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The methods and motivations behind cloud application modernization efforts

Most business leaders understand the importance of updating their IT infrastructure. Still, many are grappling with how best to approach cloud application modernization efforts. The secret may lie in the growing abundance of cloud-based applications and networking solutions.

The Cloud isn’t merely an improvement upon existing database technology; it’s an entirely distinct networking environment that demands a new approach from organizations that hope to capitalize on it. According to a recent IDG survey, nearly 90% of responding IT executives expect IT modernization to significantly impact long-term growth. Another 90% report that digital transformation has accelerated over the past 18 months. As cloud computing becomes even more commonplace among businesses of all sizes, modernization will become crucial for readying your enterprise to tap into the Cloud. This post will explore why businesses seek to modernize their applications through the Cloud and the methodology behind various types of modernization.

What is cloud application modernization?

Application modernization refers to migrating legacy applications to the Cloud through various methods. The Cloud is constantly evolving, encompassing “multi-cloud architectures” that function differently from traditional data centers. For this reason, applications designed on legacy networking hardware must adapt to coexist with “the new Cloud.”

Revolutionary developments are also occurring in the virtual layers that bridge hardware and software, creating “microservices” that are leading to a new frontier of application management, integration, and portability. This signals a genuine change to the nature of IT across multiple industries, from research and manufacturing to commercial enterprises.

On top of being deployed in new ways, applications are now playing very different roles in daily life as the Cloud plays a more significant part in the modern world. With information constantly streaming through cyberspace, legacy networking infrastructures are struggling to keep up with the intensifying demands of application support. The lesson is that while applications grow in complexity, so must the systems that allow them to function. These myriad factors are adding up to a global data environment that is more connected and efficient than ever before. Developers can launch into production easily and with little delay, thanks to containerized microservices that enable smooth transitions between computing environments. However, these advances are only possible when an enterprise embraces cloud-native development systems and infrastructure. Teams must take care to migrate to these systems without compromising regular business operations.

Key results from application modernization

Another set of takeaways from the IDG survey revolves around the results gained from utilizing cloud application modernization. IT leaders report improvements in:
  • Quality of service.
  • User experience and satisfaction.
  • Improved business continuity.
  • Cost-efficiency and savings.
  • Resource optimization.
  • Business agility.
  • Increased uptime.

These, among other benefits, are some of the core reasons businesses seek modernization strategies.

Why modernize?

Initially, some elements of the IT industry assumed that cloud computing would be limited to smoothing out workload traffic that would bog down legacy infrastructure and speed up program deployment. However, the common understanding of the Cloud’s capabilities has evolved, and savvy enterprise leaders should be aware of the Cloud’s utility in various applications, including e-commerce, networked devices, and more.

In the IDG survey of IT professionals, 65% of respondents place high importance on accelerating application development and modernization to enable innovation, with 32% ranking it as “somewhat important.”

However, many respondents also reported difficulty in their modernization efforts, specifically regarding protecting their data and managing security risks.

Learn more: Supporting secure business solutions on the Cloud

Approaches to cloud application modernization

There are multiple avenues for organizations to approach modernization. DevOps, an organizational transformation practice that involves close coordination of teams and adopting automation wherever possible, is the most common method. In a nutshell, DevOps is a set of practices that merges software development and IT operations. Other technologies driving cloud application modernization include:


Containers are highly portable development environments. Applications can be moved to or developed in containers and later ported to their final home in the Cloud or multiple clouds. Highly scalable, these continuously running environments are a good choice when significant processing power is needed.


One-off functions are customized to run only when needed when utilizing a “serverless” approach. Microservices are a vital component in automation and software orchestration.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Creating more intelligent applications and processes is one way for businesses to future-proofing their offerings. Powered by AI and ML, applications can address gaps in automation, marketing, and security, just to name a few. According to the IDG survey, nearly half of respondents (48%) say optimizing data and analytics capabilities (AI, ML, IoT) for innovation is the top enterprise IT goal in 2022.

