Case Studies / WAICA Re migrates business critical applications into the AWS Cloud

WAICA Re is a reinsurance organisation headquartered in Sierra Leone with regional offices and subsidiaries in Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Kenya and Zimbabwe. WAICA Re provides reinsurance services to the Insurance sector across countries in the African continent, Middle East and Asia territories.

Challenge

WAICA Re was concerned about business continuity due to the risk of unplanned power shortages. Interruptions to the power grid were impacting local data centers and WAICA Re wanted to ensure its core business applications were resilient to these types of interruptions. These business applications were primarily dependent on Microsoft technologies such as Windows Server, Microsoft SQL and Active Directory.

To provide uninterrupted service to its customers, WAICA Re decided that migrating to public Cloud infrastructure would mitigate some of these business continuity risks. Amazon Web Services (AWS) were selected as the preferred Cloud provider. However, WAICA Re did not possess the necessary skills to ensure a successful migration.

Solution

With extensive experience in the AWS Cloud, Synthesis were appointed as the technical experts to carry out WAICA Re’s migration to AWS. Synthesis partnered with AWS to assess WAICA Re’s existing infrastructure, performed planning and “right-sizing” of Cloud infrastructure requirements and created the migration plan to present to WAICA Re.

For planning, the AWS Simple Monthly Calculator was leveraged to easily explain options around instance sizing and reservation. Additionally, planning sessions were held to ensure that the backup and recovery, high-availability and disaster recovery architectures met the specific cost and availability requirements of the WAICA Re business.

Once agreed, Synthesis carried out the migration of WAICA Re’s applications into the AWS Cloud environment using a combination of AWS native tools and vendor-specific tools, namely AWS Server Migration Service and MSSQL replication respectively, while working closely with the WAICA Re team along the way. Some of the platforms that were migrated included Windows Server and SQL workloads, as well as productivity solutions such as Remote Desktop Services and identity and access management tools such as Active Directory.

Synthesis additionally leveraged the advanced monitoring features of AWS, such as CloudWatch Application Insights for .NET and SQL Server, which analyses important application metrics and uses machine learning to advise on potential problems that may affect the performance, resiliency and general stability of WAICA Re applications. A capability not previously available on-premise.

Results

This implementation reduced the risks and uncertainty associated with working in Sierra Leone, ensuring business continuity at all times. WAICA Re’s infrastructure is now highly available, and the business can grow without additional capital investment into data centers.

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