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CASE STUDY

VMWARE CLOUD ON AWS

PHH Mortgage, industry-leading mortgage services and financial solution provider, was looking to migrate multiple geographically disbursed data centers into AWS while streamlining resources.

Note: This is a public reference case study. Some details and confidential information is omitted from this case study. Please feel free to reach out directly to your account manager for more details.

Challenges

• Migrate multiple geographically disbursed datacenters into Amazon Web Services
• Streamline resource requisitions and reduce resource instantiation time

Keys to Success

• Reduce server infrastructure cost
• Develop quick migrations strategies
• Leverage easy to use, easy to manage, and fast policies/systems to allow for on-demand resource and infrastructure management.

Results

• First official VMware Cloud on AWS client
• Created CI/CD pipeline for engineers to continuously manage AWS native resources

PHH Mortgage

PHH Mortgage has provided industry-leading mortgage services and helped countless homebuyers and homeowners find financing solutions to meet their needs. Their reputation is based on building and maintaining relationships that last long after their customers purchase homes are complete refinances.

Having deep product and industry knowledge, PHH Mortgage has built a reputation based on quality work and great results. At the crux of this reputation is strong and smart infrastructure practices allowing PHH Mortgage to be highly available and reliant.

VMware on AWS

PHH Mortgage found themselves in a difficult position when they made the decision to evacuate their private datacenter and migrate all workloads to a public cloud. RoundTower Technologies architected a solution leveraging AWS and VMC on AWS to meet their needs at a cost-effective price point that met PHH Mortgage’s cut off dates.

VMC on AWS provided us the ability to facilitate a migration of multiple datacenters into a consolidated Software Defined Data Center in AWS. Additionally, we were able to do this while leveraging technologies PHH Mortgage was comfortable and familiar with.

Culture and Processes

The process of working with PHH Mortgage was very hands-on as they employ a dedicated staff of talented IT professionals, all of whom wanted to lend a helping hand during this migration process. This meant that we needed to develop a more robust methodology for managing resources from both a VMware Cloud on AWS perspective and native resource management.

Taking account, the needs of a hands-on migration we looked towards AWS native services in search for a process that would allow us to control and manage resources requested and created in AWS. Our needs for this initiative were simple:

  • It needed to be simple - Traditional IT staff with no public cloud experience needed to be able to quickly learn and understand how to use it properly.
  • It needed to be quick to setup – Every minute not spent working on the actual migration could be viewed as a blocker or potentially delay our final cutover date.
  • It needed to be easy to manage Whatever solution we leveraged we needed to make sure it wouldn’t cost anyone cycles to maintain or troubleshoot.
  • It needed to be cheap – The solution needs to be cost-effective in the short and long run as the solution scales.

Solution

Leveraging AWS’ native developer tools we managed to meet all of our needs while spending very little time cross training with PHH Mortgage to get everyone up to speed. We created a CI/CD pipeline consisting of the following components:

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Per our policies, we configured all accounts involved to be MFA. We mandated the PHH Mortgage CI/CD pipeline could only be used by accounts with this configuration option.

AWS CloudFormation
At the very core of this initiative was the use of AWS’s native Infrastructure as Code solution. This proved incredibly intuitive and easy to use for both RoundTower and PHH. By using CloudFormation, we allowed ourselves to begin managing everything as if were just code.

Amazon S3
We needed to store all our work on a medium that was performant, reliant, cost-effective, and easy to share. S3 meets all our needs as we were only storing small JSON files (CloudFormation Templates) in the buckets. While small, these templates were critical resources and as such significant care was paid to ensure that least privilege access policies were followed when creating the buckets.

AWS CodeCommit
Now that we decided to use CloudFormation as our IaC of choice, we decided on CodeCommit for our git repository. This allowed us to seamlessly integrate our CloudFormation templates and stacks into a working code pipeline using other AWS native developer tools in addition to using already in place federated credentials for the private repos that were created.

AWS CodeBuild
We used CodeBuild to simply sync our CloudFormation templates stored in CodeCommit to private S3 buckets. This was used to empower the tail end of the pipeline to automate CloudFormation stack management.

AWS CodePipeline
This is really what brought this initiative together. Leveraging CodePipeline, we were able to get all of these services working together harmoniously. We had strategic stops configured, so it wasn’t completely automated. Pull request had to be approved after a peer review, both of which had stops configured. If at any point a stop was responded with a rejection the pipeline would fail out and not proceed. Strategic members were identified to be responsible for the stops, eventually leading to a change going through the entire process unencumbered.

If ever there was a need for a rollback CloudFormation, CodeCommit, and S3 all allowed us easy methods of viewing revision history and/or just a straight rollback.

Lessons Learned:

  • Repeatable processes are key in large scale transformation projects
  • VMC on AWS is a great solution for companies that need to move quick and want to utilize public cloud
  • The large suite of AWS Native services were the key to success to support day 2 operations for the PHH team.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a secure cloud services platform, offering compute power, database storage, content delivery and other functionality to help businesses scale and grow.

RoundTower is an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner and an elite systems integrator known for providing innovative business solutions backed by timely and personable support. We provide solutions and expertise in all aspects of a companies IT infrastructure – from the application down to the hardware, and everything connected between. We help and guide customers through DevOps transformations, automation implementation, and container and Kubernetes solutions.

Although our organization has matured over the years, we have not forgotten our original goal: to be the central source of expertise in troubled times and to transform how our clients realize and deliver value from technology

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a registered trademark and service mark of Amazon Web Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally, and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved

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