Common challenges in implementation

The struggle to modernize and keep up with the ever-changing world of cloud computing has more than its share of difficulties. Companies surveyed by IDG indicated that putting into action the many crucial improvements necessary to keep pace presents a significant challenge:

  • 44% reported gaps in tech skills and knowledge
  • 39% said that infrastructure is not optimized to support digital dexterity
  • 39% reported inadequate data analysis for decision making

The types of cloud application modernization

There are several ways to go about cloud application modernization. Including:
  • Lift and shift/Rehosting: This strategy moves an existing application from a legacy environment into a newer infrastructure. It is a low code approach.
  • Refactoring: Companies rewrite or restructure legacy code to work better in a cloud-native environment. It is a high code approach.
  • Replatforming: The middle ground between the above approaches, replatforming updates legacy applications backend without tampering with the core code. It is a medium code approach.

Learn More: Importance and benefits of app modernization

Future-proof your business with cloud application modernization

With these challenges in mind, today’s enterprises need to be aware of their options regarding technology partners who can empower application modernization efforts. The CBTS Application Services team has a proven track record of working closely with clients in many different verticals to modernize their applications for cloud environments.

The CBTS methodology aligns your business plan to your technology plan, nurtures constant feedback on functionality, and guides you through a customized roadmap that outlines each process step. Our agile development process shortens time to market and creates maximum visibility while managing applications in a cloud-first environment. And our fully hosted service options unburden IT teams, creating time and resources for you to focus on innovation. 

Contact us for more information on how CBTS can enable your application modernization strategies.

Why cellular signal repeaters are ineffective without DAS

The era of 5G communications is about to break wide open on the world economy, putting untold amounts of data in the hands of businesses and consumers and unleashing a vast array of new services, some of which will require uninterrupted connectivity to perform vital functions.

The fact remains, however, that cellular coverage on which these services depend is spotty at best within most buildings. Conventional materials like steel and concrete act as RF blockers, as do newer materials like eco-friendly windows. If building owners and managers do not take steps now to improve coverage within their facilities, critical applications are likely to fail. This will negatively impact not just the user’s quality of life but will also diminish the value of owned property, whether it is used for housing, retail space, entertainment, manufacturing, or some other purpose.

77% surveyed tenants list quality of mobile network coverage key consideration

The DAS advantage

While it may be tempting to simply place a cellular repeater on top of a building or utilize Wi-Fi extenders inside, both of these approaches provide limited improvements at best, particularly as usage and data traffic increase, which they most surely will under 5G. A more compelling solution is the Distributed Antenna System (DAS), a fiber-based technology that utilizes small, low-power antenna nodes to push connectivity into dead spots without hampering performance with latency and interference issues.

Unlike a repeater or booster system, DAS does not amplify or extend an existing cellular service. Instead, it generates its own coverage, which can then be amplified to the cellular carrier’s network to provide stable, reliable service from virtually anywhere.

DAS generates its own coverage, which can then be amplified to the cellular carrier’s network to provide stable, reliable service from virtually anywhere.

DAS is also easy to install and inexpensive to operate, with many solutions costing as little as $1.50 per square foot. At the same time, it is highly scalable, enabling resources to be more easily matched to data demands. This allows for rapid and simplified installation coupled with low operating costs because the network does not need to be over-provisioned with resources that sit idle most of the time during periods of low demand.

Yet another advantage that DAS has over Wi-Fi or cellular repeaters is the ability to locate users on a far more granular level. This offers advantages when the need for emergency services arises or when location-based applications are employed, and it allows network operators to more accurately analyze where data is being consumed within the building in order to deliver high Quality of Service (QoS) and to plan for future growth.

The right managed service partner

Few building owners and managers have the expertise to effectively manage high-tech communications networks, however, which is why finding the right partner to implement a DAS solution is essential. CBTS has been at the forefront of advanced network technologies for more than two decades and can deploy experienced engineering teams to provide a detailed analysis of indoor networking needs and then devise a DAS system that generates optimal coverage at minimal costs.

