Cloudar Delivers AWS Solutions to Government and Private-Sector Customers

VRT looked to APN Premier Partner, Cloudar, to help deliver news coverage

Long-Term Relationship Builds Success

Cloudar is one of the leading Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partners in Belgium—in fact, the first local Belgian partner to obtain AWS Partner Network (APN) Premier Consulting Partner status. As an APN Partner since mid-2014, the longstanding relationship plays an outsized role in the company’s high-profile projects. “Practically every project involves collaboration with AWS. They bring value, resources, and expertise to all our plans,” says Senne Vaeyens, co-founder and managing partner of Cloudar. The company’s commitment to AWS is evident in having earned an APN Certification Distinction. That distinction was earned by having more than 50 IT professionals within Cloudar certified as AWS Solutions Architects, developers, systems operations administrators, and DevOps engineers. The company is also an AWS Managed Service Provider (MSP) and manages customer environments up to the OS layer.

VRT Looked to Cloudar to Help Deliver News Coverage That Could Not Fail

Holding a validated qualification as an AWS Public Sector Partner: Government, Cloudar was well positioned to work with VRT, the national public service broadcaster for Belgium’s Flemish region. VRT required assistance from Cloudar as the country’s Election Day approached. VRT’s news division provides up-to-the-minute election coverage on television, radio, and the web. The broadcaster relies on its websites and apps to provide current and reliable information to the public, in addition to an architectural infrastructure equipped to feed live information to in-studio graphics and reporting teams. “The main goal for us was high availability. As a national news operation, we could not afford to have our web operations fail at any time during the day’s coverage, and that's why we looked to Cloudar for their expertise in creating highly available environments,” explains Wim Symons, developer and architect for election coverage for VRT.

VRT relies on infrastructure powered by AWS, including Amazon Relational Database Service for PostgreSQL (Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL), Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). With AWS infrastructure underlying its operation, VRT felt confident that Cloudar could help resolve the challenge to achieve seamless high availability.

VRT set up application services, load balancers, and an Amazon S3 bucket in the Ireland Availability Zone. But to create the high availability that the news team required, VRT needed to duplicate the setup in another region and required a seamless way to switch regions if the website failed for any reason. That’s where Cloudar stepped in to create a failover plan between VRT’s S3 buckets.

“Practically every project involves collaboration with AWS. They bring value, resources, and expertise to all our plans.”

- Senne Vaeyens, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Cloudar

Cloudar Creates Easy Switch Between Regions

“Chances were low that something would go wrong, but if it did, VRT could not waste time on a complex failover plan,” explains Ben Bridts, cloud engineer and AWS APN ambassador for Cloudar. Bridts formulated the Cloudar custom routing solution for VRT, which used Amazon CloudFront, a content delivery network service, paired with Lambda@Edge, a CloudFront feature that runs code closer to end users. With this configuration, VRT could automatically switch to S3 buckets in the Frankfurt region if the Ireland region failed.

Fortunately, the news team never needed to switch regions during the day’s coverage. Though VRT did not need the failover plan in the end, the work on this project will deliver future dividends for the news team. “This initial project required five to six weeks to plan, but we are now prepared for all future elections. Thanks to Cloudar, we can spin up this entire infrastructure again in an instant,” says Guy Lemmens, head of operations and Java services for VRT.

Constant Collaboration Strengthens Customer Relationships

Collaboration between AWS, Cloudar, and VRT has included many high-profile, high-value projects, including the Olympics and European Football Cup. The collaboration has also resulted in shifting VRT's web farm to AWS. Cloudar embeds consultants within VRT during critical projects, and the success derived from this close relationship provides the comfort level required by VRT to approach Cloudar about exploring the viability of future projects.

"We can ask AWS and Cloudar any question, and they always find the answer," notes Marijn Daniels, project leader for VRT's election coverage. "In the past, technology infrastructure was a limiting factor for creating value for our end users. Now it's an enabler for creating that value. No longer being limited by technical boundaries is a real shift for us."

Cloudar touts itself as having been born in the AWS Cloud. That birthright inspires its depth of collaboration with both public- and private-sector clients. It is emblematic of how Cloudar works with all of its customers and the central role that AWS plays in those collaborations.

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About VRT

VRT is the national public service broadcaster for Belgium’s Flemish region. VRT broadcasts over radio, TV, and the internet. The organization’s content is targeted to the Flemish community and provides news, sports, and entertainment programming.

Benefits

  • Failover plan ensures uninterrupted Election Day coverage
  • Easy infrastructure spin-up for future Election Days
  • Technology infrastructure, once a limiting factor, now enables end-user value
  • End users easily share election results on social media and during broadcast

 

AWS Services Used

About Cloudar

Cloudar and its team of cloud architects offer cloud solutions for any business type. It designs, builds, and operates highly available, scalable environments based on Amazon Web Services. Cloudar is one of the leading APN Premier Consulting Partners in Belgium.

Published October 2019