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Carrier Fuels Product Development on AWS, Reduces Infrastructure Costs by 45–50%

When Carrier Global (Carrier), a global provider of sustainable home, building, and refrigeration solutions, spun off in early 2020 from its parent company, United Technologies Corporation, it saw an opportunity for a much-needed digital transformation. To that end, Carrier began migrating from its monolithic legacy systems to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and rolling out efforts to modernize existing applications.
Migrating to the cloud presented new opportunities, such as designing connected homes and healthy buildings—previously untapped areas. Carrier’s plans now include advancing cold chain management and building a technological environment for residential and commercial environments. Just 1 year into Carrier’s 3-year migration and modernization plan, its use of AWS is already enabling innovation, resiliency, agility, and readiness for the future.
Picture of refrigerated trucks being unloaded

Amazon AppStream 2.0 stays up to date. AWS takes care of the infrastructure, and we don’t have to worry about accumulating technical debt.”

Adnan Haq
Executive Director, Carrier Global

Independence Leads to Opportunity

Founded in 1915 by Willis Carrier, the inventor of modern air conditioning, Carrier provides sustainable building and refrigeration solutions for commercial and residential customers and has a significant presence in fire and security. “Many leading brands use Carrier products,” says Adnan Haq, executive director of Carrier. “For example, when you use an electronic key to unlock your room at a participating Hilton Hotel, that’s a Carrier system.” Today, the Florida-based multibillion-dollar company has over 50,000 employees and serves customers in 160 countries on six continents.

Before Carrier’s separation from United Technologies Corporation, it was running over 6,000 application servers, 4,000 of which were on-premises data centers spread worldwide. But this legacy architecture was slow, expensive, and difficult to scale. As part of its divestiture, a 1-year service agreement gave Carrier time to untangle from its former parent company’s infrastructure. This provided the catalyst for fast-paced cloud adoption.

“We wanted to do things the right way from the start,” says Haq. “We didn’t move to the cloud just to exit our data centers; we wanted to enable digital transformation.” Haq’s team members felt AWS would best meet their needs. “AWS offers 150-plus services and minimal downtime, and AWS services are designed for high resiliency and redundancy,” Haq says. “AWS continues to reinvent its product line, and that helps with the transformation work we’re doing.”

Resolving not to move any technical debt to AWS, Carrier chose to set minimum architectural benchmarks for every application it migrated. Haq’s team began designing customized, fully automated solutions on AWS in January 2020 and now has eight spanning the globe—one each in Germany, Ireland, Hong Kong, and Singapore and two each in North America and China. Workload migration began in June 2020. “To date, we have remediated roughly 1,300 servers,” says Haq. “We migrated most of them to the cloud, but the elasticity provided by AWS enabled us to retire over 400 servers’ worth of workloads—a direct cost savings worth millions.”

Because the migration efforts emphasized modernization, Carrier completely overhauled many of its workloads or rebuilt them from scratch. “There was a lot of benefit from that,” says Haq. “Product development and innovation began to spread across the team.” Carrier plans to use an updated cold chain management solution built on AWS to help distribute COVID-19 vaccines, supporting Carrier’s mission to benefit the communities it serves.

AWS Migration Drives Innovation

Carrier used Amazon AppStream 2.0, a fully managed nonpersistent application and desktop streaming service, to replace its server farms. Some of Carrier’s most critical workloads now run on Amazon AppStream 2.0, including its payroll processes. “Amazon AppStream 2.0 stays up to date,” says Haq. “AWS takes care of the infrastructure, and we don’t have to worry about accumulating technical debt.” Instead, Haq’s team can focus on building solutions and standardizing architectural patterns to accelerate new product development.

By using Amazon Aurora, a MySQL- and PostgreSQL-compatible relational database built for the cloud, and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), which makes it simple to set up, operate, and scale a relational database, Carrier implemented a self-service development model by which its engineers from around the world can self-provision infrastructure as needed. It previously took 35 days for engineers to provision infrastructure. Now those engineers have access in 30 minutes without even needing to submit a request, which has been a boon to employee morale. Additional opportunities to upskill and innovate have also contributed to a positive and productive work environment at Carrier.

“We’ve seen a 45–50 percent reduction in the cost of infrastructure that we have migrated to AWS,” says Haq. Some of that savings comes from the ability to reduce total infrastructure by 20 percent.

Carrier has also seen security benefits from the digital transformation, in part because of the economy of scale. “As a large cloud service provider, AWS is constantly monitoring, managing, and pushing back hackers or cybercriminals,” says Haq. The digital transformation itself also yielded security benefits. “Modernization automatically secures our workload because newer technologies have better security profiles,” says Haq.

Real-time forecasting keeps Carrier’s customers happier. “We collect data from our devices and plan to apply machine learning algorithms to find customer patterns,” Haq explains. This will help the company improve products, assist customers directly, and predict and resolve problems before they happen.

Migration Enables Modernization

One-third of its way into its migration, Carrier has plans to consolidate and migrate the majority of its critical systems to AWS in 36 months. It plans to focus on modernizing these systems in the process.

In March 2021 Carrier held a hackathon to motivate innovation, upscale resources, and further solidify the company’s move toward cloud-native technologies. “The real benefits of the cloud come with the momentum that you build,” says Haq. “We are bringing out products that are not yet available in the market and seeing transformation in our product line, better ways of doing things, resiliency, and high availability—all things that are more expensive and difficult to achieve on premises than on an advanced cloud service provider like AWS.”

About Carrier

Carrier Global is a provider of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems as well as solutions for refrigeration, fire, and security. Originally founded in 1915, the Florida-based company serves customers in 160 countries on six continents.

Benefits of AWS

  • Reduced technical debt
  • Reduced total infrastructure by 20%
  • Enabled employees to self-provision infrastructure
  • Reduced infrastructure provisioning time from 35 days to 30 minutes
  • Reduced infrastructure costs by 45–50%
  • Increased security
  • Improved employee morale
  • Enabled innovation

AWS Services Used

Amazon AppStream 2.0

Amazon AppStream 2.0 is a fully managed non-persistent desktop and application virtualization service that allows your users to securely access the data, applications, and resources they need, anywhere, anytime, from any supported device.

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Amazon Aurora

Amazon Aurora is a MySQL and PostgreSQL-compatible relational database built for the cloud, that combines the performance and availability of traditional enterprise databases with the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of open source databases.

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Amazon RDS

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

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