Whether the solution is deployed under a traditional infrastructure model or under a DAS-as-a-Service (DASaaS) model, CBTS offers full installation and integration with carrier networks, as well as 24×7 support and operations, plus detailed reporting and analysis to ensure the system remains in peak working condition even as data demands shift over time.

As the new decade unfolds, wireless service will transition from a simple convenience to a downright necessity. Connected devices will require nearly 100 percent uptime in order to fulfill their functional mandates, but this cannot happen if dead spots remain indoors due to blocked signals.

If building owners hope to maintain financial returns on their properties, they must take steps now to ensure robust data access throughout all enclosed areas. After all, when users cannot access their data in one location, they quickly move to a place that is properly connected.

Download the infographic about the benefits of 5G-ready, in-building wireless network.

Continue reading: Why a Distributed Antenna System is the best answer to in-building wireless dead spots

Contact us for more information on how CBTS can ensure effective 5G connectivity in your facility.

Why a Distributed Antenna System is the best answer to in-building wireless dead spots

Wireless connectivity is quickly becoming the distinguishing factor between success and failure in business. If you look across the entire economic spectrum, products and services that engage customers in an intuitive and helpful manner perform much better in terms of brand awareness, loyalty, and most importantly, sales.

This same phenomenon is taking place across the building ownership and management sector, which encompasses everything from apartment complexes, office buildings/campuses, resorts, warehouses, and manufacturing facilities. The more thorough and reliable the wireless coverage within a building, the easier it is for owners to attract and retain top-paying occupants, as well as lower their own operating costs and perhaps even create new revenue streams for themselves.

Bringing dead spots back to life

Wireless signal penetration is not always easy in large buildings, however. Common materials like steel and concrete can dampen or block RF signals entirely, while even some newer construction features like LEED-certified energy efficient windows can be problematic. In many cases, Wi-Fi extenders can improve indoor dead spots, but this is a partial solution at best. Full Wi-Fi coverage can get expensive depending on the size and layout of the building, and it can still cut out in the presence of high demand—which means tenants will likely fail to connect just when they need to most.

A far more effective solution is a fiber-based private in-building wireless network, such as private LTE or a Distributed Antenna System. Private LTE is a local cellular network that features cell sites and core network servers dedicated to supporting an organization’s requirements independent of public cellular service providers. It can be the better choice when large amounts of data that are transferred can stress the public network in a given area. It can be deployed anywhere—including areas beyond the reach of public carriers—and can keep data on-site for security reasons. And private LTE can be optimized to handle traffic types with specific requirements. For example, real-time IoT applications can be guaranteed with extremely low latency for immediate response.

A Distributed Antenna System (DAS) is designed from the ground up to provide full cellular coverage throughout any building. It is also compatible with any phone model and all cellular carriers, providing a lower-cost, scalable approach to the connectivity needs of large numbers of users.

Using DAS, building owners will place themselves at the forefront of the wireless revolution, particularly as data demands increase significantly with the advent of 5G. Among the key benefits are:

  • A scalable architecture that meets dynamic data needs without having to over-provision network resources that then remain idle most of the time.
  • Access to the latest 4G and 5G services, including next-generation intelligent applications that can create new revenue streams and lower maintenance and other costs.
  • Connectivity to most 911 platforms and other emergency services.
  • Faster data throughput and more streamlined traffic management to deliver high-quality connectivity at all times.

Few building owners have the in-house skills or knowledge to deploy and maintain cutting-edge networks, of course, which is why partnering with a leader in the field is essential. CBTS has a long history of designing and engineering the latest communications technologies, and we have now turned that expertise toward private LTE and DAS. Our solution features a streamlined design capable of broad customization and easy installation. At the same time, we back it up with a full-service operations and maintenance contract, including integration with leading carrier platforms. In this way, clients can focus their efforts on improving service to their tenants and generating new revenue streams for themselves while we handle the network.

As strange as it may seem given that mobile communications have been with us for several decades, the power of this technology is still in its nascent stage. As the world becomes more connected, virtually everything around us will become dependent on access to wireless networks. Property owners and businesses in general would do well to stay ahead of the curve, and the easiest and least costly way to do that is by partnering with a seasoned technology expert who knows the ins and outs of modern networking.

