Atyaf eSolutions Seamlessly Migrates Bahrain EWA Website to the AWS Cloud

Atyaf eSolutions is an APN Select Consulting Partner

Technology Partner with Public Sector Experience

Atyaf eSolutions has focused on revolutionizing digitization since its founding in 1995 and was the first company to specialize in internet solutions in the Kingdom of Bahrain. “Our mission is to provide high-quality and secure IT solutions that allow our clients to effectively meet their business goals. The partnership with AWS is critical to us in delivering intelligent solutions that take advantage of the cost savings and flexibility of cloud computing,” says Ubaydli Ubaydli, Group Chairman of Atyaf Holdings.

The company is an AWS Partner Network (APN) Select Consulting Partner in the and has used that relationship to benefit its customers. “Working with AWS has opened up a new business line for Atyaf eSolutions. We now offer to set up cloud platforms and services for our customers. Without AWS, that would not have been possible for us,” says Sreeju Nair, chief eSolution officer for Atyaf eSolutions. The company is also part of the AWS Public Sector Partner Program, making it well suited to serve government agencies in Bahrain. When the Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) issued a public tender seeking vendors to modernize its website, Atyaf eSolutions submitted its qualifications and was chosen for the project.

EWA generates and regulates electric power and water for the Kingdom of Bahrain, and it also promotes conservation and sustainability of resources. EWA wanted to improve the availability of its website, make it easier for specific user groups to find what they were looking for, and give the site a more contemporary look. “Our internal IT team did not have the resources or time required to upgrade our website within the expected time frame. We needed to engage a partner on this project and Atyaf eSolutions provided the best options for us in terms of technology and support,” says Mahmood Alqumaish, EWA’s chief of IT projects.

"Atyaf eSolutions’s infrastructure team helped us convert each instance—each virtual machine—to AWS without having to rebuild our infrastructure from scratch."

- Qusai Alhaddad, Senior Computer Specialist for EWA

Smooth Migration from Local Servers to the AWS Cloud

EWA’s original website was built in Microsoft SharePoint and hosted on servers located in Bahrain. “Under the supervision of the Information and eGovernment Authority, we discussed with EWA how it could benefit from the agility of the AWS Cloud platform to further improve the site response time and site availability for users,” says Nair. “Together, we decided to migrate the SharePoint servers to AWS.”

The challenge for EWA was moving from its local server host to AWS. Each instance that needed to be moved was 100-200 GB in size. “Atyaf eSolutions’s infrastructure team helped us convert each instance—each virtual machine—to AWS without having to rebuild our infrastructure from scratch,” says Qusai Alhaddad, senior computer specialist for EWA. In only two weeks, the website servers were migrated from on premises to the AWS Cloud. He says, “Atyaf eSolutions came up with a solution to convert our instances to AWS directly. All it required from us was changing an IP address and server name. The migration was smooth.”

High availability is critical to the three main user groups of the site. Utility customers require information about starting and stopping services, as well as reliable bill payment options. Business partners and suppliers need up-to-date information about tender postings. Researchers and students search for data from the site for their studies. Alhaddad says, “Since the migration, the
site speed and performance are noticeably improved. It’s faster because it’s hosted on a stable platform and the SharePoint implementation has been fine-tuned by Atyaf eSolutions.”

Optimizing Services to Manage Traffic, Security, and Backups

To maintain high availability and fast performance, Atyaf eSolutions uses Elastic Load Balancing on the site to automatically distribute application traffic when the traffic load fluctuates. EWA also runs its SQL Server database on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. The site uses Amazon EC2 R5 instances for the web server and database workloads, and it relies on Amazon EC2 T3 instances for the domain controllers.

As a government agency, security is paramount to EWA. For the SharePoint website, Atyaf eSolutions chose to protect it with AWS Shield and AWS Web Application Firewall (AWS WAF). AWS Shield is a managed protection service that safeguards applications that run on AWS from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. AWS WAF helps protect applications from web exploits that affect application availability, compromise security, or consume excessive resources.

When creating the site, Atyaf eSolutions chose to use Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to manage backup and disaster recovery and to store daily site backups. It stores older backups on Amazon S3 Glacier, which provides low-cost storage for data archiving.

A Powerful Platform for Building Services

“Hosting the SharePoint workloads has been cost-effective and faster, and it has dramatically improved availability for EWA," says Nair. “The Microsoft ecosystem used by EWA, which includes Windows, SQL, and SharePoint, delivers its best performance in the AWS environment. Updates, maintenance, monitoring—everything works better in the AWS Cloud.”

The success of the website update and migration has prompted EWA to add even more functionality to the site. “We have multiple initiatives that we are currently working on, including chat bots, live chat, and eForms,” says Alqumaish. “That’s all been made possible thanks to Atyaf eSolutions and AWS, because now we have a powerful platform which we can build anything on.”

EWA

About The Electricity and Water Authority

The Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) is responsible for regulating electric power and water in the Kingdom of Bahrain. It oversees the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric and water utilities. EWA is responsible for maintaining the quality and reliability of those utilities, and for promoting sustainable development and resource conservation.

About Atyaf eSolutions

Atyaf eSolutions is a full-service digital web development agency that provides IT solutions and services to its customers. Established in 1995, Atyaf eSolutions is headquartered in Muharraq in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The company is part of the AWS Partner Network, is a Select Consulting Partner, as well as part of the AWS Public Sector Partner Program. Atyaf eSolutions delivers cloud solutions to government, education, private enterprises, and nonprofit customers.

Published December 2019