Apperian’s AWS Infrastructure Delivers Application Performance Exceeding Customer Expectations

Partnering with G2 Tech Group to help us manage our AWS environment allows us to keep our internal team lean. We don’t have to worry about the infrastructure around the clock, and we can focus on automating the deployment and management of our software.
Rob Friedman
Senior Vice President - Engineering

From the early days of the company’s founding, Apperian took a different approach to the mobility management challenge. While other vendors focused on locking down and forcing IT to control all mobile devices, Apperian developed ways to apply security and management policy at the app level—so apps can be securely deployed to anyone. Hundreds of enterprise customers have since entrusted Apperian to secure and distribute nearly 2.5 million mobile apps to users through easy-to-use, custom-branded app stores.  In 2017, Apperian was acquired by Arxan Technologies.

The Challenge

As the senior management team at Apperian kept seeing the cost of Amazon Web Services continue to decrease, it was only a matter of time before the company migrated its mission-critical cloud infrastructure that hosts customer-facing applications. The maturity of the AWS infrastructure-as-a-service offering along with improving reliability and security were also key factors.

“As the number of servers we required due to customer growth began growing steadily, so too did our cloud-hosting costs with our previous hosting provider,” says Rob Friedman, Senior Vice President of Engineering for Apperian. “In addition to reducing costs, we also saw the AWS environment as offering more flexibility in the way we manage our infrastructure.”

Friedman hoped to take advantage of the outsourced management capabilities that AWS services enable. This would allow Apperian to offload monitoring and Tier-1 support of the environment from the internal team and share the task with a strategic partner. Doing so would allow the internal team to focus more time on fine-tuning Apperian’s customer-facing applications.

The Solution

For help in migrating the infrastructure that hosts customer-facing applications to AWS, Apperian turned to its long-time technology partner, G2 Tech Group. G2 was already supporting the corporate IT infrastructure and hosted internal applications. G2 had also successfully migrated several internal applications to AWS, including Microsoft Active Directory, an AD password self-service application, and a wiki application.

For the infrastructure supporting customer applications, a key factor was finding a way to reduce the amount of downtime for Apperian customers during the migration to AWS. G2 solved this challenge by consulting on best-practices and suggesting technologies—such as Bucardo, an asynchronous PostgreSQL replication system—that enabled Apperian to complete the cut-over with only one hour of downtime.

Tech Services Used

Amazon Web Services Used:

  • EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud)
  • S3 (Simple Storage Service)
  • VPC (Virtual Private Cloud)
  • Route 53 (Domain Name System)
  • EFS (Elastic File System)
  • IAM (Identity and Access Management)
  • EBS (Elastic Block Store)

Third-Party Service Integrations: Ping Identity Platform (secure access management)

The Results

With G2 providing consultation on AWS best practices and the Apperian internal team taking care of the migration, Apperian has now experienced several AWS benefits:

  • Lower cloud-computing base costs—approximately 50% less than the previous cloud hosting provider.
  • The ability to invest the savings in additional cloud computing services, when needed.
  • The flexibility to share management of the cloud environment with G2.
  • No more Tier-1 support and 24×7 monitoring—G2 handles both through its Managed DevOps service.

“AWS gives us the option, for example, to run our database server in AWS RDS (Relational Database Service),” says Friedman. “This allows AWS and G2 to be extensions of our IT team. We did not have this same flexibility with our previous cloud hosting provider—we ran the whole show in-house, and that took time away from maintaining our applications.”

G2 is currently helping Apperian design and implement improvements to Apperian’s existing disaster recovery plan within the AWS architecture. This will help Apperian improve upon one of its most important customer commitments: restore application access as soon as possible in the event of catastrophic failure. The plan will leverage multiple AWS regional data centers so if one part of the US encounters a disaster, the Apperian infrastructure will quickly failover to a data center in another part of the country.

As part of the Managed AWS Cloud with DevOps Automation, G2 provides alerts on how well systems perform in the AWS data center along with Tier-1 response to support incidents. “G2 resolves most issues, and if an incident requires Tier-2 response, they do a great job debriefing our team,” Friedman says. “The partnership enables us to assign fewer resources to monitor our AWS environment—and that represents another big cost savings.”

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