Nuix Sheds New Light on eDiscovery with AWS
Finding Truth in a Digital World
In countries across the world, a rising number of civil cases are filed each year, and electronic discovery (eDiscovery) is becoming an important consideration in legal proceedings. The proportion of business records stored electronically is likewise expanding exponentially, creating a hefty workload for digital data that must be processed for discovery and presentation quickly.
Nuix is an Australian software vendor whose mission is “finding truth in a digital world.” Its products transform raw data into meaningful insights for more than 2,000 clients in 75 countries. Intelligence agencies, law enforcement bodies, governments, legal firms, and corporations make up its expanding client base. The company acquired the Ringtail eDiscovery platform from FTI Consulting in 2018 and rebranded it as Nuix Discover in 2019.
We have significantly improved our development and innovation cycle by having our product on the AWS Cloud.”
Global Head of Technical Services, Nuix
Phasing Out Data Centers
After the acquisition, Nuix elected to run the eDiscovery platform on Amazon Web Services (AWS) because it already had a good relationship with AWS for some of its smaller workloads.
“We chose AWS due to the well-rounded support provided,” says Rolf Krolke, global head of Technical Services at Nuix. The company currently maintains data centers around the world, but Krolke says the long-term plan includes moving a majority of workloads onto the AWS Cloud. The business will shutter all but two of its data centers, which will be used as network and communication hubs and as direct connects from Nuix to AWS in Sydney and Washington, D.C. Migrating to the cloud will primarily optimize costs but will also give Nuix and Nuix Authorized Partners, joined through the Nuix Partner Connect network, the ability to offer customers Nuix Discover as an on-premises, cloud, or hybrid software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.
To commence migration, Nuix subscribed to AWS Enterprise Support, both as a technical resource and for guidance on how to improve Nuix Discover. Response times have typically been under 15 minutes when an issue occurs. A hard deadline for migration was set at 12 months, and teams began looking for ways to improve the eDiscovery offering. They added AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) and AWS Identity and Access Management (AWS IAM) to bolster security and set up AWS Auto Scaling for data ingestion and the web front end of Nuix Discover. This provides both the security and scalability needed to serve large accounts and a growing customer base at speed.
New Regions Added in One Week
To accommodate rising customer demand, Nuix added two new AWS Regions, AWS EU (London) and AWS Asia Pacific (Sydney). Although establishing each new region in just one week was outside the original scope of the project, teams were able to do so thanks to AWS CloudFormation templates.
“We’ve continued to automate the process, so it now takes just a couple of hours to set up a new region on AWS,” Krolke explains. “Setting up AWS Regions was much more cost-effective than our former capital expenditure–heavy approach, which involved procuring servers and establishing local data centers. With AWS, Nuix can start small and expand as our customers grow.” The company now operates out of Singapore and the UK in addition to Australia and New Zealand.
Customer Base Doubles in One Year
Despite adding two new AWS regions, Nuix beat its original migration timeline by six weeks. Its Nuix Discover customer base also increased by 100 percent during migration, and several of its largest customers almost doubled their data under management at the same time. “We managed to migrate the full platform ahead of schedule while growing and improving Nuix Discover, which is quite impressive,” Krolke comments.
Nuix uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) M5 instances for many of its large customers. However, Krolke emphasizes that no two cases are the same even for the same client, which is another reason a cloud architecture makes sense.
“We can change instance types and scale the platform on the fly to respond to customers’ daily demands, which we could never do with our on-premises data center,” he says. Speed is vital because customers are pushing all types of data through the Nuix engine, including terabyte-sized multimedia and email database files. Even with exponentially growing datasets, Nuix has maintained 99.99 percent uptime on the AWS Cloud. “No matter how many users there are on the platform, we continue to scale out our services to ensure users are not experiencing network latency,” says Krolke.
Improved Innovation Cycle
One of the improvements to Nuix Discover is the inclusion of core functionalities that many of its biggest customers were previously customizing for their use cases in the on-premises version of the product. “Essentially, we’ve been able to incorporate a lot of their custom workflows into the actual product and deploy that to the AWS Cloud over nine weeks,” Krolke says. “This process would have taken three to four months on premises. Because we were able to get feedback from customers in real time and change the code right away, we have significantly improved our development and innovation cycle by having our product on the AWS Cloud.”
Nuix has also automated patching for all its Windows and Linux applications, using the AWS Management Console. “We can patch the whole environment in about 45 minutes a week, whereas we previously had a 4-hour maintenance window with downtime,” Krolke says. In addition, automated patching has improved resource utilization, with just four infrastructure engineers managing the patching for Nuix’s global operations.
Opening New Doors in Government Bodies
Since beginning the SaaS migration, Nuix’s management has been doing a lot of compliance work with the help of AWS representatives. It is now implementing AWS GovCloud (US) Regions to become an authorized vendor under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). “AWS is opening doors in areas we probably didn’t think about, especially in government bodies, because a lot of governments around the world have a cloud-first initiative running,” Krolke says. Nuix is likewise seeking Information Security Registered Assessors Program (IRAP) accreditation to conduct business with federal agencies in Australia.
With migration completed as of September 2019, the company is entering phase two of its AWS journey. It has completed the first of three rounds of cost optimization and is looking to shift to more AWS-native services for security, storage, and even machine learning. “To set an industry benchmark for processing data on the cloud, we’re exploring how we can process different amounts of data on various instance types,” Krolke shares. “With AWS, we are always looking at how we can make sure we’re giving our customers the latest and greatest technology.”
To learn more, visit AWS Management and Governance.
Nuix creates innovative software that empowers organizations in 70 countries to analyze exponentially large datasets for litigation, governance, risk, and compliance. Its products help customers such as national intelligence agencies and leading corporations transform data into actionable intelligence.
Benefits of AWS
- Maintains an SLA of 99.99% uptime
- Patches global system in 45 minutes per week, down from 4 hours on premises
- Adds new regions in 1 week or less using automated templates
- Opens new doors for business with national governments
- Improves development and innovation cycle with real-time feedback
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