Novus Modernizes Tech Stack and Cuts Costs 50% with Amazon RDS and Datavail

Datavail is an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner

Executive Summary

Novus Partners, the makers of a portfolio analytics and intelligence platform for institutional investors, operated its own data center for many years to deliver its Novus solution to capital allocators and managers throughout the world. However, steep licensing costs—at $400,000 per year—combined with an aging 20-blade, on-premises database server cluster and a push to modernize the company’s technology stack, the Novus IT team sought a cloud-based alternative. The company found a solution that laid the groundwork for agile development and delivered cost savings, scalability, performance, and manageability. Novus worked with Datavail to migrate its commercial on-premises database to two instances of Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) MySQL on Amazon Web Services (AWS), cutting costs by 50 percent and relieving developers from operations work, allowing the Novus to ship more product features than ever before.

Tied to Expensive, On-Premises Datacenter

Prior to migrating to AWS, Novus used a third-party commercial database software on bare metal as the basis of its product. But it lacked the ability to scale. For infrastructure, the company operated a hybrid setup, running 4 terabytes (TB) on a third-party, on-premises MySQL-compatible database. In addition, 2 TB were housed in a SQL Server database with high availability and mirroring, where the primary ran locally on premises and the backup mirrored on AWS.

With a technology staff of eight, the team was saddled with operations duties on top of their product work. Facing a targeted shutdown date for their datacenter, the team saw an opportunity to move off premises onto AWS and modernize their technology stack to devote more time to product development.

Migrated 6 TB in Just 3 months with Datavail

Novus had already partnered with Datavail for database administration and was confident in using Datavail to support a migration project. “We had an extremely aggressive timeline of three months to make the migration happen,” said Noah Zucker, SVP of technology at Novus. “We knew that Datavail had a regimented, methodical approach for data management, so we’d be in good hands. It wouldn’t have happened without them.”

To meet the tight timeline and ensure a quality product, Datavail moved Novus’ customer accounts over to Amazon RDS one by one. Starting with the smaller footprints, Datavail tested how the queries performed in Amazon RDS for each account, tuned them, then moved onto the next. By running the on-premises database in parallel with the new target, Novus retained a failsafe option and could revert back if necessary. For customers with larger data footprints, Datavail wrote custom scripts and used AWS Database Migration Service (DMS) to help minimize downtime.

“Rather than refreshing the bare metal in our datacenter, we migrated to Amazon RDS—it was a slam dunk in terms of reducing our daily operational tasks and infrastructure costs.”

- Noah Zucker, SVP of Technology, Novus Partners

Cut Technology Spend in Half by Moving to Amazon RDS

The move to Amazon RDS meant Novus cut its annual technology spend in half, eliminating datacenter fees, software licensing, and hardware upkeep. “Rather than refreshing our entire bare metal implementation in our datacenter, we migrated to Amazon RDS—it was a slam dunk for us in terms of reducing our daily operational tasks and infrastructure costs,” Zucker said. With the migration as part of a larger modernization project, Zucker used the AWS Pricing Calculator to estimate additional savings opportunities, such as cloud storage and Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (Amazon EC2).

Boosted Productivity to New Heights

By handing over the undifferentiated heavy lifting of database operations, Zucker’s team was free to devote more time to customer needs. In fact, in the quarter following the migration to AWS, Novus shipped more product features than ever before. “Not having to think about things like backup, high availability, failover, and outages has freed up a lot of cognitive overhead and boosted our productivity,” Zucker said. In addition, Novus leveraged CloudEndure Disaster Recovery for resiliency, adopted Kubernetes, and used Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service for application-layer orchestration, delivering scalability and a better toolset for troubleshooting. Modernizing with Kubernetes enabled Novus to auto-scale down resources when they were not in use, achieving much lower operating costs. “We went from an extremely static infrastructure, to Kubernetes—it was a fantastic transformation and cost-cutting story for our team,” Zucker said.

“We migrated to RDS in just three months because Novus was such a great partner and AWS Database Migration Service helped speed up large accounts.”

- Chandra Pathivada, Director & Global Practice Lead for PostgreSQL & Cassandra, Datavail

Set Stage for Future Growth

As Novus grows into its Amazon RDS instances, the company will continue to evaluate a potential move to Amazon Aurora MySQL, should any customers require greater performance and increased high availability. But for now, the multi-Availability-Zone deployments of Amazon RDS has served Novus customers well. Compared with the company's former on-premises setup, Amazon RDS makes it much easier to allocate a separate database for any customers who want to host their own.


About Novus Partners

Novus Partners is a leading portfolio intelligence platform for capital allocators and managers to better manage investments.
Novus Partners faced steep licensing costs for its on-premises server, while a push to modernize sent the company searching for cloud-based alternatives.
Novus Partners worked with Datavail to migrate to Amazon Relational Database Service, cutting costs by 50 percent and freeing up developers.
  • Migrated 6 TB to Amazon RDS in 3 months
  • Cut technology spend by 50%

About Datavail

Datavail is one of the largest providers of database administration and data analytics services in North America and Canada. Datavail’s data and technology experts help organizations get the most out of their organizational data.

Published November 2020