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Helping hipages and Natural Therapy Pages navigate the complexity of an AWS cloud migration

Elabor8 worked with hipages and Natural Therapy Pages to setup a cutting-edge AWS infrastructure for running a global SaaS Platform. Elabor8 embarked on the challenging migration process by leveraging a value lens and radical transparency to provide a solution within budget that exceeded expectations on delivery. This improved infrastructure enabled hipages to create new businesses with a click of a button.

The situation

hipages is an online platform that connects consumers with trusted tradespeople to simplify home improvement. hipages is the leading online platform in the trade category by jobs posted in Australia with approximately 1.4 million jobs posted in FY2020, representing a job being posted approximately every 23 seconds on average.

Natural Therapy Pages (NTP), is an online marketplace for natural health services and education, with over 200,000 monthly users and more than 10,000 natural health practitioners and courses in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom

Previously part of the hipages Group, NTP was sold by hipages in May 2020.  Prior to the sale, the websites for hipages and NTP were being hosted using the same AWS infrastructure. To enable the sale and to better allow for the future development of the two sites the decision was made to separate the two entities. This required NTP to be moved under its own AWS account and infrastructure, and for the business and administrative processes & procedures to be updated to support this change.

The clients also saw this as an opportunity to make improvements to their general infrastructure, to better support NTP’s  functionality and use. Owing to the fact that both hipages and NTP services are 24/7, minimum disruption for clients was an important factor in this migration.

Cloud offerings provided

After conducting an initial analysis of the existing solution architecture, Elabor8 provided recommendations for improvements that would better serve the business needs of NTP.

This led to decisions such as: 

  • AWS Control Tower to create AWS accounts that would be set with best practices recommended by AWS themselves
  • Terraform to stand up the infrastructure so that the process could be repeatable and self-documented
  • Migration to AWS EKS from a custom Kubernetes setup
  • Establishment of an Aurora cluster and migrating MySQL databases into this new infrastructure requiring less maintenance and providing additional redundancy and performance.

Aside from the improvements, actions to replicate the hipages’ platform solution were to:

  • Automate the creation of custom Docker images used in the deployment of the app and other services
  • Create parallel Continuous Integration (CI) streams using Github Actions without disrupting the existing pipeline to production
  • Deploy ArgoCD in the new EKS cluster based on modified configuration used by hipages
  • Deploy additional services  to improve solution performance including but not limited to caching, ingress configuration, SSL certificate management
  • Develop and deploy CDN and WAF configurations based on (but not equal to) the existing hipages setup
  • Configure and deploy replacement DNS entries in preparation for domain switchover
  • Review and resize the infrastructure based on ntpages estimated needs

How the cloud offerings resolved the challenges or needs of the customer

Elabor8 built a best practice AWS cloud solution to host the NTP solution. 

Security

The solution implemented best-practice security and monitoring to ensure data is protected at all times. Elabor8 also implemented AWS best practices for cloud infrastructure through the use of AWS Control Tower when creating the NTP AWS Accounts.

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD)

Elabor8 delivered a full CI/CD solution which provides the ability to continuously build, test and deploy changes within the NTP environment. New environments can be easily deployed with confidence that it will not adversely affect existing environments and that the new environment will behave the same as the original environment, reducing configuration and testing concerns

Automation

Automation of deployments ensures that all changes can be deployed safely and quickly without the need for manual intervention.  Features can also be quickly rolled back.

Methodologies and processes

Elabor8 used Agile Ways of Working and DevOps processes to deliver the solution. This enabled Elabor8 to deliver a best practice Cloud solution and adapt to emergent requirements while still meeting the project deadline for delivery. NTP had an existing, strong DevOps approach to their product delivery and maintenance and Elabor8 delivered a solution that supported NTP’s processes.

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