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Thomson Reuters Implements Disaster Recovery for 300 Servers in Less than 10 Months on AWS

2021

Global news and information provider Thomson Reuters wanted to improve data protection and application recovery for one of its business units by moving its disaster recovery (DR) site to the cloud. Before 2020, the business unit, ONESOURCE Global Trade Management (ONESOURCE GTM), had a time-consuming, manual DR process in place that required a full team of engineers to manage two separate on-premises data centers, and it did not provide the data protection and recovery times the company wanted. 

In the fall of 2020, Thomson Reuters looked for a solution using Amazon Web Services (AWS) and began working alongside Capgemini, an AWS Partner, to adopt AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery (CloudEndure Disaster Recovery), which minimizes downtime and data loss with fast, reliable recovery of on-premises and cloud-based applications using affordable storage, minimal compute, and point-in-time recovery. In less than 10 months, ONESOURCE GTM and Capgemini implemented the new DR solution on 300 servers. By working on the cloud and automating its DR process, the business unit has streamlined its team’s workflow and eliminated the need to provision duplicate resources. Moreover, it has reduced its recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) while bolstering security and compliance.

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Using AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery has made our DR process more redundant and reliable. We know that everything is ready to go."

Anna Rushing
Senior Project Manager, Thomson Reuters

Looking for Automation and Reliability on AWS

Headquartered in Canada, Thomson Reuters is an international media company that provides solutions for tax, law, media, and government to its clients in over 100 countries. Thomson Reuters established the business unit ONESOURCE GTM after acquiring the software company Integration Point in 2018. The acquired business unit helps companies meet compliance for their imports and exports through its proprietary software.

To store and process its large amount of data, the business unit uses an on-premises data center, which comprises over 300 servers. Before setting up a DR site in the cloud, it relied on a second nearby data center and replicated its full stack on tapes. “Our DR process was manual,” says Anna Rushing, senior project manager at Thomson Reuters. The process required a significant number of resources, and staff had to travel to the secondary data center to retrieve the correct tapes if a DR event occurred. The company wanted to improve and automate its business unit’s DR so that it could replicate and recover its workloads to achieve faster recovery and minimize data loss in the event of a service interruption.

In September 2020, the company turned to its long-standing partner Sogeti. Sogeti is a technology company that is part of the Capgemini Group. Capgemini has been an AWS Partner since 2012. It has eight AWS Competencies, and over 4,000 of its employees are certified on AWS. Capgemini decided to recommend AWS DRS to Thomson Reuters. “We were looking for a robust cloud disaster recovery solution that would work seamlessly on AWS with the Thomson Reuter’s estate,” says Ty Kirk, regional practice manager in application and cloud technologies at Sogeti. “Out of all the options we recommended, AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery was the best solution to solve the business use case.”

Enhancing Data Protection Using AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery

In October 2020, the ONESOURCE GTM and Capgemini teams kicked off the DR project. To start, they built an AWS Landing Zone, which helps customers quickly set up a secure, multiaccount AWS environment based on AWS best practices. Using the AWS Landing Zone, the teams were able to spin up a virtual private cloud that would meet the business unit’s stringent security and compliance requirements. “We had to look at the security in the cloud and make sure that the criteria met what we currently had,” says Rushing. “It exceeded it in many places.”

Then, the business unit and Capgemini set up a recovery site in the cloud using AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery. Using the new solution, ONESOURCE GTM is able to continuously replicate its data in a low-cost staging area on AWS, which reduces its compute and storage footprint to a minimum and reduces the need to provision duplicate resources. By minimizing the costs associated with manual labor, on-premises hardware, and compute resources, the business unit has optimized its spending on disaster recovery. Moreover, it is able to scale its data pipeline to replicate over 120 TB of data.

Since adopting the new solution, the company has replicated its full stack—which includes its operating system, web application, client databases, directory services, and antivirus software—in the cloud. AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery provides continuous replication, so any changes made in the source environment are updated in the disaster recovery site within seconds. This technology, combined with automated machine conversion, is what delivers fast recovery. “Using AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery has made our DR process more redundant and reliable,” says Rushing. “We know that everything is ready to go.”

ONESOURCE GTM has been able to drastically reduce its recovery time objective (RTO)—the amount of time required to recover from a disaster after notification of service interruption. It has also been able to drastically reduce its recovery point objective (RPO)—the amount of time that data loss is tolerable. In April 2021, ONESOURCE GTM launched and completed its first full-scale server failover test. Now it is better prepared for unexpected service interruptions, such as data center outages, server corruptions, and ransomware events.

Additionally, ONESOURCE GTM’s team has freed up the time it spent maintaining its previous DR process and has increased staff productivity. Capgemini helped the business unit set up a portal to access the DR site directly, whereas before it needed to go to a secondary data center to ensure those servers were updated and ready before starting the failover process. “In the past, we had to patch and update the servers at all times to make sure our DR was current,” says Rushing. “Having everything done through AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery, which is constantly updating, takes a lot off our team.”

Migrating Its On-Premises Data Center to the Cloud

With a more efficient DR solution in place, ONESOURCE GTM has been working alongside Capgemini to accelerate the migration from its on-premises data center to the cloud on AWS. “We hit a lot of milestones in our business unit by setting up a recovery site in the cloud,” says Rushing. “Now we can focus on migrating fully to AWS.”


About Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters is a news and information services company that provides solutions for tax, law, media, and government across 100 countries. Its business unit ONESOURCE GTM helps clients meet compliance for their imports and exports through its software.

Benefits of AWS

  • Replicated over 120 TB of data from 300 servers
  • Set up a recovery site in the cloud
  • Eliminated its manual DR process
  • Optimized spending on its disaster recovery process
  • Enhanced its security and compliance

AWS Services Used

AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery

AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery (AWS DRS) minimizes downtime and data loss with fast, reliable recovery of on-premises and cloud-based applications using affordable storage, minimal compute, and point-in-time recovery.

Learn more »

AWS Landing Zone

AWS Landing Zone is a solution that helps customers more quickly set up a secure, multi-account AWS environment based on AWS best practices. 

Learn more »


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