Contact us for more information on how CBTS can help you implement a distributed antenna system and private in-building wireless network solution.

Setting up Aruba Instant

The Aruba Instant allows you to be the boss of your network. Our leading engineer Brennan Klensch explains how it works in this vlog.

CBTS and public cloud: The on-ramp to the digital economy

“Digital modernization” is the catch-all phrase representing the change from the product-focused business model of the last century to the more digital services-facing world of today. Network infrastructure plays a key role in this transition, turning from a static, fixed resource to a more flexible entity capable of serving a wide variety of needs at a moment’s notice.

Recently, a large national services provider managing more than 50 million loans from its headquarters in Cincinnati found that its aging infrastructure was no longer able to keep up with the demands of modern finance. In addition, the burdens of maintenance and upkeep for legacy systems were becoming too much to bear, both financially and in terms of time and effort.

A guiding hand

The company has an AWS public cloud-first strategy but taking advantage of all of the services and features can be a challenge for a busy IT team. With CBTS’ help, however, the firm was able to implement a state-of-the-art cloud environment capable of handling even the most complex workloads at extreme scale, all while reducing operating budgets, improving security, and delivering on a wide range of additional goals and objectives. CBTS began by conducting an in-depth analysis to document existing application dependencies, as well as identify the company’s unique system requirements and operational procedures. One of the key advantages of cloud services, powered on AWS, is that they can be easily configured to the client’s business objectives, providing a smooth transition from legacy infrastructure to a more streamlined, forward-leaning ecosystem.

Within three months, CBTS had developed a roadmap and communications plan to coordinate the phasing out of old infrastructure and migration to the new environment. This included the development of a cloud-based disaster recovery environment, as well as a full suite of security precautions to mitigate risk to critical data.

With this in place, CBTS then oversaw the transition to the new environment. Ultimately, nearly 600 end-of-life servers were decommissioned, along with 468 databases and 164 applications. More than 30 applications were migrated to AWS within the first year, averaging one app every two weeks, and more than 25 OS versions were consolidated down to two standard AWS versions. Overall, more than 14,000 lines of code had to be written to pull the environment together.

Ready for the future

The end result is a streamlined, modernized ecosystem that reduced the client’s data center footprint by 50 percent and vastly cut the cost of IT and the management burden on existing staff. Significant savings were realized through the elimination of underutilized hardware and reductions in application licensing costs.

Meanwhile, the firm benefits from a dramatically improved security posture based on a Well-Architected Framework design featuring the latest in both threat detection and damage reduction, all of which is incorporated into the overall operating cost of the environment with little to no direct responsibility for patches and upgrades on the client.

In terms of normal operations, the environment is designed for an Infrastructure-as-Code model in which virtualized resources are made available through an automated process that masks the normal provisioning and mapping procedures under layers of abstraction. In this way, the client is able to define the business objectives of their IT needs while CBTS takes on the responsibility of matching the right technology, which ultimately provides a repeatable and auditable infrastructure that is less prone to errors and delivers consistent and measurable outcomes.

Many organizations—particularly those that have established their own private clouds—no doubt feel that migrating to AWS is a simple procedure, and in many ways it is. But the challenge going forward is not simply to outsource to the cloud but to devise a cloud environment that leverages the vast services and automation capabilities within the public cloud.

For that, the assistance of an Advanced AWS provider with a Well-Architected program can be essential in achieving success. Through careful planning and coordinated execution, modern enterprises can leverage CBTS and AWS to support their existing tools and skillsets even as longer-term plans are being developed to address the challenges inherent in the next-generation digital economy.

To learn how CBTS can help with your digital transition, visit the Cloud Solutions on AWS resource.

Read more: Delivering the Promise of Microsoft Workloads on AWS

CBTS showcases HPE partnership at Discover 2019

The blizzard of innovation at this year’s Hewlett Packard Enterprise Discover 2019 conference is a testament to HPE’s bold technology and business model innovation bets.

