Case Study

Sporting Goods Retailer Makes the Leap to a More Cost-Efficient and Secure Way of Working with Azure Migration

Customer: A leading distributor and retailer of sporting goods and athletic equipment, footwear, and apparel. Profile: The client is in the sporting goods business, dedicated to providing a comprehensive selection of baseball, football, softball and cheer leading equipment at an affordable price

Services: Microsoft Azure Migration Services

Size: 201-500 employees
Region: Texas, USA
Industry: Retail

Business Need

As one of the internet’s top sporting goods retailer, the client operates multiple ecommerce websites designed for the sale of sporting goods, and for fundraising. These websites were hosted on Rackspace infrastructure, along with their database servers.

With a considerable amount of increase in website traffic and more products coming online, the retailer started to experience IT infrastructure issues, such as low performance of the database servers, high managed services and hardware maintenance costs, lack of complete disaster recovery mechanism, and web security vulnerabilities.

The retailer required a more sophisticated IT infrastructure that could work best with its websites, and provide a cost-efficient and secure environment.

The retailer was in search of an effective cloud hosting solution like Rackspace that would integrate seamlessly with their websites and address the IT infrastructure issues that Rackspace could not.

Solution and Approach

Synoptek (formerly Indusa) worked with the retailer to understand its mission, objectives, timeline, and budget and then suggested to migrate its IT infrastructure to Microsoft Azure.

After performing an in-depth assessment of the cloud options available, and calculating the benefits that Azure would bring to its business (apart from eliminating the IT infrastructure issues), the retailer agreed to perform the Azure migration.

Migration Readiness Check:

Before performing the migration, Synoptek carried out a migration readiness check to fix the potential issues in the source environment:

a) Compatibility: Analyze if the websites are architecturally fit for Azure before moving

b) External / internal dependencies: Check if there are any external or internal dependencies, analyze if those are accessible through Azure

c) Database Compatibility: Analyze whether the existing database is best fit to migrate to Azure

d) Integration of websites: Check whether the websites are integrated with other on premises applications or shared services

e) Scalability: Identify whether the website design supports scalability as Azure supports it

f) Cost: Verify whether moving websites is cost effective for the retailer

g) Security: Clarify whether standard level security can be provided after migration, in terms of:

  • Data security
  • Authentication
  • Authorization

Migration Approach:

a) Create an Azure infrastructure foundation for the virtual machine

  • Rehost SQL database server on Azure
  • Take backup of production server database, restore it on Azure database instance
  • Copy data from existing servers to new instances on Azure, and set up the websites

b) Create a virtual machine in Azure and configure it with IIS

  • Establish Virtual Private Network (VPN) connectivity to access data from the integrated enterprise systems
  • Set up the database replication

c) Copy the websites to the Azure virtual machine

d) Open ports and configure Azure for the new service

  • Configure end points and application load balancer on Azure
  • Test the websites from Azure instances
  • Stop the production server, take backup of latest database, and restore it on Azure

e) Change configuration information on websites

  • Change the Domain Name System (DNS) records from Rackspace to Azure

Synoptek handled the whole process of the Azure migration in an uninterrupted manner, and made sure that the transition was as smooth as possible.

After performing the migration, knowledge was transferred, where SMEs trained the retailer’s team on Azure deployment and management.

Business Results

Migrating to Microsoft Azure Cloud allows the retailer to easily manage IT infrastructure capacity based on increase demands and growth, reducing monthly hardware costs, reducing business risk, and increasing overall operational efficiency.

The retailer observes key benefits such as:

  • Reduced costs: With IT infrastructure on Rackspace, the managed services and hardware maintenance costs were too high. Azure’s cloud-based solution reduced these expenses, as Microsoft handles the hardware, software, maintenance, and data center costs.
  • Matched business growth: Previously, the database servers weren’t able to keep up with the sudden influx of demand. As Azure grows through on-demand capabilities, the retailer doesn’t have to hamstring its business growth to keep up with its onsite capabilities. Its auto-scale feature helps adjust sudden traffic and load spikes, so websites stay up.
  • Improved security: The website hosting capabilities of Azure helps the retailer reduce risks of hacking, and other malicious behaviors.
  • Enhanced business continuity: Azure helps the retailer keep its websites running through geographically diverse data centers, facilitates proactive monitoring and troubleshooting, redundant backups, and automatic failover.
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