Due to changes to the business of Lowell, some services that had been sold needed to be removed from the Lowell server rooms. One of these services was the online shop invoice and instalment payment service, currently in use by companies and spanning well over a hundred servers. It needed to be rebuilt in the cloud for a new owner. In addition, the project had an exceptionally short deadline of three months.
Changes in business drove services to be separated
Lowell, a credit management services company, acquired the business functions of Lindorff in March 2018 in many of the Nordic countries, including Finland. At the end of 2018, Lowell sold on some of the ex-Lindorff services. The sale required that both the services and their data would have to be separated from other business operations, meaning they would need to leave Lowell’s server rooms and be brought online in some other environment.
The service package to be transferred was quite extensive: a crediting system used by several companies with over a hundred servers and many terabytes of customer data. The system would have to remain available to customers throughout the transfer. Furthermore, the desired deadline was exceptionally tight with completion required in three months. Swift completion was essential to make the sale.
Aiming for the complete transfer of services to a public cloud
The decision was made to transfer the crediting system from the Lowell server rooms to the public AWS cloud. The objective was to make the transfer swift and agile so the service could be sold. Lowell’s software developers could handle the system itself, but a successful transfer to AWS required finding a partner skilled in cloud migration.
In just three days from the first project meeting, Solita’s specialists had rolled up their sleeves and kicked off the project. The Solita cloud specialists and the Lowell software developers formed a team that worked in close collaboration throughout the project. Solita was tasked with building the new cloud environments, while the Lowell developers would import the application solutions on top of them.
Building a cloud domain in three months
The first step in the actual implementation was planning the schedule: the three-month target period was divided into smaller units, week by week, and the work was outlined in great detail. The next step was creating the account structure of the service with the correct access rights, followed by the building of subnets, network solutions and the backup functions and system decentralisation necessary for the continuity of business. After all this was done, the transfer and creation of individual systems and their environments into the cloud could start. The environment was also made more efficient, including a shifting of databases to the Amazon Relational Database Service.
After two months, the new environments were ready for customer testing. The data was still being imported to the cloud, including existing customer data. This process continued almost to the end of the project to ensure that the data could be brought to the new environment unaffected. The minor technical problems that were encountered during the project were solved quickly with Lowell experts and the new cloud environment was ready to be published after the final checks – right on time. The old server room connections were severed, and the local services were shut down. The transfer to a new environment was completed without a hitch, and the system has been completely cloud-based since the transfer. The newly-built AWS environment performed flawlessly during what was the biggest spike of the year in the use of the service, according to the new owner.
The project was a complete success from start to finish. The crediting system remained available to customers without interruption throughout the three-month period, and now runs happily in the cloud. Most important of all, the change in business that set the project in motion could be completed.
The service also benefited from migrating to the cloud. The public AWS cloud and outsourced service platform (Platform as a Service, PaaS):
- reduce the maintenance required and enable more agile development of the system
- add flexibility, allowing the service to be scaled up or down at any time
- require no commitment – native cloud systems are built to operate across different cloud infrastructures and in all cloud services.
The common fear of slow and expensive migrations can be dispelled – with the right mindset projects can be completed in weeks or months while keeping the costs very reasonable. As an experienced specialist in cloud migrations and an official AWS Managed Service Provider, Solita can offer knowledge, skills and working AWS collaboration and migration support to projects, ensuring their successful completion.
Lowell Finland Ltd is a credit management service provider who has helped people and companies in Finland manage their credit for over 50 years. Lowell produces business services and specialised industry solutions for invoicing, debt collection and credit ratings. Lowell’s customer service attends to half a million Finns every year regarding their invoices and credit. In Finland, Lowell employs 450 people in Turku, Lahti and Helsinki. Lowell Finland Ltd is part of Lowell Group, the second-largest credit management company in Europe.