4-page Case Study
Posted: 2/5/2014
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IFD Kapital IFD Kapital is using Windows Azure cloud to build a new backup Data center for its MUZ.RU portal

«Microsoft cloud technology has proved its efficiency in solving the challenges we have faced. The new Windows Azure-based backup Data center for MUZ.RU project offers our users powerful reliable scalable services. Its success has justified cloud usage for the group’s other activities, including financial services Data center»

Sergey Sichkar, Member of the Group Executive Board
and CIO, IFD Kapital


IFD Kapital has recently deployed a new backup Data center based on Microsoft Windows Azure cloud platform for its digital media portal MUZ.RU. Microsoft public cloud provides a robust, flexible platform for MUZ.RU backup Data center assuring continuous accessibility and necessary scalability of portal media distribution services. Now that the approach proved its efficiency and effectiveness IFD Kapital continues broadening the Windows Azure usage. This time, the company conducts a pilot project for IFD Kapital’s financial services backup Data center in the cloud.
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* Microsoft public cloud provides a robust, flexible platform for MUZ.RU backup Data center assuring continuous accessibility and necessary scalability of portal services.
Cloud model has proven to be more economical than deployment of an own backup site.

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Sergey Sichkar, Member of the Group Executive Board and CIO,
IFD Kapital

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Case Study

IFD Kapital had its first experience with Microsoft Windows Azure when working on a National Digital Content Register proto-type project. According to Sergey Sichkar, this required substantial computing power with high-speed content access and unpredictable loads. At that time it was impossible to determine the data storage and processing power capacity needed for a full-fledged solution. The absence of clear parameters made the system building on the basis of local Data centers, not the best solution. To keep it fully functional, the Group would have to invest heavily into an infrastructure with massively redundant computing and storage capacity.

However, this is typical for a cloud model. Cloud is very flexible in providing resources – servers and storage – on demand while quickly releasing any unused resources, guaranteeing necessary access performance and storage security. Cloud users only pay for what they use.

According to Sergey Sichkar, while analyzing the market, several local cloud platform provider offers were considered, only to find none of them could guarantee necessary flexibility, quick infrastructure resource allocation, absolute security, and other cloud service parameters required. These could only be warranted by a public cloud from a larger international vendor. Several platforms were evaluated and compared in terms of flexibility, set of supported OS/DBMS/CMS, support options, presence in Russia, costs, etc. Windows Azure was eventually selected for the project after this comparison.
When working on the National Digital Con-tent Register prototype, MUZ.RU portal content was transferred to Microsoft cloud, driving further embracing of Windows Azure platform by IFD Kapital to include using it for establishing the MUZ.RU project backup Data center.
 
Solution

MUZ.RU needed a backup Data center be-cause its main Data center was being up-dated and upgraded. For the time being, the portal was moved to work from a Windows Azure cloud, since all of its various digital audio and video content was al-ready there. “All the digital content being in Azure, our work was made so much easier,” explains Sergey Sichkar. “When transiting to a cloud, migrating your vast storage is what causes most trouble. For us, then, both moving workloads and infrastructure configuring for MUZ.RU services went quick and smooth.”

As the main Data center was being over-hauled, Windows Azure platform took over all the portal Data center functions and provided users with robust, high-quality services with no sign of deteriorating nor-mal operation of the portal. Sergey Sichkar notes that, when using a public cloud with geographically distributed resources, companies are often worry that service quality may be compromised by slow data transfer via untrusted channels. In the Microsoft cloud case, it is no longer a concern, media content loading speed from the Windows Azure based MUZ.RU Data center equaling 50 Mbps. This allowed for keeping portal user servicing at the usual level and making the work with cloud and local resources similarly comfortable for maintenance specialists. Content loading speed and latency were optimized so as to enable digital data streaming for 100,000+ users.

Having obtained an evidence that the Microsoft cloud-based MUZ.RU portal works properly, IFD Kapital specialists have decided on creating a constant backup Data center for the project, based on this plat-form. Today, Azure-based MUZ.RU backup Data center includes about a hundred different capacity virtual machines to manage 150 terabyte-plus data. MUZ.RU has implemented an active redundancy solution, explains Sergey Sichkar. A cloud platform might be used for servicing portal users both in case of failures or scheduled up-grades at the main site and to balance loads.

Benefits

Microsoft public cloud provides a robust, flexible platform for MUZ.RU backup Data center assuring continuous accessibility and necessary scalability of portal services.
Cloud model appeared to be more economical than deployment of an own back-up site, Sergey Sichkar explains. CAPEX is replaced by service charges, operation costs are reduced by HW and SW support, much of support manpower, administration.

Windows Azure allows quickly increasing computing power and storage capacity exactly when the company needs them, and releasing resources users no longer need, with equal ease. It’s a lean pay-for-what-you-use model, proving really cost-effective. Should the company apply its local backup Data center, any change to computing power or storage capacity requirements might result in a new server purchase – or storage system expansion. Adding one or even several virtual ma-chines in a cloud is much cheaper, since they are used on a pay-per-use basis, with no extra charges.

IFD Kapital continues broadening the cloud platform usage. This time, Windows Azure success with MUZ.RU inspired a pilot project for the Group’s financial services back-up Data center building in a cloud. According to Sergey Sichkar, this service category already has a redundancy site; yet it is outdated and needs reconsidering. Research proved cloud resources lease is more budget-friendly than deploying from the scratch an internal backup Data center, with further expansion and maintenance.
 
The pilot project has highlighted Windows Azure monitoring and managing potential of System Center infrastructure that is al-ready in use at IFD Kapital. Before the project start, IFD Kapital’s professionals con-figured VPN connection to Azure to ensure secure data exchange, which is critical for this line of the Group’s business. Also, the pilot project suggested creation of work-flows to deploy virtual machines within Windows Azure, with preset parameters, and to release computing power both on demand and on a due date. Workflows are encapsulated in System Center Service. Fulfilment of a request for resources is automated via Service Manager. IFD Kapital developers can request the resources they need in a self-service manner. An email message will inform them of virtual ma-chine’s work readiness, stating access parameters to include IP address accessible from corporate network via a VPN connection; domain name; and local administrator login data.

IFD Kapital specialists have also configured Windows Azure environment monitoring, in whole and per virtual machine.

«Deploying the new MUZ.RU backup Data center based on Windows Azure marked an important step in Microsoft’s partnership with IFD Kapital Group. We are proud Microsoft cloud services stay an enabler and a driver of Russian business projects», Alexander Lipkin, Head of the of infrastructure solutions unit at EPG Microsoft.

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 7000 employees

Organization Profile
Investment Business

Benefits
Microsoft public cloud provides a robust, flexible platform for MUZ.RU backup Data center assuring continuous accessibility and necessary scalability of portal services. Windows Azure allows quickly increasing computing power and storage capacity exactly when the company needs them, and releasing resources users no longer need, with equal ease. It’s a lean pay-for-what-you-use model, proving really cost-effective.

Software and Services
Microsoft Azure

Vertical Industries
  • Banking
  • Media and Entertainment Equipment Providers

Country/Region
Russia

Business Need
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

IT Issue
  • Personal Productivity
  • Data Warehousing

Languages
English

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