CBTS, which is an HPE Platinum partner, was among the conference participants, and Ron Nemecek, Business Alliance Manager for CBTS, participated in a panel discussion. Ron discussed a recent CBTS-HPE collaboration on behalf of a global financial services firm that needed to refresh its data center infrastructure for multiple United Kingdom locations.

CBTS and HPE partnered on a solution that features the latest technology, is sized effectively, and is structured to align the costs of the refresh and new IT infrastructure to the business usage. The solution is delivered via HPE GreenLake Flex Capacity to eliminate the extensive cost of over-provisioning.

It’s a great example of how HPE’s innovation has extended beyond tech products and services into business outcomes for customers, Ron said.

“The new innovation that HPE brings to the marketplace is business solutions and business outcomes that are really desired by our customers, because they only want to pay for what they use moving forward,” Ron said.

“Customers are telling us that CBTS and HPE have listened to what they have been asking for years — getting them out of paying for technology they are not going to use.”

Nemecek said customers are impressed with the GreenLake consumption experience.

“They can’t believe that it is true, and that a company came to them with a partnership to solve the business problem they have had for decades,” Ron said. “That is the innovation that HPE has brought to the marketplace, and they have empowered it through partners with GreenLake 3.0.”

Ron said he sees exponential growth ahead with GreenLake.

“This is what our customers are looking for, and we are going to address their needs,” he said.

Click here to learn how partnering with CBTS drives cutting-edge capabilities.

CBTS, HPE partner to support global financial firm

A global financial services firm recently turned to CBTS to help refresh its data center infrastructure for multiple United Kingdom locations. CBTS and HPE partnered on a solution that features the latest technology, is sized effectively, and is structured to align the costs of the refresh and new IT infrastructure to the business usage.

A thorough review of the client’s IT requirements and technology needs determined that the new infrastructure would be optimized by a combination of HPE Synergy, HPE 3PAR, and HPE StoreOnce.  The solution is delivered via HPE GreenLake Flex Capacity to eliminate the extensive cost of over-provisioning.

This collaboration on behalf of our client exemplifies the powerful CBTS-HPE relationship. Ron Nemecek, Business Alliance Manager at CBTS, recently shared his thoughts about working with HPE while attending HPE Discover, where he participated in the partner panel discussion.

Please discuss the CBTS-HPE partnership.

At CBTS we trust in our strategic relationship with HPE.  This trust, nurtured over 30-plus years, is the foundation of our success with HPE.  Our relationship with HPE at all levels is predictable and enables CBTS to address clients’ needs quickly and effectively, driving business results.

How does the HPE portfolio and partner programs, trainings and executive support help CBTS win business and grow?

The extensive HPE portfolio of products and services is critical to our ability to assemble comprehensive, valuable, and innovative IT solutions for our clients.  By taking advantage of HPE certifications, local training events, HPE Aspire, and webinars, our CBTS team is always at the forefront in understanding the latest products and innovations available from HPE.

Our clients benefit from the CBTS HPE subject matter expertise and our extensive experience in delivering HPE solutions across multiple industries in the global marketplace. CBTS greatly values our relationships and access to HPE executives, our executive sponsors, partner business managers, and other strategic resources.  These relationships with HPE enable CBTS to support our valued clients, earn their business in the most complex situations, and maintain this business relationship over the long term.

How do you go above and beyond for your customers?

CBTS invests in our associates’ pursuit of HPE certifications.  Currently, CBTS associates hold over 260 HPE technical and sales certifications.  Our clients benefit greatly by engaging with our extensive staff of HPE-certified professionals who are subject matter experts in all HPE products and services.

Clients can effectively evaluate all options and collaborate with CBTS on the solution that will result in the right business outcome. We enhance the investment in our client relationships by hosting them at local HPE events, HPE Discover, Aruba Atmosphere, and our exclusive CBTS/HPE andAruba quarterly briefing events at the HPE EBC.


Learn more about the agile and responsive IT solutions offered by our IT experts.

