Logistics software successfully in the cloud

Reference cloud migration logistics system

The challenge

About 10 years ago, our customer, a large logistics expert, approached us with the desire to replace two legacy systems with a new, common shipping logistics system. Due to the technical and non-functional complexity of the system, other providers had failed before. The system is constantly undergoing further technical development and has achieved an enormous increase in both user numbers and shipments in recent years.

Today approx. 4 million shipments daily

Today, around four million shipments pass through the system every day. Reason enough to bring the logistics system to the next technical level and carry out a transformation to the cloud. The focus here was on the

  • Flexibility in technical adjustments with the aim of reducing time to market,
  • stable operation with faster response times in case of malfunctions,
  • cost reduction through the change of the technical platform and reduction of licensing costs
  • as well as the demand-oriented scaling of the system.

Within the last 12 months there was a close and very good collaboration between the Micromata team, IT, architecture and business side of the customer to develop a suitable solution.

From Lift & Shift to cloud-native services

Initially, only a “lift and shift” was to be carried out. This means that the existing application remains virtually untouched, but is provisioned in the appropriate containers on the cloud.

Over time, it became clear that minor adjustments to the data model and the division of the database would be useful and that we should fall back on the cloud-native services of the cloud provider.

Migration during ongoing operations

Because this is a business-critical system that operates in direct contact with end customers, it was necessary to run the migration to the cloud as synchronously as possible in the background so as not to disrupt business processes. Added to this is the fact that this is an international system, accessed by logisticians from all over the world. So it was hardly conceivable to plan for a longer downtime for the data transfer.

Consequently, we developed a concept that enabled us to transfer the customer data to the cloud during ongoing operations and without interfering with business processes. A key requirement was to keep the final switchover time for the individual end users as short as possible – in the range of minutes.

Compliance & security

Naturally, we based the infrastructure architecture on the customer’s specific security and process requirements. A specially adapted Kubernetes cluster was used, which can automatically provision the virtual machines. Furthermore, logging, for example, was adapted to the capabilities of the cloud services in such a way that an Elasticstack can be used, which also allows our customer to configure its own dashboards according to business and technical aspects, while always providing optimal insight into the application.

The migration was carried out step by step across different customer groups and under constant observation of the cloud’s operating parameters. The iterative approach enabled us to react quickly to the findings from the customer data that had already been migrated. For example, the search algorithm for some database tables was optimized for use with the cloud database.

The project reduced our customer’s operating costs by at least 20% compared to the old environment, with dramatic acceleration of deployment cycles (CI/CD) and significant improvement in scalability. Micromata is now also responsible for the application in operation as a DevOps service provider. In the follow-up project, further functions will be further developed in the direction of cloud-native.

“The migration in the cloud was a very exciting project with many unknowns in new territory. For the deployment in the Azure Cloud, our customer internal constraints had to be taken into account, which did not make the project any easier. However, Micromata mastered these challenges very well. Subsequent migration projects were able to benefit from the experience gained. With all the achieved goals, I as PL and the business sides were especially positively surprised by the enormously accelerated deployment process, which now also has a very low impact on our customers. Thank you for the good cooperation!”

Andreas V. Kempf, Deutsche Post AG, SNL IT P&P
Hendrik Thole

Hendrik Thole

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