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Cando Uses AWS to Streamline IoT Data Processing, Help Rail Customers Improve Operational Visibility

2021

For more than 42 years, Cando Rail Services has provided specialized rail solutions and support services to railways and industrial customers across North America. Today, Cando has the ability to design, build, operate, and finance rail terminals and infrastructure, optimizing supply chains for its customers.

To help the rail industry modernize rail car tracking and shipments, Cando recently developed Quasar, a platform for supply chain optimization that is powered by the Internet of Things (IoT) and runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Quasar is designed to improve visibility into the rail supply chain by eliminating manual tracking supported by outdated technology. “The rail industry uses 1980s technology to track where rail cars are, which is no longer very effective. We need real-time visibility to optimize car tracking,” says Corrie Banks, director of logistics for Cando. “Quasar brings together IoT data from sensors on cars with industry reference files, so rail companies can optimize their supply chains by improving visibility.”

Recently, Cando realized it needed to more efficiently process sensor data and improve database issues that caused system outages. “We can’t afford outages because rail is a 24/7 industry,” Banks says. “If our system went down completely, our largest customers wouldn’t know where their trains were. That could cost them a large amount of money in missed freight delivery.” Cando also wanted the ability to automatically scale Quasar. “There are millions of rail cars in North America, and we need to process millions of data points very quickly,” Banks adds.

Cando Rail Services
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AWS helps us grow our Quasar environment and integrate all the IoT data coming from different sources, and then create a rich data set for our customers.”

Corrie Banks
Director of Logistics, Cando Rail Services

Adopting Serverless Technology and Enabling Automation

To meet its database and automatic scaling requirements, Cando reached out to Onica, a Rackspace Technology company, an AWS Premier Consulting Partner, for assistance. “Onica had the AWS expertise we sought, and they are a Canadian company, which matters to us,” Banks says. “I was also impressed by how they structure their support services.”

Cando worked with Onica to adopt a serverless solution, deviating from the existing multi-account AWS approach, to increase scalability and lower costs through automation and optimization. The new solution takes advantage of AWS serverless services such as AWS Lambda and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS).

In addition, Cando implemented continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) best practices for software development and deployment. Cando is also enhancing the security of its environment by consolidating different monitoring applications and using AWS services such as AWS Certificate Manager to provision and manage Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols. “By following AWS architectural best practices for security along with our own internal security processes, we are in a better position in terms of protecting our applications and data,” says Banks.

Processing Millions of Data Points Daily, Helping Rail Customers Improve Visibility

Using its AWS serverless solution, Cando can more easily and quickly scale its Quasar application environment to aggregate and process millions of data points every day. As a result, Cando can support its customers’ increasingly large data volumes while improving visibility. “AWS helps us grow our Quasar environment and integrate all the IoT data coming from different sources, and then create a rich data set for our customers,” says Banks. “Using this data, customers can identify opportunities for optimization and visibility into their supply chains.”

Deploying Applications in Days Rather Than Months

Thanks to AWS and Onica, Cando has accelerated its application deployment time by moving to a serverless model and adopting a CI/CD approach. Leveraging infrastructure-as-code and automation, Cando developers can roll out new Quasar features and enhancements to customers faster than before. “We can spin up new resources in minutes by reusing the existing serverless infrastructure components, and our developers can push out new application features in a few days rather than the weeks or months it might take previously,” says Banks. “From a business perspective, that saves us a lot of time and makes us incredibly responsive to our customers.”

Cutting Operational Costs

By relying on its serverless infrastructure, Cando is also seeing operational cost savings. “Using AWS, we don’t have to prepay for compute and storage, which is a huge benefit,” says Banks. “Also, we spend a lot less money on development and rebuilding the same tools over and over.” By lowering operational costs, the company is now poised to acquire multiple larger rail shipper customers in the future.

Cando is currently exploring additional AWS technologies to facilitate automation and cost optimization. “We know we will find new AWS services we can trust to do what we need,” says Banks. “I have confidence that AWS will continue to help us move the business forward while reducing costs and enabling innovation.”

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Cando recently developed Quasar, a platform for supply chain optimization that is powered by the Internet of Things (IoT) and runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

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Using its AWS serverless solution, Cando can more easily and quickly scale its Quasar application environment to aggregate and process millions of data points every day.


About Cando Rail Services

Based in Manitoba, Canada, Cando Rail Services provides specialized rail support services that help connect industrial customers with Class I railroads. Cando offers Quasar, an end-to-end supply chain optimization platform that enables the management and cost control of the supply chain for shippers.

Benefits of AWS

  • Processes millions of data points each day
  • Helps railways and shippers improve supply chain visibility
  • Deploys applications in days rather than months
  • Lowers operational costs

AWS Services Used

AWS Lambda

AWS Lambda lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers. You pay only for the compute time you consume.



Amazon RDS

Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud.



AWS Certificate Manager

AWS Certificate Manager is a service that lets you easily provision, manage, and deploy public and private Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) certificates for use with AWS services and your internal connected resources.


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