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Citrus Consulting Services is the Consulting and the Transformation Services arm of Redington Gulf.

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Setting Up and Managing Cloud Infrastructure for an Investment and Real Estate MNC

Customer Introduction

Thakher Investment and Real Estate Development Company Limited is an investment and real estate multinational business which is entirely focused on the investment, real estate contracting, building and construction of the residential, commercial and hospitality sector in the holy city of Makkah. With an active and widespread reach across Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the company primarily works in the financial and real estate sector with its services catering to personnel in Saudi Arabia.

Citrus Consulting Services empowers Thakher Development Co. Ltd. by implementing a global and scalable cloud based SAP Infrastructure Solution using Amazon Web Services.

Challenge Overview

Initially, Thakher Investment and Real Estate Development Company was looking to setup only the production environment along with the existing resources currently running on AWS. Soon after continuous discussion with the customer and the SAP Application team, they decided to setup the development and quality assurance environments as well by leveraging the existing reserved instances. Utilizing the reserved instances for the short-lived tasks of development and QA was not feasible. Thus, Citrus Consulting Services came up with a strategy to fully utilize the reserved instances and running on demand instances for 12 hours per day for optimizing the costs and entire infrastructure, thereby reducing the overall cost of ownership for Thakher Investment and Real Estate Development Company by almost 50%.

  • Thakher Development needed to save upfront capital to be invested in a CAPEX model and transition to an OPEX Model of expenditure which would allow them to pay on a monthly basis only for the services used.
  • Thakher Development had an on-premises infrastructure where they were running their SAP Application requiring high maintenance and exorbitant costs to be spent.
  • Access to the internal SAP application was required to be bifurcated among different employees and departmental groups providing separation of duties with proper authorization and authentication.
  • Thakher Development needed to track any changes on their infrastructure at a granular level.
  • Thakher Development required their different resource metrics to be measured and monitored in order to upscale operational performance as and when required.

Solution Overview

Thakher Development Infrastructure is running on AWS Cloud, where various AWS services have been deployed with respect to the customer Requirement such as CloudTrail, CloudWatch, IAM in order to protect data, restrict Access, monitoring of security related activities and generate automated responses.

Thakher used AWS CloudTrail in order to enable Governance, Auditing and compliance monitoring. CloudTrail helped Thakher to record each API activity and made sure that every API is written to a log. Similarly, AWS CloudWatch was implemented for monitoring the resources which are being used and maintaining them accordingly. It helped them in collecting logs and metrics data. Also, AWS IAM enabled the customer to securely control access to the AWS resources which have been deployed, this service helped them to manage number of users and creating groups to manage different kind of users.

Each EC2 instance has an attached Elastic Block Store (EBS) volume, a high-performance block storage service designed for use with Amazon EC2 for both throughput and transaction intensive workloads at any scale. This pairing of EC2 instances and EBS Volumes resides safely in the AWS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). The VPC then provisions a logically isolated section of the AWS Cloud where the resources were launched in a defined virtual network. The VPC was divided into a public subnet and three private subnets, where each private subnet was host to its own inter-related suite of applications.

Thakher Development also used other services of AWS like CloudTrail which enables governance, compliance, operational auditing and risk auditing along with a service for monitoring and observability named Amazon CloudWatch. Finally, AWS Systems Manager was setup for visibility and control of infrastructure on AWS. AWS Systems Manager also provided a unified user interface so that IT team can view operational data from multiple AWS services thereby allowing them to automate operational tasks across AWS resources.

Project Timelines

The greenfield setup project for Thakher Development Co. Ltd. nearly took 4 weeks of effort, in turn subdivided into milestones for setting up the base infrastructure, setting up VPC and virtual machines followed by the setup of VPN and finally concluding it all off by setting up the monitoring and governance tools along with distinct testing schemes.

Benefits Delivered to Customer

  • Successful setup of the end-to-end SAP infrastructure on AWS
  • Seamless authentication of users without causing any disruption or change in the way applications were being accessed earlier
  • Successful setup of CloudWatch and CloudTrail Services along with appropriate metrics for monitoring the infrastructure. Also, various alarms for different thresholds were setup for these metrics.
  • Successful configuration of snapshot backup for all the virtual machines in the AWS infrastructure environment.
  • An approximate reduction of about 20% in the maintenance costs and overhead costs for Thakher’s SAP Environment setup on AWS
  • A complete change to focus on the OPEX model from a CAPEX model which lowered the TCO by nearly 35%
  • Complete backup of the entire system at the lowest cost possible for Thakher Development.
  • Complete transition from a CAPEX Model of payment to the OPEX Model instead thereby changing the focus to monthly payments for the services used.
  • Complete management of the various access to AWS services and resources securely. Configured IAM with various users and groups with designated permissions.
  • Achieved 100% successful test results for alpha, beta, user-acceptance and stress test scenarios and subsequent use cases.
  • Ensured 100% business continuity for Thakher Development through 24/7 Managed Support Services rendered by Citrus Consulting Services.