Read about how CBTS partnered with a major global specialty retailer to optimize its eCommerce performance to maximize uptime and ensure security.

Our secret to success: Our people

There is no doubt that people are the key asset to any organization’s success. Even in today’s technologically driven world, it is still the human assets that differentiate an organization from its competitors.

At CBTS, our people bring considerable value through sharing their deep expertise, experience in nearly every industry vertical. Our people have a total of 2,800+ certifications. Needless to say, our people are equipped to transform any business, including our own.

But the real magic is that our people share the same drive, focus, and serious commitment to our clients’ success as our clients hold for themselves.

So, what do our people think about the value that they provide?

Chris DeBrunner, Director – Tools, Delivery & Operations

Chris started at the service desk 19 years ago and worked his way up through tools. He had several jobs inside of the compute space. Now he and his team focus solely on the tools that we use to support our clients. His team monitors and supports approximately 50,000 devices daily. This adds up to 1.5 million device components and over a half million interfaces. His team also intercepts 500 million logs every 30 days.

“Our tools provide insights and access to the engineers that work on client gear, making sure that we are delivering, and the environment is delivering for the client.”

Kevin Muldoon, Senior Director – Cloud Transformation

Kevin started in IT consulting and application development. He was fortunate to work with large corporations as well as startups. Before joining CBTS, he worked for Microsoft managing commercial software across the globe. Kevin’s team focuses on cloud transformation and assists our clients with their cloud migrations and data center transformations.

“I think the most critical value that we provide is simplification. Our goal is to enable clients to adopt new products, new technologies, new services, to build a foundation, and let the client focus on doing business-critical work.”

Jim Vorwold, Vice President – Service Delivery & Operations

Jim began his career in product management and rapidly advanced to program management, up through sales, sales engineering, engineering, and solution design. Today, he oversees a team that supports the cloud business, the communications business, and three major programs within CBTS.

“Clients entrust us with their infrastructure–the crown jewels for any business. So, basically, we are running their business for them.”

Darrin Manning, Senior Director – Cloud Operations

Darrin’s career has taken him from IT support to the TelCom industry. He is a 15 year veteran of CBTS.

“Our clients depend on their IT systems to run their business, to deliver their service to their customers. And we ensure that they can do that on a consistent basis.”

Hope Thackery, Director – Security Programs

Hope has an international privacy certification and ensures that CBTS improves the maturity of our security program every year.

“Clients are often visibly relieved when they hear about the security we have, and they know that we speak the language that their auditors are going to use.”

Dusty Baker, Manager – Network Technical Operations

Dusty works on a number of devices including Cisco, Brocade, and 40 Gate. He also works on a lot of technologies like Route Switch, Firewall, IPS, Load Bouncing, and Wireless. His team spends their time designing, analyzing operations, and tailoring solutions to meet the needs of our CBTS clients.

“We’re here for our customers 24/7. Our job is to make our clients look good to their customers.”

Keith Talbot, Director – Service Management

Keith’s professional background is in IT operations, architecture, and service delivery.

“We manage all the services so that our clients have a seamless experience across all of the products they purchase.”

Daniel Tackett, Cloud Engineer III

Daniel works in between day one and day two operations. His team is responsible for design, implementation, RDS, and transition hand-over to second-day ops. He makes sure there is a smooth transition between the two shifts.

“Our impact is no impact. We set up environments to go weeks to months with no incident. And our regular check-ins help make sure everything’s going smooth, or see if there’s anything that needs to be updated.”

Susan Artz, Enterprise Solution Architect

As a part of the sales process, CBTS brings in the SAs, like Susan. SAs discover, create, design and build long-term solutions before transitioning them over to operations.

“Our work alleviates the pressure of ongoing management and maintenance. Clients can count on us to maintain their environment, monitor it, keep it up and available.”

CBTS experts have you covered

At CBTS, our people are our experts.

