Since its founding in 1979, Almoayyed Computers has closely monitored the evolution of its customers’ IT needs and the technologies available to meet those needs, adapting its offerings accordingly. "We began with an emphasis on on-premises data centers and the networking and security considerations that go along with those," says S.M. Hussaini, the CEO of Almoayyed Computers. "We were always enthusiastic about the possibilities of cloud computing and we have increasingly moved in that direction in response to strong customer demand for the flexibility, agility, and cost savings available in the cloud. Our long-term strategy is to shift our focus entirely to cloud operations in the coming years because that is how we can help our customers be most successful."
The potential of the public cloud was also on the mind of Bahrain's Ministry of Information Affairs (MIA). MIA plays a key role in the implementation of Bahrain’s sustainable development goals, which include using media to help stimulate economic growth and improve quality of life through the presentation of high-quality entertainment and educational content. With a goal of building a free and responsible national media landscape that serves the diverse needs of all Bahraini citizens, MIA helps ensure that all media operations in Bahrain are characterized by balance, openness, respect, credibility and compliance with local and international laws. To further increase its focus on the comprehensive media strategy necessary to achieve these objectives, MIA wanted to reduce the time it was spending maintaining and operating the BNA website.
"The hosting service for the BNA website was becoming increasingly problematic," says Huda Ahmed Mohsen, chief of IT for MIA. Problems with the site's availability, performance, and security were becoming more frequent even as BNA was working to implement a much-needed redesign of both the website and its back-end publishing workflows.
"The BNA website has very high availability and performance requirements, and our previous host couldn't deliver what we needed," Huda Ahmed says. "BNA employees use the site to publish about 100 news items every 24 hours. Employees need to be able to rely on the back-end system to complete the necessary workflows to upload text, videos, and multiple pictures for each item, and the public depends on the site to be available whenever they want to look at it, day or night. We also had concerns that the site was not as safe as possible from hacking."
The Bahrain government has set a goal of shifting the IT infrastructures of all its ministries and offices to Amazon Web Services (AWS) by 2019. As the difficulty of working with the BNA website's host mounted, and because the current hosting contract would expire in less than a month, MIA decided to shift the BNA website to AWS as soon as possible.
MIA selected Almoayyed Computers to assist with moving the mission-critical BNA website to AWS because of its demonstrated expertise in architecting and implementing solutions on AWS for the public sector.
Almoayyed Computers—the first Bahraini company to become an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Consulting Partner—joined the AWS Public Sector Partner Program in 2017 and has obtained AWS validation as an Authorized Government Reseller and an Authorized Commercial Reseller. Almoayyed Computers employees collectively hold the highest number of AWS certifications of any Bahraini company, including as Certified Solutions Architects, Certified Developers, and Certified DevOps Engineers.
"Joining the AWS Public Sector Partner Program has been a good way to emphasize to the Bahrain public sector that we have the qualifications and commitment to serve them," says Jaison Jose, a cloud architect and support service delivery manager for Almoayyed Computers. "These qualifications help us win new business and are a big reason that the Bahrain government has identified us as one of only three vendors to assist its agencies and ministries with the shift to AWS."
To prevent downtime, Almoayyed Computers obtained a backup copy of the redesigned BNA website. The company then used AWS Elastic Beanstalk to orchestrate the website's AWS infrastructure, which included Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for object storage, Amazon Glacier for data archiving and backup, and Amazon Relational Database (Amazon RDS).
To achieve high availability and performance, the website relies on Amazon CloudFront for a globally distributed content delivery network, Elastic Load Balancing for automatic distribution of incoming traffic, and Amazon Shield for managed protection against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
“Despite almost no assistance from the previous vendor and a very tight turnaround, we were able to take advantage of the flexibility and simplicity of AWS to complete the project on time,” says Hazem Hassan Rewiha, a large-account manager at Almoayyed Computers. “Deploying onto AWS also made it simpler to avoid interruptions of service for the site's customers and required almost no changes to employee workflows.”
With the assistance of Almoayyed Computers, MIA was able to move from a problematic website host onto a highly available, more secure infrastructure on AWS.
"The help from Almoayyed Computers was invaluable," says Mohsen. "Not only did we complete the move in two weeks, but they worked with us around the clock to ensure that the entire system remained stable and trouble-free."
Challenges MIA was experiencing on the previous host have been eliminated on AWS. "For us, the most important red line is that this portal cannot go down for even a second," says Huda Ahmed. "Before, we often experienced some challenges, and fixing these problems required work orders, procuring new hardware, and long timeframes. Now, even when we do experience small issues, it just takes a couple of clicks to move a database. I can do it from my house, even in the middle of the night, and our customers never know there was any issue."
It's also much easier to update the website with new features. "Now that we are on AWS, all the cumbersome workflow that used to be necessary to add features or provision resources for new features has been replaced by just a few clicks," says Mohamed Sajid, an AWS solution architect at Almoayyed Computers.
Moving to AWS resulted in considerable cost savings, Huda Ahmed adds. "By moving to AWS, we cut our hosting costs 50 percent. The savings we found on AWS are being reinvested into the site, so we can create an even better experience for our customers."
Huda Ahmed chalks up the success of the project to the flexibility and professionalism of the Almoayyed Computers team. "What I liked most about working with Almoayyed Computers team members was that they treated us more like family than a revenue source. They were always ready to help, whenever and whatever we needed, and they were totally committed to a successful, high-quality outcome."
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