Shine Technologies is a boutique IT consultancy that specializes in custom software solutions and support for medium and large enterprises. Formed in 1998 in Melbourne, Australia, Shine is a leading provider of software development services to the energy, telecommunications, finance and retail industries.

Shine developed two specialized billing applications for the utilities industry—Network Billing Validation (NBV) and Network Billing Management (NBM). The company found that it was very expensive for their large enterprise customers to run these mission-critical, Oracle-based applications on their on-premises infrastructure. The Shine team wanted to offer their applications as a cloud-based service but needed to find a cloud service provider robust enough to support Shine’s Oracle database. As Adam Kierce, Principal and co-founder of Shine explains, “We needed to be able to port a massive, expensive, and highly tuned Oracle database with zero or low impact. It was the absence of such a service that prevented us from moving in the past.”

For Shine, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for Oracle Database removed the hurdle that the company faced in moving its traditional architecture to the cloud. Shine chose Amazon Web Services (AWS) because Amazon RDS would make it easy for the company to set up, operate, and scale its relational database. “Our Oracle database is ten years old and Amazon RDS is a key transformational tool for moving older, legacy applications to the cloud,” says Kierce. “The hardest part is establishing reliable, protected, and backed-up databases that can handle performance and size. Amazon RDS makes all of this incredibly simple, and at very low prices.”

Shine began the migration process by moving the NBV application to the AWS Cloud. Figure 1 below illustrates the infrastructure architecture used by Shine: Amazon RDS for Oracle Database serves as principal storage for the NBV application while multiple Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances within an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) run the application and batch processing.

Shine Technologies architecture diagram

Figure 1: Shine Technologies Architecture Diagram

“The advantage of using AWS is that the entire technology stack of our legacy application remains unchanged,” Kierce continues. “We ported all the heavy lifting to the AWS Cloud. Even the user interface and experience remained unchanged.”

Shine is using Multi-Availability Zone (Multi-AZ) deployments and database snapshots with Amazon RDS to streamline replication and backups. Shine describes Amazon RDS Provisioned IOPS as "simply amazing," because it is optimized for input/output (I/O)–intensive workloads that demand thousands of I/O operations per second (IOPS). “Amazon RDS Provisioned IOPS is a perfect match for the large-scale requirements of our electricity and gas clients,” say Kierce. "With a few clicks on the AWS Management Console, we can provision the appropriate IOPS for our database instance and scale it easily.”

“Multi-AZ deployments of Amazon RDS provide built-in synchronous replication and automatic fail-over, so we can run our mission critical workloads with high availability. This puts us in a fantastic position to move our clients away from on-premises hardware and onto our cloud-based service using AWS,” Kierce declares. Shine estimates that running its applications on AWS and Amazon RDS for Oracle Database will result in a 50 percent cost savings over a 3-year period compared to its prior architecture.

After moving its NBV application to AWS, Shine conducted a speed test on one of its client’s primary processes. Previously, processing time with an on-premises infrastructure was about 96 hours. Test results revealed that by using AWS, Shine was able to reduce processing time for this task from 96 hours to 24 hours. “The biggest contributor to that speed is Amazon RDS for Oracle Database and in particular, Amazon RDS Provisioned IOPS. The increased throughput makes it very simple to deploy I/O heavy workloads on Amazon RDS,” Kierce says. With the success of the NBV migration, the Shine team plans to use the same architecture to port its NBM applications to AWS, which they plan to have ready for customers in early 2013.

“I’ve been an Oracle database administrator since Oracle 7,” Kierce says. “I consider Amazon RDS for Oracle Database a technological miracle. I am incredibly thankful for the expertise of AWS. We see a brave new world for our ten-year-old application on the AWS Cloud. Thank you, AWS, for helping to enable our innovation.”

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