How Cloud Storage is Used by BMG, UConn Health, VBO Tickets, Sesame Workshop, Ankabut: Case Studies

As companies face data storage challenges, many are looking to the cloud for help.

They do so partly to reduce on-premises server dependency and take advantage of cloud-based services and usage-based pricing models.

The five case studies below highlight how organizations in different industries are using cloud storage.

1. BMG

BMG is a Berlin-based music company handling recording and publishing for newer and well-established artists. The robust popularity of streaming services necessitated that BMG executives find an updated way to calculate royalty payments. Getting paid accurately means knowing when, where, and how someone heard a song. BMG provides a customized service for artists to help with this.

“We make sure that everyone who uses our clients’ music knows who needs to be paid the associated royalties, then we collect these royalties and share them out quickly and transparently,” explained Sebastian Hentzschel, chief information officer at BMG.

BMG offers a web portal and mobile app artists can use to see real-time royalties and collect payments. Gaurav Mittal, the vice president of group technology at BMG, discusses how much more difficult streaming can make royalty calculations.

“One CD sale is equivalent to about 1,500 streamed songs or plays,” said Mittal. “That means IT departments have to process 1,500 times the amount of data to calculate payments for artists, and this makes scalable micropayment processing very important.”

BMG used on-premises data storage until 2019, but leaders realized it was time to move to cloud computing to remain competitive.

“With our on-premises infrastructure, we were going to hit a ceiling in a few years. We still managed to process royalty payments for our clients, but it was increasingly time-consuming and expensive,” said Mittal. “To keep focusing on our clients, rather than our infrastructure, we decided to migrate to Google Cloud.”

Mittal said this cloud-computing project would finish ahead of schedule, and it already makes royalty-processing teams more productive. It can self-serve the necessary analytics without waiting for help from IT teams. This move also allows BMG to spend more time focused on helping artists.

Industry: Music

Cloud storage products: Google Cloud Storage and Cloud SQL

Outcomes:

  • 75% reduction in income-tracking IT workloads
  • Improved employee satisfaction and productivity
  • Ability to process 1,500 times more data

2. UConn Health

The UConn Health system has a teaching hospital and three schools, plus 5,000 employees and 3,000 medical researchers. It’s easy to see how such a presence would cause leaders to consider cloud storage solutions. However, any cloud computing service on the shortlist must prioritize security. Protecting data and business content is essential in robust cloud security.

Commvault was one of the service providers company leaders selected to meet its goals.

“Instead of building a $20 million secondary data center, we decided to use more hosted services,” said Michael Catrini, assistant vice president of UConn Health. “With its ability to Protect data across multiple locations and multiple platforms, Commvault has been key to enabling this change.”

UConn Health aspires to transform laboratory insights into actions that cause positive clinical outcomes. Thus, people need the ability to retrieve and analyze large volumes of information on demand. The organization now has a hybrid cloud environment that allows the data storage of more than 3.2 petabytes (PB), 10,000 end-user devices, 850 virtual machines, 420 physical servers, and 430 applications.

“With Commvault, we can reduce our reliance on physical servers and desktops, which means we can focus internal IT resources on supporting our researchers and customers,” Catrini said.

Before working with that service provider, UConn Health used four disparate backup systems to protect against loss. However, it still relied on bare-metal data restores. In one instance, a server failure compromised months of research. The organization now has both security and flexibility from its data storage solutions.

“Commvault gives us complete control of our corporate data and intellectual property,” said Catrini. “We can now move cloud workloads more easily between providers, which means we can take advantage of the best prices. This has reduced the cost per cloud server by around 20%.”

Industry: Medicine and higher education

Cloud storage products: Commvault Complete Backup & Recovery, NetApp Cloud Backup, NetApp servers, and Microsoft Azure

Outcomes:

  • $20 million in cost avoidance achieved by choosing cloud computing in favor of building a new data center
  • 85% reduction in the expenses associated with storing 1.75PB of research information
  • Average 20% reduction in cloud server operating costs by simplifying the migration process between cloud providers as needed

3. Ankabut

Ankabut is the largest education industry-focused information and communication technology provider in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The company’s current reach extends to more than 35 educational institutions spread across 80 campuses. Ankabut’s services include cloud computing but extend to equipment room and cabinet hosting, managed support, training, and more.

Ankabut’s leaders envisioned creating the best education-related cloud environment in the UAE. It did so with various solutions from Huawei, including a full-stack hybrid cloud. Ankabut’s decision-makers also wanted to make a substantial contribution to the UAE’s position in the global educational landscape. Those executives realized that the right technological solutions could make the country more competitive and adaptable to progress.

