Velan Assists A Florida Accounting Firm In Migrating Their IT Infrastructure To Azure Cloud Platform Cloud Services

CLIENT:

  • A Florida-based 30 years old Accounting Firm Offering Services to Small and Medium Corporates.
  • The Client uses a cloud based Accounting Practice Management Software and wants to improve productivity of the employees and harness the accumulated data for business development and valuable insights. The Client seeks to employ Velan’s proficiency and experience for this project.

CHALLENGES:

  • Moving existing in premise QuickBooks application to cloud infrastructure.
  • Application compatibility – analyze if the business applications like QuickBooks Desktop is architecturally fit for Windows Azure before moving.
  • External /Internal dependencies – check if there are any external application dependencies and need to analyze and if those are accessible through Azure.
  • Business critical and LOB applications demand high availability.
  • Application maintenance / management – identify how and where the logs are maintained and stored.
  • Scalability / elasticity – identify whether the LOB application design supports scalability on Azure Platform.
  • Compliance requirements – check if there are enterprise compliance and regulations that govern whether the data can be moved / stored outside the enterprise’s control.
  • Cost – verify whether the moving LOB application is cost-effective for the enterprise.
  • Security – Identify whether the same level of security can be provided after migrating to Windows Azure in terms of: Data security Authentication Authorizations

SOLUTIONS:

  • Migration executed based on strategy/approach
  • Analyzed the in premise server roles and user data, QuickBooks databases moved to cloud.
  • Session state management: In Azure, each QuickBooks version instance runs on its own VM server.
  • Authentication and authorization model: Analyzed and understand the current authentication mechanism in the application. .We have checked if the same authentication approach in the cloud application can be adopted.  Explored cloud based solutions for authentication. Utilized Windows Azure Active Directory Access Control (also known as Access Control Service or ACS) to authenticate users from identity providers.
  • Deployed Azure virtual private network to communicate with enterprise active directory.
  • Used Windows Azure Active Directory with integrated on premise organization active directory.
  • Data migration strategy: Application migration strategy included data migration strategy as most of the applications are typically data centric. Hence, while migrating application from on premise to Cloud, we have ensured that the users do not see any discrepancy in their data.
  • Implemented two factor authentication using Duo
  • Migration execution: In the application migration, components are migrated to Cloud in an incremental, independent fashion. At each phase, it was ensured that the application works with no internal / external (network) issues.

OUTCOME:

  • With Windows Azure, the client focus is on the development, not the infrastructure.
  • Key benefits of hosting applications in Azure include:
    • Minimal focus required on the infrastructure.
    • No need to buy / maintain any infrastructure.
    • Easy scale-up and scale-out available in Pay-As You-Go model.
    • Windows Azure provides SLA 99.95% for the hosted applications.

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