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Maxeon Solar Technologies Accelerates Sustainable Innovation by Migrating 207 Servers to AWS

2022

Sustainability is an oft-debated topic in the private sector, but the concept can take on various applications in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. The United Nations has developed the UN Global Compact, encompassing its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, to guide the work of companies dedicated to environmental, social, and corporate governance.

Maxeon Solar Technologies (Maxeon) is one of more than 15,000 companies that have signed on to the UN Global Compact, with the goal of Powering Positive Change™ in the communities they serve. The organization designs, manufactures, and sells industry-leading solar cells and panels in more than 100 countries, with a strong presence in Asia and Europe.  

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Migrating to the AWS Cloud is the first step towards introducing more digital platforms. I cannot imagine doing this in house. It would take a lot more time and money, and I’m not even sure we could do it all ourselves. I’ve become a strong advocate for AWS.”

Robert Tan
Head of Global Infrastructure, Maxeon Solar Technologies

Facing a Tight 6-Month Timeline for Cross-Continent Migration

Following the spin-off from SunPower Corporation, Maxeon faced a tight six-month timeline to separate its IT infrastructure from its former parent company. Until then, Maxeon had shared an on-premises data center with SunPower in the US for most mission-critical applications, including enterprise resource planning software and Oracle databases. The joint businesses had some small workloads running on Amazon Web Services (AWS), such as a web-based metering application for customers to check their power consumption.

Rather than building a new data center in Singapore—its headquarters post-spinoff—Maxeon elected to migrate all on-premises workloads to AWS. “We decided on the AWS Cloud for more flexibility and functionality,” says Robert Tan, head of Global Infrastructure at Maxeon Solar Technologies.

The move to AWS also aligned with Maxeon’s sustainability objectives. Lindsey Wiedmann, chief legal officer and global ESG executive leader at Maxeon Solar Technologies, said in a recent report, “We continue to push the boundaries of innovation to create a better future for our planet. With the support of AWS and the power of cloud computing, we’re better able to achieve our business goals in a sustainable way. Leveraging AWS’s operational efficiency, reliability, and security to drive faster innovation in solar.”

Choosing the Provider with Strongest Support and Lowest TCO

Maxeon performed a thorough total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis comparing public clouds before deciding on AWS. The support offered by the AWS team stood out, as did the cost. AWS presented the AWS Migration Acceleration Program to assist Maxeon with migration. As part of the program, it offered AWS investments in the form of AWS service credits to offset one-time migration expenses.

“AWS was very keen on having Maxeon as a customer and provided a lot of information around the nuances of enterprise cloud migration, taking the time to understand our requirements and pain points. The account team and solutions architects, alongside the ease of support, were major factors in our decision,” adds Tan.  

Migrating 207 Servers and 73 Applications in Five Months

The AWS team recommended Blazeclan, an AWS Partner, to assist with the migration, based on their expertise in enterprise cloud migrations. Blazeclan also has a team member specializing in Oracle migrations, which was important as Maxeon uses Oracle as an integrated component supporting its global manufacturing systems.

Blazeclan assisted Maxeon in migrating 207 servers, 73 applications, and 3 environments—development, UAT, and production—to AWS within five months. In total, more than 200 TB were migrated from Maxeon’s on-premises data center in the US to the AWS Asia Pacific (Singapore) Region. A lift-and-shift approach resulted in no business disruption during the migration process, despite an expansion in the project scope—from an 8 TB Oracle database to 16 TB—close to its planned completion date.

Thanks to the elasticity of compute in the AWS Cloud, Blazeclan could quickly adjust Maxeon’s database specifications. Maxeon runs its Oracle database on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) with Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) storage volumes. It’s also running SQL Server databases on Amazon EC2 and uses Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for cost-effective long-term data storage from its manufacturing systems.  

Building Stable, Cost-Optimized Systems

Since migrating to the AWS Cloud, Maxeon continues to enhance the stability of its systems by leveraging multi-AZ architecture for built-in redundancy. Tan and his team are also learning to balance cost versus performance in the cloud, which differs from previous database practices on premises. The organization conducts ongoing cost-optimization exercises with AWS to reduce database spending. It uses AWS Cost Explorer tool to monitor spending and relies on AWS Business Support to consult on a range of topics based on its evolving business strategy.  

Spinning Up Instances Flexibly

Maxeon is currently upgrading its Oracle databases, a project that took two months in its AWS environment. The flexibility to bring up or turn off server instances with the click of a button has accelerated project delivery on AWS. Additionally, the ease of working with external partners and tools in a secure fashion on AWS facilitated time to market for this initiative and others.

“We were able to conduct a proof of concept (POC) and give our partner secure access to our system to turn things around extremely quickly. If we were to perform this upgrade internally using our on-premises resources, it would’ve taken 50 percent longer,” Tan explains.

Exploring a Data Warehouse and RPA

Access to modern tools and third-party applications via the AWS Marketplace is likewise supporting fast POCs and innovation in the cloud. Maxeon is now exploring with Blazeclan how to consolidate its factory and production data into a data warehouse. Use cases envisioned include process improvements to boost product yield. It’s also exploring implementing robotic process automation (RPA) to reduce manual workload for accounts receivable and accounts payable reconciliation.

“Migrating to the AWS Cloud is the first step towards introducing more digital platforms. I cannot imagine doing this in house. It would take a lot more time and money, and I’m not even sure we could do it all ourselves. I’ve become a strong advocate for AWS,” Tan concludes.  

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About Maxeon Solar Technologies

Maxeon designs, manufactures, and sells industry-leading solar panels in over 100 countries to residential, commercial, and power plant customers through a network of +1,400 partners and distributors. Pioneering sustainable manufacturing, Maxeon leverages a 35-year history in the solar industry.

Benefits of AWS

  • Migrates 207 servers, 73 applications, and 3 environments in 5 months
  • Halves time to run POCs and launch new projects
  • Increases stability with multi-AZ architecture
  • Gives partners and third-party vendors secure system access
  • Facilitates new digital projects including data warehouse and RPA
  • Aligns with corporate sustainability goals

AWS Services Used

Amazon EC2

Secure and resizable compute capacity for virtually any workload.

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Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS)

Easy to use, high performance block storage at any scale.

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Amazon S3

Object storage built to retrieve any amount of data from anywhere.

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AWS Marketplace

Find, test, buy, and deploy software that runs on AWS.

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