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AWS Lift and Shift

A Story of Owning Change

About BioTelemetry

Founded a quarter century ago, BioTelemetry remains committed to leading the mobile and wireless medical technology industry. BioTelemetry focuses on the delivery of health information to save and improve lives, while reducing the cost of care. The ability to invent and share ideas and technologies with others ensures that customers and patients receive the very best in care. Today, BioTelemetry provides cardiac and mobile blood-glucose monitoring, centralized medical imaging, and original equipment manufacturing, serving the healthcare and clinical research sectors.

Phillips BioTelemetry

Our engagement with 1Strategy was collaborative, positive and proactive—and resulted in a highly transparent and re-usable AWS and IaC technology solution that we can deploy against any environments.

Christopher Hahn, BioTelemetry

The Challenge

BioTelemetry wanted to modernize its strictly on-premises MSA1 application—which supports remote cardiac monitoring and data reporting—to the cloud to better support future growth and technology rollouts. Specifically, the company wanted to be better prepared to quickly leverage the latest and most advanced technologies with fault-tolerant and highly available cloud services and technologies. The company was looking for a highly collaborative cloud partner to direct and guide a “lift and shift” application migration process and leave behind clear operational artifacts for the company to use afterwards.

Why Amazon Web Services

BioTelemetry chose AWS as their public cloud provider for several reasons. The team understood that AWS is a robust and mature market leader that provides a scalable, reliable and secure global cloud computing infrastructure. Most of the team was familiar with AWS, and their IT team had implemented some AWS products already. Overall, the technology team at BioTelemetry found the AWS Application Migration Service (AWS MGN) very straightforward and easy to use.

The Benefits

MSA1 is a core and mission-critical system for BioTelemetry. The application needed to cut over to AWS in a timely and effective fashion. The BioTelemetry team was eager to take advantage of significant improvements in cloud-based failover, load-balancing and availability technologies. BioTelemetry was also keen to leverage Terraform Infrastructure as Code (IaC) to efficiently manage an ever-growing catalog of cloud services.

1Strategy wasted no time digging in. The team used AWS MGN to get create an initial image from the on-premises environment and then used that image to create a template that was modified iteratively for the final system. Unique and unexpected migration challenges were encountered and effectively resolved with key BioTelemetry stakeholders at each stage of the project.

For example, some environments simply failed to stage. In another instance, two MSA1 environments without access to public endpoints hampered AWS MGN functionality. AWS MGN encrypts all data, but the service relies upon access to public endpoints to migrate data. For the MSA1 use case—specific to a local configuration—BioTelemetry and 1Strategy improvised and worked collaboratively with advanced AWS support resources to craft a workaround. A specialized VPC was created that did not need to connect to public endpoints. The VPC leveraged conditional forwarders. AWS MGN agents were configured to use that VPC to connect to an on-premises service, ingest the data and move it privately. In another case, adding nodes to a failover cluster required close collaboration with high-level support resources at both Microsoft and AWS. Again, BioTelemetry and 1Strategy partnered closely to work with cloud providers to resolve the issues.

1Strategy delivered on multiple technical goals, such as migrating SQL Server databases to Amazon EC2, which is more robust and fault tolerant. JBoss and TIBCO servers were migrated smoothly. The TIBCO servers, in particular, were migrated with membership, ownership and file permissions intact. For JBoss servers, AWS MGN duplicated a single instance of each node, then created an image and three servers to support the JBoss user interface (UI), Dev interfaces, and the NEXUS UI. Terraform was then used in a straightforward fashion to efficiently reuse images that had already been spun up.

1Strategy delivered a robust, straightforward and repeatable IaC base that can be used against any environment—such as test, dev, qa, uat, prod—or with other BioTelemetry products. Just as important as technology, the level of partnership was extremely collaborative and transparent. Not only is IaC as a technology naturally more visible, but 1Strategy also clearly explained rationale and methodologies at every step, making the why and how of the engagement much more obvious. The approach helped BioTelemetry progress towards strong best practices as the project advanced from test to dev and beyond.

BioTelemetry worked closely and iteratively with 1Strategy to move through their configuration. Environments were delivered that became more robust, predictable and consistent as they progress towards prod. A logically hierarchical, consistent, and plain (requiring few calls out to libraries) code base was created. In any environment, variables, providers and main files are used in the same ways.

A decade’s worth of accumulated technical debt was resolved. Once the project got underway, the true volume and complexity of data became apparent. About 10TB of data representing millions of files and folders was migrated, mostly from production servers with just a single instance.

Although the engagement was envisioned as strictly lift and shift —no refactoring involved—efficient modifications have already been made to code that support special requests such as database changes and load balancing.

The work described in this engagement was originally completed by 1Strategy, a TEKsystems Global Services company acquired in 2019. As of June 2023, 1Strategy has fully integrated with TEKsystems Global Services to continue to deliver AWS expertise to customers. Learn more about our AWS solutions.

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