The initial impetus for the use of the cloud was the need to find an IT environment capable of ensuring the operation of business-critical applications that require a robust, redundant environment, continuous monitoring and constant readiness to respond to any deterioration in operational parameters.
The range of services subscribed to has naturally expanded since 2015 and with DataSpring Cloud Services, the IT team at MND can now focus more on supporting the business units and developing their core systems. In addition to meeting the high demands of the MND Group's business for availability and security of ICT solutions, the financial side is of course also important to us. We have carefully analysed this, particularly in the early stages, to make sure that in the long term, moving to the cloud is the right move.
Baseline and project objectives
- Services are available from a Tier III design-certified data center.
- Cloud services are run on server clusters to ensure high availability (HA).
- Monitoring and ServiceDesk in Czech and English 24x7
- SLA up to 99.99%
- Individual approach and tailor-made solutions, in cooperation with Solution Architects.
- Changing computing power or disk capacities is a routine operation.
- Changes are typically implemented within hours.
- In the cloud, there is no need to pre-purchase capacity, as in the case of purchasing your own HW, where you buy capacity in advance that you will only use in a few years.
- MND only pays for the resources it currently consumes.
- Capacity can be reduced, and thus costs can be reduced.
We supply computing power and disk capacity
The customer requires the ability to maintain full control over the environment. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) in the Resource Pool variant is most suitable for this purpose. For the MND group, several environments are created and operated as IaaS Resource Pool. In these cases, for each environment we have defined the virtualization platform, the required computing power capacities inCPU and vRAM, disk capacities with a division into available tiers - SSD, SAS, NL-SAS. Further management of the environment is then fully in the hands of the customer's IT department, which thanks to full access to the virtualization platform has the ability to independently create new virtual servers, change their parameters or cancel them. If the resources in the Resource Pool are no longer sufficient for the current requirements, which is typically the case with disks, the IT MND will raise a request for an increase and simply increase the resources.
In this model, the customer has full control over the environment and benefits financially compared to running their own servers by only paying for the capacity they are currently using.
We manage the platform including the computing system and database
MND operates mission-critical systems that require high availability and 24x7 support. Therefore, we opted for a Platform as a Service (PaaS) operating model, addressing the parameters of each server separately, including the operating system and database. All virtual servers are on the VMware platform with Windows or RedHetl Enterprise Linux operating systems. In the case of the databases, the design also had to take into account licensing rules, especially for the Oracle database, and design a suitable architecture that met the requirements for high availability and at the same time one that was cost-optimal.
In the actual operation, individual virtual servers are monitored and managed, including the operating system and possibly the MS SQL and Oracle databases. The monitoring is monitored 24x7 by the ServiceDesk, which, in the event that any of the monitored parameters exceed a set threshold, evaluates the situation, informs the customer and, if necessary, activates the relevant administrators to take corrective action.
Tornado proof housing
At the MND headquarters in Hodonín, the customer still operated its own infrastructure that met internal availability requirements and was not outdated. However, the server room as such would require investment in the renewal of cooling, backup power and physical security. Prospectively, the systems from this infrastructure would then be gradually migrated to the DCS cloud, so the return on investment for the server room would not end with a positive outcome. Since the data centre is located in nearby Lusatia and, moreover, it proved its resilience in June 2021 when it survived a devastating tornado without failure, the logical choice was to move this IT infrastructure there.
DC Lužice holds TIER III certification, which in practice means that all key elements such as power, cooling, connectivity always have one backup (n+1) so that the data center can be serviced without interruption of operations and can withstand failures or outages of external inputs, such as after the aforementioned tornado, when the power supply from the grid was interrupted for a week and the energy was supplied by its own motor generators.
Backup and georedundancy of backups
Data backup is an integral part of both IaaS and PaaS services. By default, all virtual servers are backed up in their entirety. Database and mail servers are backed up with agent application backup and file systems with agent file level bakcup, which allows for granular data recovery, and for databases we minimize RPO to 2 hours due to regular log backups. Backups have a base retention of 31 days and 4 cycles.
To ensure business continuity, all backups from DC Lausitz are additionally copied to the data centre in Prague to absolutely minimize possible data loss.
- IaaS_RP – VMware
- PaaS - RHEL, Oracle, SQL
- PC backup
- Connectivity - HQ and Internet
- Licenses - Microsoft, Oracle, RedHat, ESET
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