Microsoft Workloads on AWS

Beck et al. Services has a long journey supporting customers to the most diverse industries to get the best value from their Microsoft Workloads supporting the evolution of these environments, creating hybrid or cloud-first scenarios optimizing for cost, security, resilience, availability and performance.

Our comprehensive offering covers the end-to-end spectrum from consulting, guided coaching, project design, implementation to continuous operations. This means complete freedom to our customers whenever they wish to perform the migration by themselves but require knowledge and architecting input or if a complete managed service is desired, removing all operational complexity and allowing to focus on innovation and core business activities.

With our Microsoft workloads on AWS practice, we analyze your Microsoft infrastructure services, such as Active Directory, SQL Server, Windows Server, Exchange and SharePoint environments and architect the best strategy to get them running on AWS in a secure, cost-effective and reliable way.

We support your DBAs and technical team to migrate from on-premises to AWS, focusing on minimizing downtime, cost and operational excellence.

Our offering comprises:

  • Migration readiness: on-premises analysis and identification of workloads and complexity of the database instances, licensing and infrastructure analysis

  • Target design: in this phase we identify the best target solution for your SQL Server databases, for example:

    • Migrate to AWS RDS (Relational Database Services), removing need for licensing as well cutting operational costs as this is a fully managed service by AWS.

    • Migrate to another Database engine: depending your use case it might be possible to leverage another database engine and save dramatically on cost (such as AWS Aurora or PostGreSQL). This can be achieved without big effort on application redesign by using AWS DBMS (Database Migration Service) as well AWS Schema conversion tool.

    • BYOL (Bring your own license): to leverage your current investment you can also bring your own license to AWS and run your SQL Server from an EC2 instance.

  • Service Migration: our team of certified experts has performed the migration of hundreds of SQL databases and is able to guide you or perform for you the entire migration according to your goals.

  • Operations: we also offer a full managed service where you just consume the databases, hosted on your AWS account and we take care for all operations.

Microsoft Server from the cloud can be used for example for:

  • Operation of .NET applications in safe, efficient and, globally distributed when needed Demilitarized Zones (DMZs) to take advantage of Top Internet performance, and Elastic Load Balancer (ELB), Content Distribution Network (CDN) CloudFront and Route53 DNS Services.
  • Test / Demo environments or Forks of the productive environment for developing, debugging or testing of new functionality can use cheap and easily available cloud resources, instead of taking up valuable computing power and disk space to occupy on your virtual server environments.
  • Cheaper and efficient hybrid high-availability solutions (HA) for Microsoft Server environments, in order to save costs, reduce complexity and improve performance.
  • For all the situations in which you would like to have a specific function in the corporate network, but not the server, the operation and support.

AWS supports a wide range of Windows Server operating systems as well allows seamless migration from on-premises virtual machines. This allows a very quick migration to be possible as well very quick provision of new Windows instances. 

Currently we provide the following Windows Services on EC2:

  • Active Directory
  • Windows Fileserver/DFS
  • SQL-Server
  • Internet Information Server (IIS)
  • Microsoft Exchange
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • Skype for Busisess/Lync
  • Migration of line of business applications running on Windows Server
  • Automated setup of multi-tier applications

References & Use cases

Our customer KWS Services North America had the need to move a legacy data ingestion platform for research and development from an on-premises environment on a 3rd party provider into an environment under the customer complete control.

The project drivers were agility to move the application, cost optimization, proximity with West Coast USA users and stability. The use case is constituted of a traditional multi-tier web application, with the Web Layer connecting to a database layer running Microsoft SQL Server.

The diagram below describes in a high level the architecture.

As you can see an instance based SQL Server has been chosen. This was decided after a TCO analysis showed that a BYOL model with Microsoft Software Assurance would give considerable costs savings in relation to a pure RDS or AWS EC2 with SQL licensing environment. In this way the customer could leverage the existing Microsoft relationship and licensing.

The entire environment consisting of networking as well EC2 instances has been deployed following AWS best practices, meaning:

  • Cloudformation was employed to provide a infrastructure as code fundament for VPC and main instances
  • Security by design on every layer leveraging Security Groups, IAM minimum rights as well SQL Server security restrictions to keep the environment safe
  • Backup to S3 has implemented for the SQL databases

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Betaseed further supports its customer with a service and premium program called BetaPoint. BetaPoint was set up by Beck et al. in a VPC in AWS Frankfurt region and consists of a load balancer holding the certificates, a .Net application running on Windows based instances and a Microsoft SQLserver RDS instance.

AWS services used next to VPC and EC2 with Load Balancing and EBS are

  • Database Migration Service
  • AWS Certificate Manager
  • Simple Email Service
  • Relational Database Service with MS SQLserver
  • Identity & Access Management‎
  • S3