From our data centre to the cloud – with no downtime at all
When Itera moved away from providing traditional operations services from physical data centres to offering services from state-of-the-art cloud platforms, the opportunity presented itself for Kontrollrådet to migrate its entire IT structure to the cloud, specifically to Azure. This journey was completed safely without any downtime at all.
September 2021 – October 2021
THE ITERA TEAM
1x Project manager
2x Solution architects
1x Office 365
Kontrollrådet has been an important part of the construction and concrete industries in Norway for over 50 years. Operating as a private foundation, Kontrollrådet administers certification schemes for building products and provides services to organisations in the private and public sectors. Currently around 750 businesses have joined its various schemes, and it carries out around 900 certifications per year. It manages approximately 8,000 documents (of the .doc, .xls and .pdf type), and it regularly updates its database containing customer information and their certification status.
Kontrollrådet certifies quality systems, environmental systems and working environment systems, as well as products such as precast concrete, aggregates and asphalt.
The ‘old’ servers were due to be turned off
The majority of organisations have specific types of software program that are absolutely central to their operations. In the case of Kontrollrådet, it was its case management tool.
A common problem faced by organisations is the risk of moving old software to the cloud. If this is not done in a controlled way with the right expertise, in the worst case you can lose control over your data, access rights and expenditure.
Kontrollrådet was in just such a situation, but as Itera was starting the process of turning off its own virtual servers, Kontrollrådet had no choice other than to relocate its solution to the cloud. This is a scenario that will become more and more common in the years ahead.
Kontrollrådet has been a customer of Itera for ten years, and it has been on a journey all the way from having physical servers in a server room, via virtual servers for the last six years, to today when it has its systems and Office 365 on Microsoft Azure.
Madame Monet Embroidering (1875) by Claude Monet. Original from the Barnes Foundation
Kontrollrådet was interested and open in its collaboration with its partner Itera, and this led to both new opportunities and cost savings. It was not only valuable for both parties but also fun and exciting for the entire project team.
Project manager, Itera
Minimising costs, preparing for the future and reducing emissions
Another important driver for Kontrollrådet in relation to migrating to the cloud was its desire to reduce its operating expenses (OPEX). It was therefore important to review its strategy and planning thoroughly on this basis early on in the process. It was calculated that the foundation would see cost benefits from its investment after two to three years.
In addition to reducing costs, Kontrollrådet also wanted to migrate to the cloud in a way that would mean it was ready to adopt new technologies and could thus increase its rate of innovation. Kontrollrådet is committed to its customers finding it to be a future-oriented and modern organisation, and to achieve this it constantly researches new tech opportunities. Migrating to the cloud makes this easier, and the foundation has avoided having to spend time on simple day-to-day operations.
How do you move old software to the cloud safely?
An important step before we started the migration process itself was thorough mapping. During this phase, we held a range of meetings and interviews in order to ensure we had a good overview of the current situation in terms of Kontrollrådet’s existing servers, services and applications. This process took around 200 hours, and up to ten of our consultants were involved. The thorough mapping phase was crucial to the migration going so well.
We then carefully planned the migration operation itself. As part of this, we studied best practice in collaboration with Microsoft in relation to the adoption framework in order to identify the best cloud solution for Kontrollrådet.
We then finally developed the foundation for Kontrollrådet’s cloud area, a secure landing zone intended to address all matters relating to security and governance, services and uptime. This work was carried out by our CCoE (Cloud Centre of Excellence).
We now have simpler and more secure access to all our files and systems. This in turn has led to better development opportunities and reduced our costs. The cost reduction will be about 30% compared with before and we can see that our investment in the new solution will have paid for itself in around 1.5-2 years.
Former CEO, Kontrollrådet.
Migrating Kontrollrådet’s case management tool to Azure
The process of migrating Kontrollrådet’s old case management tool took just under eight weeks to complete. The actual migration, however, took a single evening.
- Office Exchange was replaced with Office 365
- Active Directory was migrated
- Moved from On-Prem storage to OneDrive for Business
- Software Innovation was migrated
Kontrollrådet’s cloud journey was a success and was completed without any downtime.
IaaS and SaaS: Operating day-to-day without any updates, new investment or unpredictability
In migrating all its software to Azure, Kontrollrådet has switched to IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service).
IaaS is a type of cloud computing service that provides essential data processing, storage and networking resources on demand on a pay-as-you-go basis. Migrating the organisation’s infrastructure to an IaaS solution has helped deliver some key business gains:
- Eliminated the need for maintenance at local datacentres
- Reduced hardware costs
- Real-time business insight
We also helped Kontrollrådet to adopt a cloud-based Office 365 solution, which is a type of SaaS (Software as a Service).
SaaS provides complete software solutions that you buy from a cloud service provider (such as Itera) based on your level of usage. You rent the right for your organisation to use a program, and your users connect to it over the internet.
With SaaS, you can start using a program quickly, with minimal upfront expenditure. You also avoid the program going out of date or not having the right integrations, and you also avoid the need to invest again in order to update it.