Our people have unmatched experience and qualifications in the solutions that help our clients stay future-proof. They have leveraged their skills and education to solve our clients’ needs for:

  • Cloud
  • Data Center
  • Compute Storage
  • Data Protection
  • Infrastructure
  • Networking
  • Windows
  • Unix
  • Linux
  • Collaboration Technologies
  • IT Staffing

Our cloud engineers are highly trained in and certified experts in the Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud platforms. Our full stack developers focus on fixing problems with code and system administration.

Aside from how knowledgeable our teams are, they are exceptionally proficient at taking care of your business like it was their own.

“Clients know their business. They shouldn’t have to worry about the technology. That’s what we’re here for.”

Joe Hoover
Network Engineer IV

Managed services solution enables client transformation

A fresh start is sometimes exactly what an enterprise needs to modernize data infrastructure and shift processes to a forward-leaning, digital-ready framework. Such was the case with Unilever Federal Credit Union when it recently decided to relocate its main campus, and embrace a managed services solution.

Unilever FCU is a full-service, single-sponsor, non-profit financial institution that is owned by its members and governed by an elected board of directors. Its Corporate Credit Union is Alloya Corporate FCU. This organization provides a range of credit union services, such as compliance guidance and managed services solutions through a partnership with CBTS.

New data environment included key requirements

To bring its services in-line with today’s digital economy, Unilever FCU had to fulfill a number of requirements for its new data environment:

  1. Deploy its own network infrastructure. To ensure both operational efficiency and meet regulatory requirements.
  2. Upgrade its data resources. To accommodate rapid growth and the development of new products and services.
  3. Implement an in-depth data protection strategy. To support the needs of a modern financial institution.

But since every challenge is an opportunity, Unilever FCU seized on this project to implement a wholesale reimagining of the existing data center infrastructure.

Client operates in heavily regulated environment

A key challenge for any financial institution is meeting the regulatory requirements imposed by both regional and national authorities.

In UFCU’s case, this involved maintaining stringent levels of security and data availability, while also developing new services to provide members greater flexibility for their banking needs. This became increasingly difficult to do with aging infrastructure.

Solution leverages managed services model

In consultation with both Alloya Corporate FCU and CBTS, Unilever FCU decided to switch to a managed services model using a hybrid data center and networking infrastructure solution. In this way, the company benefits from:

  1. A high-availability cloud for all production.
  2. Data protection.
  3. Backup and disaster recovery services.
  4. A full suite of services for remote network monitoring and management.

CBTS has expertise to support complex managed services projects

A project of this magnitude requires a deep understanding of infrastructure needs and the emerging business objectives they will ultimately support. CBTS worked closely with UFCU to first design the environment, and then to define the ongoing responsibilities to maintain a tested and proven data ecosystem.

CBTS provides a cohesive solution

We began by assessing the current environment and establishing a set of success-based business objectives. We then developed new policies to guide the design and deployment of a new secure network.

For production workloads, we established a high-availability, multitenant cloud with managed backup and disaster recovery services across multiple CBTS data centers. This places primary production environments within a fully managed, high-availability CBTS cloud. A secondary offsite offers backup and full data replication for Disaster Recovery applications. This environment is subject to complete documentation and annualized testing.

The solutions allowed CBTS to assume responsibility for managing and monitoring key functions, such as network authentication based on group policies developed in conjunction with Unilever. In addition, our experts guided the client’s IT staff on the proper way to pull reports for auditing purposes to ensure regulatory compliance. CBTS oversees any and all third-party integrations and other support needs for the new environment.

Solution meets client’s needs, helps drive business outcomes

Today, Unilever FCU enjoys a state-of-the-art data ecosystem with redundant, secure and universal Internet-based access. We also provided a letter of attestation proving that UFCU is committed to ensuring full protection against downtime and data loss. We work with both UFCU and Alloya to continuously refine regulatory documentation to address stringent compliance requirements.

And as a fully managed environment, Unilever FCU can now relieve its internal IT staff of the day-to-day burdens of operating a data center to focus on more productive pursuits involving the delivery of outstanding member services.

Next step in application, infrastructure modernization

One of the more interesting aspects of modern cloud computing is the evolution from an extension of existing data center infrastructure to a unique means of supporting next-generation applications and services – a process that requires infrastructure modernization.

