Major Global Retailer.

Migrate the tail end of applications for a major global retailer, through an automated, agile approach.

The Challenge.

As a major global retailer with more than 100,000 employees worldwide, the company has a significant online presence and thousands of stores located around the world. The retailer was an early adopter of the cloud, having started its cloud migration and transformation journey several years ago. 

However, during a number of years, different application teams have migrated to the cloud, employing different methodologies based on different standards, often using low-cost providers to carry out the migrations. 

Over time, the retailer found that this approach didn’t scale efficiently, and that it introduced a high level of complexity in terms of operations. Furthermore, the approach contributed to creating a higher cost base than desired, while at the same time not allowing for a consistent approach to dealing with security and vulnerabilities across the estate. 

The retailer wanted to address the migration of one of several mission critical systems, which was targeted for sunsetting within a few years. In the interim, a decision was made to migrate it to lower overall costs, and enable modernisation of certain components of it and eliminate some of its technical debt.   

The Solution: Migrating and Replatforming to Azure.

A joint Nordcloud + IBM team managed three delivery streams – migration, remediation and optimisation. We engaged with a core team responsible for overall planning and management, and with the individual execution teams for actual execution. 

Nordcloud delivered a highly agile set-up to facilitate high throughput and to be able to drive continuous automation of our deliveries. Each 3 month PI (product increment) consists of 6 execution sprints, and depending on complexity and size, we engage using 6-8 Pods per PI. We coordinated with product owners and third-party teams to drive and execute the agreed activities, and an external auditor to sign off the results. 

The full scope included some 30 VMs and SQL databases (approx. plus 50 individual databases), making up multi-tiered systems with multiple components. Three options were available:

  • Rehost of application and database servers, no use of PaaS/SaaS components
  • Rehost of application, replatform of SQL to PaaS
  • Re-architect off application, using containers and PaaS. 

The decision was made to go for the first option, and the migration was slotted into the appropriate PI to be executed, starting with the lower environments, working the way up towards the production environments. 

The Results.

The joint Nordcloud + IBM team successfully delivered the migration of an application that hadn’t been addressed in the previous migration initiatives. 

Despite being marked for sunsetting, the business case showed a migration to the cloud should lower the overall TCO, and allow for a number of modernisation activities to exit legacy technologies.

Key results realised:

  • An industrialised way of handling the migration combined with automation 
  • Significant cost savings compared to as-is situation
  • Cost effective adoption of cloud security best-practices, e.g. posture management, compliance, authentication and authorisation. 
  • Furthermore, over a period of 2 years, Nordcloud and IBM helped the retailer to migrate, remediate and optimise more than 200 applications, distributed across more than 100 different product teams globally.