Visma Migrates Windows Workloads to AWS to Enable Agility and Speed Software Delivery


Like many software companies today, Visma is moving to a DevOps and continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) agile development model. The company, which offers software-as-a-service (SaaS) human resources and financial management applications to about one million customers across Europe, strives to release new software features as quickly as possible to meet users’ needs.

Visma faced a major obstacle on its journey to DevOps and CI/CD: its Windows .NET-based applications were hosted in an on-premises data center. “With a data center model, we spent a lot of time managing infrastructure, and our developers lacked the agility and scalability they needed,” says Alexander Lystad, chief cloud architect for Visma. “For many of our products, we were releasing new software features six times a year, which isn’t enough to be competitive. We wanted to give our developers self-service capabilities to change that.”

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By migrating .NET applications to AWS and modernizing, we were able to go from releasing six software features per year to releasing more than six features per month.”

Alexander Lystad,
Chief Cloud Architect, Visma

Seamlessly Migrating Windows Applications to AWS

Visma decided to migrate many of its Windows workloads to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to enable transformation. “AWS offered the agility and scalability we were looking for,” says Lystad.

Visma began migrating .NET-based and SQL Server–based applications to Amazon Aurora MySQL and using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for on-demand compute capacity. Instead of a traditional forklift migration that would include exporting virtual machine images to AWS, managing database servers, and making manual infrastructure changes, Visma completed a “forklift-plus” migration. In this approach, Visma built Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) for automatic scalability and used Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) as the database and AWS CloudFormation templates to quickly—and automatically—provision resources. “We migrated our applications more seamlessly and cost-effectively as a result,” says Lystad. Visma also uses Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) and AWS Fargate to manage many of its containerized applications.

Releasing Six Features a Month Instead of Six a Year

By running Windows workloads on AWS, Visma is giving its developers the self-service capabilities they lacked in the company’s previous environment. “We can enable a DevOps and continuous delivery approach for our developers using AWS,” Lystad says. “We have automated our deployment environment, which helps us reduce risk.”

As a result, the organization has reduced the development time it spends on building and delivering software. “By migrating .NET applications to AWS and modernizing, we were able to go from releasing six software features per year to releasing more than six features per month,” says Lystad. “That means we can respond quickly to new market opportunities and get new features to customers before our competitors.”

Also, because Visma can update software during office hours without any downtime, the company has increased reliability for its customers.

Cutting Deployment Time from 30 Minutes to 5 Minutes

Visma also reduced its deployment time for an employee management application from 30 minutes to 5 minutes, and the company can also provision compute resources faster than before. Lystad says, “It now only takes us an average of 30 seconds to scale up one of our applications, compared to 5 minutes in our previous environment.”

Additionally, Visma has lowered operational costs and increased its customer base. “Using AWS, we have been able to consistently reduce our average cost per user for one of our systems by 50 percent while increasing service quality and growing our business by four times since starting the migration,” says Lystad.

Visma plans to continue migrating Windows workloads to AWS in the future. “We have already seen the benefits to our developers from moving .NET applications to AWS,” says Lystad. “By iterating faster on AWS, we know we can get feedback from our customers faster, so we can more quickly adapt our approach to ensure we are delivering the best possible solutions.” The company also plans to use more AWS services to enable transformation. Lystad says, “We are exploring a serverless architecture and the use of containerized applications for modernization, and we are confident AWS can help us do that.”

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Visma Migrates Windows Workloads to AWS to Enable Agility and Speed Software Delivery

Visma Migrates Windows Workloads to AWS to Enable Agility and Speed Software Delivery

About Visma

Visma is a European provider of business software to companies of all sizes. The organization’s software serves millions of users in a range of industries and functions, including accounting, financial management, procurement, human resources and payroll, education, and government.

Benefits of AWS

  • Seamlessly migrates Windows workloads to AWS
  • Releases 6 software features per month instead of 6 per year
  • Deploys application in 30 seconds instead of 5 minutes
  • Reduces deployment time from 30 minutes to 5 minutes

AWS Services Used

Amazon Aurora

MySQL and PostgreSQL-compatible relational database built for the cloud. Performance and availability of commercial-grade databases at 1/10th the cost.

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Amazon EC2

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.

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AWS Cloud​Formation

AWS CloudFormation provides a common language for you to model and provision AWS and third party application resources in your cloud environment. AWS CloudFormation allows you to use programming languages or a simple text file to model and provision, in an automated and secure manner, all the resources needed for your applications across all regions and accounts. This gives you a single source of truth for your AWS and third party resources.

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Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS)

Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. It provides cost-efficient and resizable capacity while automating time-consuming administration tasks such as hardware provisioning, database setup, patching and backups.

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