Case Study: LogicMelon

5th July 2019

Making the cloud work for a software application

About the customer

LogicMelon (Logic Enterprises Ltd) is the creator of a job posting and candidate management cloud-based software.

Their clients include several recruitment agency leaders, such as Hays and Randstad. 

The solution’s platform is a major part of LogicMelon’s business and therefore, the availability and uptime of the solution are critical to their customers.

Logic Melon Cloud ISV

They had developed their software solution on Microsoft technologies such as SQL Server, .Net Framework and ASP.Net, which sits in a traditional colocation environment.

Summary

LogicMelon needed to find a new provider that could give deliver a more consistent service at a higher standard than their current provider and advice around how to achieve that.

They had only considered traditional options and after exploring a series of colocation providers, had found no real difference in the level of service between their existing provider and the new options.

As a last resort, they choose to look at a cloud solution; in their eyes, an unrealistic goal.  They had no idea if it was even possible never mind what it may cost.  In the first instance, they spoke to Microsoft. They found themselves none the wiser and still, no one was listening to their needs and providing advice.

As a last shot in the dark, they reached out to igroup.  After initial conversations with our team, we arranged a dedicated day’s service.  The LogicMelon team were taken aback within the first couple of hours, not only was it possible, but they were able to hit their budgets. After dispelling concerns about the cloud and talking through the business needs and goals, the session was quickly adapted from an assessment to an architecture service.

After a day with our team’s tailored approach, the cloud was not only a feasible solution but now their preferred option. We helped them address:

  • Budget concerns and explained the cloud usage model.
  • Delivered a knowledge transfer that built confidence in choosing to manage the cloud themselves.
  • Architected an infrastructure to ensure the performance of their 800GB database.
  • Provided continued direct access to 3rd line experts to consult on technical problems sitting between infrastructure and their software.
  • Delivered more than a quotation for servers – we provided advice and support until it satisfied the team and they had the answer they needed.

Challenges

LogicMelon felt they had outgrown as well as lost confidence in their current hosting partner. They had experienced repeated outages and connectivity issues, so they began investigating several traditional options.

Considering options

A new solution needed to meet current infrastructure specifications, but also address the need to scale their platform in the future and minimise interruptions to the service.

The team were leaning towards staying in a colocation solution but looking for a larger, more reliable provider that could provide a higher level of customer service that included expert advice.

The challenge was finding that large colocation provider which offered the attention to detail, advice, and expertise they expected, to help them address issues between the platform and the software.

After exploring many traditional and proven options such as Rackspace and UKFast, it surprised them to find no real difference to the services offered, and that they were still the faceless customer.

Concerned they would invest in a new colo provider and get the same results, they turned to their dream – the cloud.  Nervous, they carried out some preliminary research and identified Azure as a potential solution to explore further.

They viewed Azure as a potential fit due to their use of Microsoft software and technologies and that it also offered one of the largest ranges of compliance which software vendors must achieve for their customers.

However, they still had many unanswered questions around the technology and lacked confidence that the cloud could be the solution they were looking for.

They needed advice about how to address technical constraints and their main concern and the biggest risk to the project was the performance required to run an 800GB database. 

The database is a key part of LogicMelon’s business which customers use 24/7 and therefore reliable access is critical. They also needed to achieve 99% disk throughput and IOPS which isn’t as straightforward as you might think in the cloud and can add significant, almost limitless, cost.  Traditionally, to achieve this you would over-size your server but in the cloud, the illusion of infinite scale means that services come with performance levels, SLA’s and costs, where a balance and flexibility are key and over-sizing isn’t required or cost-effective.

The other area of concern was the unknown cost.  They knew if they had chosen the wrong architecture specification, the cost implications could be significant. The team had a monthly budget in mind and needed to know if it was practical, whether they needed to make compromises, and if it was even achievable.

How we helped

We arranged a cloud assessment, which is typically carried out on site, however, due to the dispersion of their core team and how quickly they wanted to move on the project, we worked with the team which resulted in an alternative approach using unified communications technology.

Tailored approach

It quickly became clear that bar the lack of uncertainty the team had, they would benefit more from an Architecture Workshop rather than Cloud Assessment. 

It was also clear they were more than capable of managing the environment going forward and that the area of concern was choosing the right configuration and the ability to tune the environment for their applications. 

We quickly adapted the session to their circumstances ensuring they got the most out of the day.

They explained about how they had engaged with alternative traditional and cloud providers and only receiving like for like quotes based on their existing specifications.   The quotes even varied dramatically in price.  No one had taken the time to talk through their actual needs and mitigate their risks. 

Cloud-agnostic advice

It was Azure they wanted to pursue but they hadn’t decided whether to purchase the subscription directly from Microsoft or through a vendor.  Previous conversations with other potential suppliers had left them feeling pressured to use that supplier to provide and manage the subscription.  

Their dream begins to take form

Our specialist explained that igroup provides both options.  Our team could help them set up a subscription, be it direct with Azure, AWS, or through our management service. After providing all the options and advice, we left the decision up to the LogicMelon team.  We explained that it makes no difference to igroup which route your business opts for because our services are designed to offer you the flexibility you need, letting you pick how much help we provide.

LogicMelon had expected that Platform as a Service (PaaS) may be the appropriate solution. After reviewing the potential Platform as a Service (PaaS) product and evaluating which advanced features LogicMelon’s software was utilising in the non-cloud counterparts, we recommended that their environment utilise Microsoft Azures Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) services instead.  Opting for PaaS would require them to change their software to adapt to the platform which offered very little gain and huge operational risks. The services in any cloud are rarely 1:1 feature equivalent with their non-cloud counterparts meaning they are not cost effective or sometimes even workable.

After the review was complete, a basic architecture blueprint was created. With this agreed, we could then address their budget concerns by building a tailored pricing matrix based on the new infrastructure which allowed them to explore parameters such as performance, scaling out or up, resilience and external factors to evaluate potential spend.

The LogicMelon team started the session with a very reserved approach, not expecting to choose the cloud option but over the course of a day’s phone calls, the team had experienced a complete turnaround and were very excited about Azure.

Results

After exploring the colocation market space, searching mainstream providers, they had finally found a partner that does more than sell you the tools to build your cloud. They had found an experienced company who has been providing software through the cloud themselves for the last ten years meaning they were sure we could provide the technical reassurance, detail, expertise, and support required.

They not only got the knowledge transfer they needed to gain their independence using Azure – what it cost, how it worked, how to manage it – but also gained the ongoing support from 3rd line experts to tackle any future issues between infrastructure and software.

And finally, they now had a planned phased approach that allows them to seamlessly move to the cloud and scale at a pace which suits their business timelines, starting with the most critical piece of their business first, which provides the most gains.

What software vendor LogicMelon gained:

  • Three options were provided within their budget showing it is achievable and the cost implications were explained.
  • An architectural was blueprint created which also ensured scalability.
  • A clear understanding of timescales for each phase of their plan.
  • Knowledge transfer was achieved, and support services offered so they can independently manage Azure.
  • Delivered an assurance that their 800gb database will perform as needed and overachieved the required 99% disk throughput and IOPS with SLA’s in place that delivers 99.9999% uptime.
  • Exposure to services they had not considered which changed their outlook on outsourcing management of the cloud infrastructure.
  • We filled their knowledge gap between software and infrastructure with ongoing expert support.

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