The initial use cases for the cloud were to burst standard enterprise workloads when traffic overwhelmed legacy IT infrastructure, and to allow line-of-business managers to quickly launch resources to meet their business objectives. Fast-forward 15 years or so, and the cloud is now the preferred solution for a wide range of critical applications. The applications include e-commerce, social media, and emerging IoT services like autonomous cars and smart cities.

Changing environment drives need for infrastructure modernization

How cloud differs from traditional legacy data centers

Today’s enterprises need to modernize their applications. This comes as the cloud evolves into multi-cloud architectures, each of which may host multiple tenants on the same basic infrastructure. And naturally, the cloud operates differently from the traditional legacy data center. Most cloud providers, for example, employ highly sophisticated load balancing and resource provisioning software. This often produces conflicts for applications designed for the more fixed relationships found in legacy infrastructure. In addition, the sheer scale of the cloud can overwhelm some older apps that were designed to function with relatively limited resources and data sets.

IT infrastructure modernization on virtual layer

Meanwhile, changes are also happening on the virtual layer of IT infrastructure, producing entirely new forms of abstraction that will alter the way applications are coded and provisioned. Container-based solutions like Docker, and related management platforms like Kubernetes, are fundamentally altering the relationship between hardware and software to provide new levels of portability and application integration. This has already led to the creation of microservices, which are tiny slices of code that can be mixed and matched using open APIs to produce entirely new services on the fly. Microservices are starting to infiltrate data environments across the board, from traditional manufacturing and commercial settings to advanced scientific research.

App development, deployment constantly evolving

But the changes affecting applications in the new century go much deeper than their relationships to infrastructure. The ways in which apps are created, deployed, and managed, plus the very roles they play in daily life, are all different, thanks in large part to the digital environment created by the cloud. As virtually everything around us becomes connected to digital infrastructure, streaming live data 24x7x365, the enterprise finds itself having to ditch the old ways of app creation and support. Today, the enterprise needs infrastructure modernization in order to support newer methods of continuous integration and continuous development (CI/CD) found in emerging DevOps models.

Non-stop development and integration

In the modern business climate, new services and features must be rolled out at a steady pace to prevent drawn out development cycles that usually result in disrupted services, poor performance, and unhappy users. We’ve already seen how a simple mobile app can upend long-standing industries like transportation and hospitality. Going forward, we can expect more of the same as connectivity expands to everyday items under the Internet of Things.

In this world, the future belongs to those who can push new services to consumers quicker, and without hampering existing levels of service.

The transition to efficient data ecosystems

All of these developments are starting to coalesce into a highly efficient data ecosystem. DevOps can be kicked into high gear with containers’ ability to move services and microservices from one computing environment to another without any recoding. This was not possible even under the most advanced non-containerized virtual environment. Meanwhile, continuous delivery methodologies are enhanced by cloud-native application development that leverages capabilities like IT orchestration and automated scripting. Thus, infrastructure modernization become mission critical to the enterprise.

The effects on enterprise performance

Forward-leaning organizations are already reporting a 95 percent or better improvement in the amount of time developers spend on enhancing business value rather than wading through the morass of resource provisioning and management. And this is translating to:

  1. Significantly lower development and operational costs.
  2. Revenue enhancements.
  3. The ability to tap into new revenue streams and new market opportunities.

For organizations that are lagging behind with infrastructure modernization, time is of the essence as your competitors may already be ahead of the curve. With 5G connectivity poised to push IoT functionality to an entirely new level in the next decade, the enterprise is under pressure to make the infrastructure modernization to cloud-native, DevOps-style IT sooner rather than later.

CBTS can help with your infrastructure modernization

CBTS stands ready to help implement infrastructure modernization changes quickly, effectively, and without disrupting existing services. Our team of experts has a proven track record in implementing next-generation, cloud-native application and infrastructure delivery so that you can concentrate on improving your time to market, eliminating downtime, and leveraging automation to ease your management burdens.