Sunday, September 19, 2021

How Cloud Migration is Handled by American Airlines, Weston Foods, Blackboard, New York Public Library, and Idaho State University

Cloud-based solutions are appealing for a long list of reasons, as these cloud migration case studies demonstrate.

Still, the process can be time-consuming and costly, and enterprises are left weighing those costs against the potential advantages. It’s important to take a high-level view when considering a cloud migration — for successful, growing companies and enterprise-scale organizations, making the move is often well worth the trouble. 

These five cloud migration case studies are good examples of how these moves can make a great deal of fiscal and operational sense across a range of industries. 

Idaho State University

Sector: Higher education

Challenge:

Idaho State University (ISU) maintained a large, resource-intense learning platform, Moodle, via on-premises hardware, leaving the system vulnerable to any number of potential failures, including physical damage. “A water leak in the data center could have brought us to our knees,” Blake Beck, director of educational technologies and eISU at ISU, says in an AWS case study. “We were taking a gamble.” Migrating these resources to the cloud would be a significant undertaking. 

Outcome:

ISU did opt to migrate Moodle, which is utilized by 96% of the school’s courses, and other campus resources to AWS cloud. Ultimately, the university reports cost savings, including a reduction in IT support costs and the ability to better utilize IT staff, among other benefits. One significant improvement has been the centralization of student resources into a single platform. 

New York Public Library

Sector: Government

Challenge: 

New York Public Library (NYPL) was working under a fractured IT environment, including many hardware resources that were outdated. The result was an unreliable patchwork of network architecture that couldn’t keep up with the library system’s extensive and growing digital catalog, which includes more than 700,000 maps, photographs and manuscripts that can be accessed by the public. 

Outcome:

NYPL migrated its legacy systems to a modern cloud platform powered by AWS, which allows it to build “scalable, repeatable systems quickly at a fraction of the cost,” according to an AWS case study. Jay Hawk, director of DevOps and enterprise computing at NYPL, also notes that the migration to cloud-based services has allowed the library to deliver a more standardized experience across all its resources, which helps to build important redundancies and security features into the network architecture. 

Blackboard

Industry: Education

Challenge:

Blackboard, a virtual learning environment and application for community building and knowledge sharing, has over 100 million global users. On the one hand, this impressive growth is a big positive, but the company faced issues with scaling. Its Blackboard Learn learning management system, for example, was hosted in more than 30 data centers throughout the world on premises. The nature of Blackboard’s offerings made it especially important that any potential solution was stable, all day, every day.

Outcome:

When Blackboard migrated to the cloud, the company was able to significantly reduce its technological footprint, reducing its data centers to nine. In addition to cost savings, the company now benefits from a more centralized communications hub and less latency across the board. 

American Airlines

Industry: Travel

Challenge:

American Airlines was limited by a booking system that was only accessible to employees. Customers were unable to verify the options available to them for travel and had to spend time on the phone or in line waiting to interact with an American Airlines service rep. 

Outcome:

American Airlines’ migration to the cloud allows passengers to rebook canceled or delayed flights through its website, kiosks, and mobile app. The process is cloud-based and self-service. American credits cloud migration with its “ability to provide technology that enables the company to keep pace with customer expectations,” according to an IBM case study.  

Weston Foods

Industry: Food

Challenge:

Weston Foods, one of two officially licensed bakers of Girl Scout cookies (the sales of which generate $800 billion in annual revenue), was using an outdated online ordering system that couldn’t keep up with increasing demand. For example, the company said the performance would take a noticeable dive on Sunday evenings, when it wasn’t unusual for five orders per second to be placed, partly because troop leaders face a Sunday evening weekly cutoff for placing orders. 

Outcome:

Weston’s migration to a cloud-based online order management system gives the company access to a system that can autoscale as needed. When CPU usage is high, the system can automatically spin up an additional virtual machine to share workloads. The company reports an increase of 8% of its annual cookie sales following the cloud migration. 

Conclusions

While a large-scale cloud migration project may seem daunting, it’s important to note how quickly enterprises can benefit. Improved access to key data, a decrease in latency, and a shift to a much more scalable solution are all benefits that can be felt right away after a migration away from disjointed legacy systems. Peace of mind is another advantage over housing critical data resources on site on antiquated, vulnerable hardware.

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