ArisGlobal Eliminates Database Licensing Fees, Boosts Uptime on Amazon RDS
ArisGlobal helps major life sciences organizations worldwide streamline the drug development process by providing essential software that accelerates research and development, maintains compliance, and simplifies cross-team collaboration. The global market leader realized the best way to continue delivering value to its customers was to break free from its legacy on-premises database and migrate to the cloud. The on-premises database was expensive and difficult to scale, required in-house maintenance, and wasn’t simple to update to maintain new compliance regulations. With a vision for modernization, ArisGlobal started its all-in journey to the cloud in 2016. Once the solution became stable and migration to the cloud was largely complete, ArisGlobal started executing its vision of modernizing its application stack to new-age container-based technologies and breaking free from commercial databases.
Yet life sciences is a highly regulated industry. Therefore, ArisGlobal chose a cloud provider carefully. The company turned to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to help it securely migrate and become one of the first life sciences–solution vendors to deliver software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions.
On AWS, ArisGlobal then migrated to Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), which makes it simple to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. There the company built its core cloud multitenant SaaS solution, LifeSphere. By using Amazon RDS and other AWS services, ArisGlobal improved performance, reduced costs, and maintained customer compliance with industry regulations.
We chose AWS for the additional features like data replication, which was a main need for our customers.”
Director of Engineering and Product Development for LifeSphere, Aris Global
Finding Security and Compliance on AWS
ArisGlobal provides software to 40 of the top 50 biopharmaceutical companies, four of the top five pharma companies, and eight government health authorities, including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health Canada, and China’s National Medical Products Administration. ArisGlobal has worked with many of these customers for more than 30 years, giving the company a unique perspective. “There’s certainly a growing focus on digital transformation within life sciences,” says Sam Stein, vice president of global marketing at ArisGlobal. “But for a long time, many organizations were hesitant to move to the cloud because it’s such a highly regulated industry.” Yet in the cloud, ArisGlobal could launch LifeSphere, a multitenant SaaS solution that would help its customers maintain compliance, align global research and development teams, and achieve scalability.
Previously, ArisGlobal hosted its legacy commercial database on six colocation data centers. The traditional database came with steep licensing fees and required upfront capacity planning, so it was difficult to cost-effectively provision and scale for ArisGlobal’s fast growing customers. “A small life sciences company could become large quickly by receiving even one product approval,” explains Stein. Staff also had to spend time managing the database instead of delivering value to customers, and the upgrades required to maintain compliance were often tedious. “Anytime a health authority came out with a new set of regulations, the system would require an update,” says Stein. “It was difficult for companies just to keep their on-premises systems up to date.”
In its search for a cloud provider, ArisGlobal performed proofs of concept with leading cloud providers and chose AWS for its high performance, strong support, and security and compliance certifications. AWS is compliant with such standards as ISO/IEC 27001, SOC 2, HIPAA, and the General Data Protection Regulation, among others. “We were able to convince most of our customers to move to the cloud because of the strong reputation that AWS has built in the industry,” says Ravikanth Valigari, director of engineering and product development for LifeSphere at ArisGlobal.
Benefiting from Optimization on AWS
To quickly migrate to AWS, ArisGlobal implemented a two-step migration process. First, from May to August 2018, it lifted and shifted 80 percent of its customers and more than 100 TB in database workloads to Amazon RDS for Oracle, a fully managed commercial database that makes it simple to set up, operate, and scale Oracle deployments in the cloud. This helped the company achieve operational efficiency and eliminate outages, helping it meet service level agreements with customers.
Migrating to Amazon RDS meant ArisGlobal could eliminate expensive licensing fees. Amazon RDS offers 99.99 percent availability by replicating six copies of data across three Availability Zones and backing up data continuously to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), an object storage service. “We chose AWS for the additional features like data replication, which was a main need for our customers,” says Valigari. Data replication used to require costly solutions. However, these costly solutions can be avoided, and other benefits, like data replication across regions in under a second, can be achieved using features like AWS Database Migration Service. To scale its performance, ArisGlobal can add up to 15 low latency read replicas across three Availability Zones on Amazon RDS. ArisGlobal has also offloaded the heavy case documents from the legacy database, using a combination of Amazon RDS and Amazon S3, the latter of which helps optimize storage and reduce complexity from the database.
Once the migration to Amazon RDS was complete, ArisGlobal optimized its cloud solution using AWS services like Amazon Elasticsearch Service, a fully managed service that makes it simple for users to deploy, secure, and run Elasticsearch cost-effectively at scale. Using this service, ArisGlobal can improve performance and reduce the load on its database, which is important since LifeSphere is a multitenant SaaS solution, where many organizations share the same software to save and store data. “Most of our reads, dashboards, and reports come from Elasticsearch, so all the data in the system is available in the database at the same time,” explains Valigari. “We reduced the hits to the transactional database by 50 percent, which makes some of the read operations faster.”
ArisGlobal also uses Amazon ElastiCache, a fast in-memory data store that provides submillisecond latency to power internet-scale real-time applications. When it migrated to AWS, ArisGlobal expected to onboard hundreds of new customers. The company stores all user sessions in Amazon ElastiCache for Redis, which enables instances to spin up and down and provides a centralized session store rather than an application server. The cache is distributed and centralized, so when a new instance is launched, it doesn’t need to rebuild the cache. And using Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS), a fully managed Kubernetes service, ArisGlobal reduced scheduled downtimes and improved uptime. Before, manual deployment of applications required 5–6 hours even for minor patching, but Amazon EKS enables automatic deployments in minutes.
Boosting Uptime and Performance on AWS
By migrating to Amazon RDS and optimizing its cloud solution on AWS, ArisGlobal secured its future as a leader in the life sciences market, reduced costs, and improved performance and security for its customers.
Now ArisGlobal is focusing on advancing its DevOps pipeline and implementing a blue/green deployment model, which would result in minimal downtime for customers. The company is also investing in intelligent automation, using machine learning and artificial intelligence to build a smart research and development service for the life sciences industry. “We’re actively building use cases that harness artificial intelligence, so we need to make sure that the service is optimized to deliver on those technologies,” says Stein. “Using AWS is helping to enable our vision of creating an intelligent, complete life sciences cloud solution."
Founded in 1987, ArisGlobal is a SaaS provider for life sciences companies, clinical research organizations, and government health authorities worldwide. Its cloud solution, LifeSphere, streamlines research and development, compliance, and collaboration, thereby bringing safer products to market.
Benefits of AWS
- Migrated more than 100 TB of database workloads
- Reduced database hits by 50%
- Improved uptime and performance
- Reduced costs
- Reduces troubleshooting time from 35-45 minutes to seconds
- Automates deployments in minutes compared to manual deployments of 5-6 hours
- Maintains customer compliance with industry regulations
AWS Services Used
Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud.
Amazon Elasticsearch Service
Amazon Elasticsearch Service is a fully managed service that makes it easy for you to deploy, secure, and run Elasticsearch cost effectively at scale.
Amazon ElastiCache for Redis
Amazon ElastiCache for Redis is a blazing fast in-memory data store that provides sub-millisecond latency to power internet-scale real-time applications.
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