AWS. However, this hybrid solution was not cost effective, made it difficult to respond to security threats, and created latency challenges for the high-performance workload.
TechnologyOne also required granular control to meet various data protection requirements, but its NAS solution prevented it from doing so. “We are constantly trying to improve our security and compliance posture,” says Craig Taylor, director of software-as-a-service product and platform at TechnologyOne. “The storage tier’s architecture made it difficult for us to achieve our increasing compliance objectives, along with supporting our customers’ digital transformation agendas.”
The NAS solution also increased costs. TechnologyOne operates two regional centers: one for its customers in Australia and New Zealand and one for its customers in the United Kingdom. The company could not implement the same storage service in the United Kingdom without incurring large upfront costs, leading to an inconsistent architecture. “Having to pay up front for initially unused storage does not fit into our business model,” says Taylor. As with all NAS solutions, the provider required TechnologyOne to preprovision storage space, preventing the company from scaling on demand to support its customers.
TechnologyOne realized that it needed a secure, scalable, and AWS-powered storage solution, rather than a NAS system that connects to AWS. The company had been on AWS since 2013 and had built most of its underlying application infrastructure using AWS services. “We saw the ability to build an enterprise-grade, scalable storage solution on AWS,” says Taylor. “We could deliver on our business objectives at a more cost-effective rate by using a cloud-first approach.” Its NAS contract was expiring in March 2021, so the company explored a proof of concept in 2020. It discovered that it could meet its goals for compliance, scalability, and globally consistent architecture using Amazon FSx for Windows File Server, which provides fully managed, highly reliable, and scalable file storage that is accessible over the industry-standard Server Message Block protocol.
Meeting Compliance Needs and Scaling Storage Efficiently on AWS
To streamline the data migration, TechnologyOne automated simple, repeatable processes, such as the migration of customer databases from the NAS solution to AWS. This helped it to build its new storage solution with virtually no downtime for customers. Because most of its applications run on Microsoft Windows, the company built the solution using Windows-based AWS services. “Using FSx for Windows File Server, we can securely deliver cost-effective file storage to thousands of customers at scale,” says Taylor. Using this service, the company migrated thousands of databases in just a few weeks. Support for Server Message Block continuous availability, along with native Multi-AZ file systems, also made this solution ideal for TechnologyOne’s high-availability SQL Server deployments.
The company uses FSx for Windows File Server to manage single-tenant customer database environments, which facilitates a globally consistent storage architecture. “We run a shared stack using Microsoft SQL Server on AWS but run individual databases separately,” says Taylor. “We create an individual AWS account for each customer and build FSx for Windows File Server services within that tenancy.” Using this system, TechnologyOne has fine control over customer accounts and can confirm that environments comply with applicable security regulations. It can see the load a customer puts onto the storage system and make customer-specific adjustments as needed. By having AWS services built into each environment, it can better secure data and limit the impact of any storage-related issues.
The company improved its compliance posture using FSx for Windows File Server alongside AWS Transit Gateway, which connects virtual private clouds and on-premises networks through a central hub. These AWS services are accredited by the Information Security Registered Assessors Program (IRAP), which facilitates Australian government customers to validate that appropriate controls are in place for their cybersecurity needs. “We inherit comprehensive compliance controls and standards on AWS,” says Taylor. “This helps us to build out our objectives at a faster pace.” During the migration, the company achieved IRAP certification for its solution and delivered stronger security benefits to its customers.
Instead of buying storage capacity in bulk, TechnologyOne can now scale up and down based on demand. “Before, when we needed to scale storage, we scaled the whole system,” says Taylor. “Now we can scale appropriately on a per-customer basis.” By migrating to AWS, TechnologyOne has reduced its storage costs and is progressing toward its goal of a 25 percent cost reduction per storage unit.
Accelerating a Fast, Seamless Migration on AWS
TechnologyOne successfully initiated its database storage migration without impacting its customers. The migration of all its production storage workloads in Australia and Europe to FSx for Windows File Server was completed in May 2021. The company is exploring the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to optimize storage costs and performance on a customer basis, which would not have been possible on a shared NAS solution. “With all our workloads on AWS, we have a globally consistent storage solution and a globally consistent way of managing customer data for the first time ever,” says Taylor. “This is a massive milestone for us.”
Learn more about TechnologyOne’s application workload migration journey here.
To learn more, visit aws.amazon.com/fsx/windows/
TechnologyOne is one of Australia’s largest enterprise software-as-a-service companies. Its integrated enterprise software helps transform businesses and ease workloads for global customers.
Benefits of AWS
- Reduced storage costs
- Delivered scalable, cost-effective file storage to thousands of customers
- Facilitated compliance in multiple regions
- Facilitated fast migration with virtually no downtime for customers
- Completed thousands of database migrations in just a few weeks
AWS Services Used
Amazon FSx for Windows File Server
Amazon FSx for Windows File Server provides fully managed, highly reliable, and scalable file storage that is accessible over the industry-standard Server Message Block (SMB) protocol.
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud.
Microsoft SQL Server on AWS
Customers have been running Microsoft Workloads on AWS for over 12 years, longer than any other cloud provider.
AWS Transit Gateway
AWS Transit Gateway connects VPCs and on-premises networks through a central hub. This simplifies your network and puts an end to complex peering relationships. It acts as a cloud router – each new connection is only made once.
Companies of all sizes across all industries are transforming their businesses every day using AWS. Contact our experts and start your own AWS Cloud journey today.