Wine Australia transfer their legacy content management system to
Microsoft Azure App Service for better performance and security.
"I was very impressed with Professional Advantage. The team got into the right level of detail about every single activity that they needed to do and were realistic about how long that would take."
Karen Fairbrass, Acting IT Manager, Wine Australia
Wine Australia is an Australian Government agency charged with three principal activities on behalf of the government and wine sector – it promotes Australian wine internationally, manages the sector and government investment in grape and wine research, development and adoption and regulates wine exports.
Watch below to see how we helped Wine Australia implement secured and impactful Microsoft Azure solutions.
DOWNLOAD THE SUMMARISED COPY OF THIS STORY.
The pains of managing on-premises IT infrastructure and legacy apps
In 2017, Wine Australia discussed internally moving all of its IT infrastructure and applications to the cloud. Its growing hardware and software maintenance costs were the primary drivers for getting off their external data centres.
“We were running lots of hardware and software maintenance, and it was just costly”, says Karen Fairbrass, IT Manager, Wine Australia. “We knew that with the Microsoft toolset, we could move everything into the cloud with the same level of service and actually get extra benefits from that.”
It was only in late 2019, after their move to Office 365, when their IT plans finally took flight.
“It was our experience with Office 365’s ability for remote working, user security, and its trusted platform that were key for us in choosing Microsoft Azure”, explains Fairbrass.
Armed with confidence in the Microsoft cloud platform, they began planning their next move to migrate their IT infrastructure and legacy application to Azure.
A well-spent planning time
Professional Advantage ran a series of workshops with the key stakeholders from Wine Australia to kick off their cloud transformation journey with Microsoft Azure. The complimentary 2-day Azure Migration Readiness Engagement from Professional Advantage was the starting point for this project. It was aimed to conduct a detailed technical analysis of their current IT environment and provide a roadmap with cost estimates in line with Wine Australia’s business priorities, some of which were:
“The proposal that Professional Advantage submitted to us covered off all the things that we were looking for. I like the professional way they did the two-day engagement that gave us the confidence to continue working with PA”, comments Fairbrass.
As part of the planning engagement, Professional Advantage took a systematic and in-depth approach to plan, replicate, test, and migrate Wine Australia’s IT infrastructure and application to Microsoft Azure. The workshops unearthed inefficiencies in their virtual networks. It was not well-architected, nor was it configured correctly to a standard that Microsoft would recommend.
The same is true for the infrastructure set up in Kentico’s backend. Seven of their websites had an entire library with (60 GB) of photos and videos that were all stored in one level, which affected the performance of their website’s loading time. This was on top of the challenge of their Kentico reaching end of life’ this meant it had inadequate security and was highly vulnerable to malicious web app attacks.
“Working with PA was really positive because we were able to identify the scope, work through our best options, and get to the point where we actually ended up with an environment that, as an IT team, we were not only comfortable managing, but the business was also a lot happier working with moving forward,” says Fairbrass.
Performance and security improvements
Once the lift and shift to Azure was completed for 9 virtual machines and 7 TB of file shares, the next part of the project was to migrate their Kentico to Azure App Service, Azure’s Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering.
On top of Azure’s scalability, high availability, and flexibility benefits, Wine Australia is now also benefiting from Azure App Service with the following:
1) Improved performance and extended support.
Without investing in expensive software upgrade outright on Kentico, moving to Azure App Service brought Wine Australia extended support, improved performance, and enhanced security. Compared to when Kentico was still on their external data centres, its Azure PaaS version resulted in faster page loading times.
“We did some tests with our marketing team, and they were happy that the system is fit for purpose. Every time we were doing the load tests, we got much quicker results than what we had on the old infrastructure. Performance is now better in this year than when it was on an on-premises server”, beamed Fairbrass.
2) Tighter security with web application firewalls.
Wine Australia’s CMS is now better protected against common exploits and vulnerabilities with Azure App Service’s web application firewalls (WAF), which were previously not there with their data centre. Common attacks such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting can now be better guarded against.
“Our external vendors gave us a very good clean bill of health in terms of our security, which would include the web application firewalls that we didn’t have before. We can now be a bit more confident that all our external-facing applications are more secure”, says Fairbrass.
3) Optimised integration and deployment.
Moving to Azure allowed Wine Australia to set up its seamless integration and deployment with Azure DevOps. This meant promoting updates in Kentico through test and staging environments to minimise risks before swapping them directly to the production slot.
“We were able to bring across our consumer website, set up our UAT environment, and get our DevOps straightened out. This allowed our other vendors who manage the website from a deployment and development perspective to have the access and ability to do the updates and code changes following a good software lifecycle fashion, rather than just pressing and hoping that things would work”, says Fairbrass.
4) Cost Savings
Wine Australia no longer has to pay for the expensive on-premises servers and the regular software updates. Their migration to Azure allowed Wine Australia to save $20,000 (AUD) per month overall in IT spend.
“As an IT project manager, I was very impressed with Professional Advantage. The team got into the right level of detail about every single activity that they needed to do and were realistic about how long that would take”, says Fairbrass. “The fact that PA and our IT team had such a great working relationship as they were building the moving pieces, and I could check with the PMO on costs, expected times, and reports was just a great experience”.
The next financial year sees the roll-out of stage two of the Kentico to Azure migration project.