“This project represents one of the largest investments made in the UAE’s education sector in 2019 and will strengthen the UAE’s position as a regional leader in educational services,” explained Fahem Al Nuaimi, Ankabut’s CEO. “Huawei’s technology enables us to offer cloud services to our partner institutions throughout the UAE, which makes the academic process more efficient, reducing expenses and boosting collaborative work to benefit education and research facilities alike.”

Industry: Education technology

Cloud storage products: Huawei CLOUD Stack and CloudFabric

Outcomes:

  • Cloud storage and access available to educational and research institutions throughout the UAE
  • Users can access intelligent campus management, e-learning, and interactive teaching

4. VBO Tickets

Since its establishment in 2012, VBO Tickets has experienced impressive success and sells approximately 2.5 million tickets annually. However, executives noticed room for improvement. Therefore, VBO Tickets sought the assistance of Mission Cloud Services to positively change its existing usage of cloud storage and computing products from Amazon Web Services (AWS).

“We did not have the load-balancing capabilities required to handle the spikes in online traffic that our clients sometimes experience,” said David Boehme, co-founder and developer of the VBO Tickets software platform. “We also wanted to make it easier to scale our cloud environment to accommodate the anticipated continuing growth.”

Figuring out the best way forward was not easy.

“We first considered hiring someone to manage our AWS architecture, but our strength is coding software, so that’s where our focus must be. We knew we could optimize our coding output by relying on a third party that specializes in AWS to re-architect our cloud environment,” said Boehme.

The hard work paid off and enabled VBO Tickets to open a new office in South Africa. It also began utilizing AWS in Germany to reach European customers.

One of the cloud storage changes was to move the ticketing database from a shared to a managed AWS Relational Database Services (RDS) database with Microsoft SQL to decouple shared resources and enhance overall performance. The Mission Cloud Services team also utilized AWS CloudTrail for logging purposes and AWS CloudWatch for infrastructure monitoring.

“Thanks to Mission, we now have a high-functioning cloud hosting environment that can scale when necessary,” Boehme explained. “We can easily add more web servers and expand our database capacity. These capabilities are vital because the bigger we grow, the more prepared we need to be for events that can cause sudden increases in ticket-buying activity.”

Industry: Event ticketing

Cloud storage products: Amazon Web Services, AWS CloudWatch, AWS CloudTrail, and Mission Cloud Services

Outcomes:

  • Ability to scale compute and storage resources as needed when expanding facilitated the creation of a cloud-based development environment that accelerates code changes, tests, and deployment
  • Provided a secure load-balancing solution to handle traffic spikes within the cloud environment

5. Sesame Workshop

The Sesame Workshop has several decades of history, reaching millions of kids worldwide to educate and entertain them. However, executives found their reliance on traditional IT infrastructure limited their ability to grow with its international audience.

The organization relied on two physical data centers at the time, each serving different purposes. However, that approach made server maintenance and other necessities challenging, especially due to the organization’s lean workforce.

The company began searching for a managed services provider. Shadrach Kisten, the senior vice president of information technology and digital media engineering at Sesame Workshop, explained some of the organization’s must-have characteristics.

“High availability, scalability, security, seamless integration, hybrid flexibility, and at the same timecost control were all key factors in choosing a platform and partner,” Kisten said.

Sesame Workshop chose Rackspace for its needs. The subject matter experts at Rackspace were exceptionally helpful in guiding the transition, mainly because the organization was new to cloud computing.

“That information was important to us because uptime, resilience, performance, and the ability to scale are important to us,” explained Kisten. “We needed a lot of architectural guidance in terms of the database, high availability, redundancy, access, and security. It was invaluable.”

One of the primary changes was to move Sesame Workshop from a managed services environment to a public-private hybrid cloud on AWS. Completing that step gave the organization an integrated and connected infrastructure that supports workflow automation.

The organization’s use of cloud computing proved so successful its next steps were to migrate its mail server and part of its data center to Microsoft Azure.

“Moving to the cloud requires a mind shift for your internal teams, but for us, it’s not difficult because they see that it worked,” said Kisten.

Industry: Children’s media

Cloud storage products: Rackspace Fanatical Support for AWS, Rackspace multicloud and hybrid cloud managed support, and Microsoft Azure

Outcomes:

  • Created a hybrid cloud that provided the necessary flexibility and scalability that let Sesame Workshop gain agility across mobile and over-the-top (OTT) platforms.

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