Onix Guides The Garland Company through AWS Cloud Expansion

Posted by Robin Suttell, Content Marketer, - Aug 13, 2020

The Garland Company has continuously evolved to keep business growing and roofs over people’s heads since 1895. Part of this Cleveland-based manufacturer’s longevity is that its leadership isn’t shy about adopting the latest technologies.

This is reflected in the company’s move from legacy computing systems to the cloud. Recently, The Garland Company decided to expand some of its cloud computing infrastructure within Amazon Web Services (AWS) to further increase its competitive leadership in the commercial building industry.

Challenges in Cloud Environment Code Changes

Garland has a complex digital network that spans its headquarters, data centers and multiple cloud-services providers. As it began its expansion deeper into the AWS cloud, it encountered some challenges with the initial architecture. 

Garland

The company already had an established footprint in the AWS cloud. As the IT team moved deeper into it, they encountered issues with integrating the existing network infrastructure into a new AWS Landing Zone. This included CIDR blocks and routes.

AWS Landing Zone leverages AWS security and architectural best practices to help users create a secure, multi-account environment. It streamlines this process by automating setup for environments running secure, scalable workloads and implementing a security baseline by creating core accounts and workloads. 

Garland wanted to ensure this new infrastructure could meet the needs of not just this expansion effort but also future ones, so using AWS Landing Zone was a must. The company’s IT team reached out to AWS Advanced Consulting Partner Onix for an assist.

Tackling an AWS Expansion with the Right Tools

As a lean IT organization, Garland’s leadership wanted to get the appropriate insight and direction for this expansion to ensure the foundation they were setting up was scalable and would allow them to continue on a successful cloud journey.

The engineers on Onix’s AWS team dove into the project. Using AWS Well-Architected Framework, the team focused on implementing five pillars to build Garland’s high-performing, resilient architecture, including:

  • IT team working collaboratingPerforming operations as code
  • Making only small, frequent, reversible changes
  • Refining operations procedures frequently
  • Anticipating failure
  • Learning from these failures

First, Onix planned the AWS Landing Zone and showed Garland how to set it up, based on the current computing environment’s data sources and networking needs. Onix engineers then tested several Landing Zone versions using CloudFormation inside a sandbox.

An effective provisioning tool, AWS CloudFormation allows users to test and model their infrastructure and application resources with either a simple text file or common programming languages. 

Automated and secure, CloudFormation provisions resources in a safe, repeatable way that removes the need for manual actions or custom scripts. It efficiently chooses the right operations to manage your stack, make the needed changes and automatically roll back these changes if it detects errors.

AWS CloudFormation allows users to test and model their infrastructure and application resources with either a simple text file or common programming languages. 

Using CloudFormation allowed Onix to review and customize the deployment scripts in the sandbox before implementing the changes into Garland’s live cloud computing environment. This ensured all code changes would work in the actual AWS cloud post-deployment.

troubleshootingOnce they deployed this script, the Onix team completed network troubleshooting and tested ingoing and outgoing node connectivity in the expanded AWS environment. They achieved this using a number of AWS services in addition to CloudFormation.

The deployment team used Amazon Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) to provision isolated sections of the cloud in order to launch AWS resources in a custom-defined virtual network for complete control over the virtual networking environment.

The Amazon Direct Connect tool allowed the team to link the internal network to a designed AWS Direct Connect location using only a standard Ethernet fiber-optic cable. This allowed them to create direct virtual interfaces to the AWS cloud and their VPCs and bypass ISPs in their network path.

A central hub connection through Amazon Transit Gateway gave Garland’s expanded cloud environment additional connectivity to VPCs and on-premise networks. This tool acts as a cloud router that simplifies network architecture, keeping traffic between VPCs and the Gateway on the AWS Global Network. This eliminates any exposure to the public internet.

Garland now also uses Amazon Identity and Access Management (IAM) to create and manage user groups and permissions, targeting exactly who has the permissions to access various AWS resources, either completely or based on fine-tuned, specified conditions.

Success in the AWS Cloud

analyzing dataOnix successfully empowered Garland’s IT team to migrate their cloud computing environment into AWS using a highly secure, well-architected foundational environment based on AWS solutions and best practices.  

To position Garland for continued success, Onix also educated the company’s IT team about additional AWS tools that will support future expansion, including AWS CodePipeline and Honeycode. 

CodePipeline is a fully managed continuous delivery service designed to automate release pipelines so users can run fast, reliable apps and infrastructure updates. The tool automates the build, release and test processes to speed releases.

To position Garland for continued success, Onix also educated the company’s IT team about additional AWS tools that will support future expansion, including AWS CodePipeline and Honeycode.

Newly launched Amazon Honeycode also will streamline future updates by allowing IT to build web and mobile apps without writing code, using a familiar spreadsheet model with templates for common applications. 

Through careful planning prior to the migration, not to mention an eye on future growth, Garland Company now has the capability to expand other workloads in order to take advantage of AWS cloud services and reliability.

"With Onix's deep technical expertise around AWS, we were able to achieve a secure landing zone to allow our organization to scale as we begin to leverage more AWS solutions in the future," notes Ryan Schutz, Manager of Application Development for Garland's information technology department.

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MEET THE AUTHOR

Robin Suttell, Content Marketer

Robin Suttell, Content Marketer

Robin is Onix's Content Marketer. She has devoted her career to the written word, developing strategic, thoughtful, relevant copy that educates, engages and entertains, both as a working journalist and marketing pro. At Onix, she oversees all marketing content initiatives for the leading cloud consultancy and solutions provider. When she's not doing the content thing, Robin continues to hone her skills an amateur car and shower singer while dreaming of gigs at a piano bar, a la The Fabulous Baker Boys. No one has called, so she remains content writing about cloud computing trends.

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