PGA of America Works with EagleDream to Migrate to AWS for Scalability and High Availability

EagleDream Technologies is an AWS Premier Consulting Partner

Executive Summary

The PGA of America (PGA) worked with EagleDream Technologies, an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Premier Consulting Partner, to migrate Windows workloads to AWS. As a result, PGA can modernize its applications, scale to support seasonal workloads, and ensure high availability for customer-facing applications.

PGA of America Seeks Application Modernization

The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) of America, founded in 1916, is one of the world’s largest sports organizations. The organization comprises nearly 29,000 professionals who are considered experts in teaching and growing interest in the game of golf.

For many years, PGA ran its business-critical applications, such as a Windows-based system that automatically keeps score during live tournaments, in on-premises data centers. However, the organization wanted to modernize its IT environment and increase scalability and reliability for applications. “We couldn’t scale efficiently in the data centers because it would take too long to provision servers to get the compute capacity we had to have. We needed a better way to scale the scoring system to support increases in traffic during tournaments, for example,” says George Whitaker, Director of Cloud Architecture for PGA of America. In addition, the PGA member-facing website, an Oracle-based application, often went down and members had trouble registering for events on time.

To address these problems, PGA sought to move to the cloud. “We wanted to take a DevOps approach that would employ configuration as code and automatic scaling, as well as better application monitoring, and we knew the AWS was the right cloud provider,” Whitaker says.

Working with EagleDream to Move Windows Workloads to AWS

PGA decided to move its Windows- and Oracle-based applications to AWS and turned to EagleDream Technologies, an AWS Premier Consulting Partner and AWS Microsoft Workloads Competency Partner, for migration assistance. “We knew AWS would give us the agility to move more quickly as a business, and we liked how EagleDream was focused on strategic transformation on AWS,” says Whitaker.

After analyzing the existing PGA application environment, EagleDream initiated a cloud migration and moved several of PGA’s workloads to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for Microsoft Windows Server. After successfully migrating the scoring system to AWS using migration tools including CloudEndure Migration and AWS Database Migration Service (DMS), PGA felt confident moving additional workloads to the cloud. “The scoring system saw immediate cost benefits because we would scale down between events and, during the offseason, we would completely tear down the stack and rebuild it the following season,” says Whitaker.

Once the scoring system migration was completed, EagleDream created a proof of concept using Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) and Docker containers to help PGA move from Windows to Linux. PGA chose to use Amazon ECS and Docker containers because of cost efficiency, enhanced developer productivity, and automated deployment capabilities. Additionally, EagleDream implemented AWS CodeDeploy for automation as well as AWS CloudFormation templates that the PGA IT team uses to simplify deployment and conduct testing before moving to production. PGA also uses AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon DynamoDB to enable a serverless architecture. “AWS Lambda is key for PGA’s modernization because of the automation and simplified management,” says Scott Weber, Vice President of Cloud Solutions for EagleDream Technologies. Most recently, EagleDream helped PGA move its Oracle database to Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for Oracle to enable performance improvements. “After moving our Oracle systems to AWS, we had end users reporting faster performance, despite the fact that we provision less memory and CPU for those systems,” says Whitaker.

“We knew AWS would give us the agility to move more quickly as a business, and we liked how EagleDream was focused on strategic transformation on AWS."

- George Whitaker, Director of Cloud Architecture, PGA of America

On-Demand Scalability to Support a Seasonal Scoring Application

By migrating to AWS, PGA increased scalability for its most critical applications, such as the scoring system. “Running our Windows workloads on AWS, we can scale our scoring system up or down based on demand during seasonal tournaments like the Women’s PGA Championship,” says Whitaker. “Now we no longer need to worry that the environment can’t handle the increased traffic volume, which could cause the system to fail.”

“Running our Windows workloads on AWS, we can scale our scoring system up or down based on demand during seasonal tournaments like the Women’s PGA Championship. Now we no longer need to worry that the environment can’t handle the increased traffic volume, which could cause the system to fail.”

- George Whitaker, Director of Cloud Architecture, PGA of America

Increasing Availability and Resiliency

PGA has improved the reliability of its applications by migrating Windows workloads to AWS. “Our website used to crash often, but we have had no reports of downtime since moving to AWS,” says Whitaker. “In addition, users have told us the website is much faster now, so they’re having a better overall experience.” When PGA started its AWS journey, it had weekly application outages. Since migrating to AWS, the organization has seen next to no unplanned outages. By leveraging AWS CloudFormation, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon DynamoDB, PGA is able to perform planned maintenance without most members seeing downtime.

PGA has also increased the resiliency of its IT environment by taking advantage of multiple Availability Zones. Now, the organization’s applications will continue operating even in the event of an issue in one zone. “That gives us peace of mind because we know we don’t have to worry about scoring and event registration issues anymore,” says Whitaker.

Uncovering Application Problems Faster

Relying on native AWS monitoring tools, PGA has much better visibility into its application environments. The company’s IT team can now clearly see how each environment is performing at any time. Before, PGA had to manually look at individual log files. With the automation enabled by AWS, the organization now has enhanced monitoring tools to see CPU and memory utilization much more easily. As a result, PGA can be proactive as it sees things start to change in any application or database and can uncover problems where it previously lacked visibility. The organization is discovering problems and system bottlenecks faster as a result.

With better scalability, high availability, and visibility, PGA is now poised to turn its modernization strategy into reality. “Thanks to EagleDream and AWS, we are well underway to closing our data centers and completing our cloud migration initiatives,” Whitaker says.

PGA

About the PGA of America

The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) of America is a US-based organization of golf professionals that consists of nearly 29,000 members. The organization seeks to establish and elevate the standards of the golfing profession and to grow interest and participation in the game.

About EagleDream Technologies

EagleDream Technologies is a leading trusted cloud-native transformation company and AWS Premier Consulting Partner. EagleDream leverages its cloud-native software and engineering expertise with industry-leading migration capabilities to guide customers through their journey to the cloud, optimize their operations, and transform how they do business using AWS.

Published December 2020