Companies around the world depend on the software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions of BMC Software (BMC) to gain near-real-time insights into the flow of data, identify anomalies, and orchestrate applications. Customers run hundreds of thousands of transactions per minute on BMC Helix (Helix), the company’s SaaS solution, using highly customizable configurations on premises and in the cloud.
In 2022, BMC chose to migrate Helix to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and modernize it to deliver cost efficiency, higher performance and improved reliability for its customers. With the support of Amazon Database Migration Accelerator (Amazon DMA), which helps companies accelerate their database migrations to AWS, BMC achieved its migration goals one year sooner than had BMC migrated by itself. Now, BMC can operate a large fleet of databases efficiently while meeting the needs of its customers.
Opportunity | Using Amazon Aurora to Save Costs and Improve Productivity for BMC
BMC provides a variety of automation, operations, and service management solutions to enterprise organizations around the world. With a focus on improving customer productivity and efficiency, BMC offers significant flexibility in how its customers configure and manage their databases. In the early stages of building Helix, the company ran its own data centers and servers. But that system could not keep up with the company’s growth and desire to deliver the best service possible. “We wanted to focus more on our core competency, which is building IT service management products, not maintaining data centers,” says Venky Ravipati, head of SaaS operations and the database and service teams at BMC. And with its focus on customizability, each customer deployment was like a different application, which made it difficult to scale. In addition, the company had to do all its operational work manually, managing access to both the primary and standby databases for individual customers as they needed it. “That led to humongous infrastructure crawl,” says Ravipati.
BMC needed to modernize hundreds of databases to be more available, automated, and cost efficient—a significant undertaking. The company realized that it could achieve significant cost savings and improve productivity by migrating from Microsoft SQL Server to Amazon Aurora, a service designed for unparalleled high performance and availability at a global scale with full MySQL and PostgreSQL compatibility. The migration to AWS was an obvious choice for several reasons, including BMC’s 8 years of satisfaction using AWS services. The company also considered AWS a trusted service provider in helping it design for growth, and many of BMC’s customers used AWS and wanted BMC to adopt the latest technologies. But it needed to do so efficiently. “Manually migrating 700 database instances within our timeline would have been impossible,” says Ravipati. To optimize the process, BMC engaged Amazon DMA for its expertise in database migrations to AWS. “I never imagined we’d get this level of support,” says Ravipati. “Through 18 rounds of performance testing, Amazon DMA team members never blinked an eye as they helped us build workloads that would scale and perform better than our previous ones.”
Without those automations, we could not have migrated customers so quickly. It would’ve taken one year longer without the support of the Amazon DMA team.”
Head of SaaS Operations and the Database and Service Teams, BMC Software
Solution | Accelerating a Cloud Migration Using Amazon DMA
BMC used Amazon DMA to build automations that supported modernization across hundreds of databases. The system took 3 months to build and 2 weeks to deploy to the first 105 customers. “Without those automations, we could not have migrated customers so quickly,” says Ravipati. “It would’ve taken one year longer without the support of the Amazon DMA team.” As BMC migrated its database servers to Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL-Compatible Edition, it began to see immediate performance improvements in Helix. “Throughput has drastically improved for our customers,” says Ravipati. “And we are able to provide a more stable customer experience.”
One of the most significant improvements was the reduction in manual work. “If a primary database went down, it used to require manual intervention to switch to the secondary,” says Ravipati. “Now, on Amazon Aurora, we don’t need to do that. If the primary goes down, it’ll seamlessly reload to the read replica.” Improved availability has saved BMC customers from a tremendous amount of downtime. Previously, an outage would result in at least an hour of downtime. On AWS, BMC experiences only a few seconds of downtime during automated failover. In 2021, BMC’s customers experienced 70 percent fewer outages compared to the previous year. And in 2022, the company experienced no outages.
BMC runs its cloud workloads on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), which provides secure and resizable compute capacity to support virtually any workload. The company is using AWS Graviton processors, which are designed by AWS to deliver optimal price performance for cloud workloads running in Amazon EC2, to make its infrastructure even more scalable. More specifically, it’s using AWS Graviton2 processors to power many of its compute environments. “Now, all these scaling tasks go to a separate read replica, which was not possible before,” says Ravipati. Even better, BMC can do this with very little work using the automations that it built with support from the Amazon DMA team. “We scale well and serve our customers better,” adds Ravipati.
BMC engineering teams, operating around the world, used to spend a considerable amount of time working in shifts to solve performance and scaling issues. Now, using fully managed Amazon Aurora, these teams spend a fraction of their time on maintenance. “Database performance is a key benefit of our IDSM stack,” says Ravipati. “Using Amazon Aurora brought stability, performance, and scalability, so we no longer have to worry about those.” Further, BMC improved database team productivity by 60–70 percent, reduced AWS infrastructure costs by 42 percent, and had additional significant cost savings by no longer paying SQL Server licensing fees. The enhancements to performance and availability that BMC achieved on AWS have improved customer adoption and increased revenue for Helix. “We are seeing a lot of traction for the new architecture,” says Ravipati. “We’re anticipating huge growth potential.”
Outcome | Enhancing the Customer Experience with Better Agility
By June 2022, BMC had 175 existing customers running on Amazon Aurora. It provisions all new Helix customers on AWS using the automations built by Amazon DMA. As the next phase of its transformation, the company is continuing to migrate existing applications and incrementally adopt serverless technology.
After already gaining substantial performance and reliability improvements, this will further reduce the cost of scaling on demand. “In terms of both performance and cost, using AWS is a slam dunk,” says Ravipati.
About BMC Software
BMC Software is a provider of flexible automation, operations, and service management solutions to help enterprise organizations around the world save time and space on infrastructure. Based in the United States, it works with 86 percent of the Forbes Global 50.
AWS Services Used
Amazon Database Migration Accelerator (Amazon DMA)
Amazon Database Migration Accelerator (DMA) is a solution that brings together AWS Database Migration Service (DMS), AWS Schema Conversion Tool (SCT), and AWS database experts to help customers migrate away from traditional commercial databases at fixed prices.
Amazon Aurora is a PostgreSQL and MySQL compatible relational database built for the cloud to offer unparalleled availability and performance at global scale.
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) offers the broadest and deepest compute platform, with over 500 instances and choice of the latest processor, storage, networking, operating system, and purchase model to help you best match the needs of your workload.
AWS Graviton processor
AWS Graviton processors are designed by AWS to deliver the best price performance for your cloud workloads running in Amazon EC2.
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