- Nicobar needed a highly available and scalable infrastructure to operate effectively and manage growth
- The company is running its Microsoft Dynamics NAV environment on the AWS Cloud
- Increases availability of Microsoft Dynamics NAV to 99.99% and reduces IT costs of its ERP solution by 10%
- Focuses 80% of resources on development
- Ensures scalability to support company growth and establishes trusted architecture to support future migrations from on premises to the cloud
Nicobar retails household furnishings as well as apparel for men and women who are inspired by contemporary Indian culture and designs. The company, which is owned by a major Indian conglomerate, is aimed at young, aspiring Indians who regularly shop online. Nicobar adopts a multi-channel sales strategy that include the Nicobar website and eight physical stores across India.
Nicobar was almost 100 percent cloud-based at the time of its launch in 2016. All key applications except for the company’s Microsoft Dynamics NAV enterprise resource planning (ERP) system were running on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Dynamics NAV ran on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, which Nicobar believed would help maximize the performance of its business-critical ERP solution.
From the beginning, however, there were challenges with the Microsoft Azure platform. “I don’t think we ever achieved 90 percent availability for our Microsoft Dynamics NAV environment, when the business required 99 percent uptime to operate effectively,” says Dinesh Joshi, head of IT for Nicobar. “On top of that, we were never able to find out exactly why availability was so low and how to fix the problem.”
Besides increasing the availability of the ERP solution, Nicobar wanted to ensure that any alternative cloud platform was simple to manage and scale. “Nicobar is a young, growing business,” says Joshi. “We have a small IT staff, and the last thing we wanted to do was add more management resources. We wanted to keep our infrastructure-management costs as low as possible while ensuring the platform could scale easily enough for growth in the coming years.”
Nicobar engaged AWS to move the Dynamic NAV environment to the AWS Cloud. AWS connected Joshi and his IT colleagues with Umbrella Infocare, an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Consulting Partner, to help deliver the ERP migration. “We already knew about the great value of the AWS Partner Network from our previous involvement with AWS, so we were confident we would have a smooth migration,” says Joshi. “Umbrella Infocare had also reliably deployed ERP systems on AWS in the past, following a tried-and-tested migration structure. It was a very professional engagement.”
The migration finished on schedule, enabling Nicobar staff to reliably access the ERP system across the AWS Cloud. Today, about 90 employees connect to the Dynamics NAV environment running on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. Nicobar relies on Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for PostgreSQL to provide database services for the ERP application and to store a wide range of data, including information on products, customers, and suppliers. It takes advantage of Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) as a repository for application data and Amazon CloudFront as the content delivery web service. “AWS recommended that we start using AWS Lambda as a highly cost-effective way to support not only our ERP system but other applications that run on AWS,” says Joshi. “The reliability of AWS Lambda is excellent and we are using it to manage compute resources in response to customer inquiries, particularly on the Nicobar website.”
After deploying Dynamic NAV on AWS, Nicobar has increased the availability for the ERP solution. “On AWS, Microsoft Dynamics NAV runs at 99.99 percent availability,” says Joshi. “We no longer worry about downtime and we know crucial business operations—such as invoicing and billing—will not be disrupted.” Nicobar has also reduced the costs of its ERP environment by moving away from the Microsoft SQL Server database it had on Microsoft Azure to an open-source PostgreSQL database on AWS. Says Joshi, “We have lowered our ERP costs by about 10 percent through engaging with AWS and adopting Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL.”
Nicobar saw no increase in its IT management costs when it moved its ERP system from Microsoft Azure to AWS. “Using AWS, we ensure that at least 80 percent of our IT resources are focused on development. AWS is helping us to keep our costs as low as possible,” comments Joshi. Furthermore, the AWS Cloud provides the scalability to support growth at Nicobar for years to come. Joshi says, “We’re a young and growing company, appealing to a growing number of consumers in India who are identifying with their Indian heritage through clothes and furnishings. With our IT running on AWS, we easily scale our operations to meet this demand without concerns of capacity or IT refresh cycles.”
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