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CASE STUDY:  Zola Suite – Microsoft on AWS Engagement

Zola Media Logo

About Zola Suite:

Zola Suite, a Zola Media company, provides a cloud-based legal practice management software. As an all-in-one SaaS CRM solution, Zola Suite provides case management capabilities (such as Tasks, Notes, Calendaring), an email system, a billing and accounting system as well as reports and analytics.

The Challenge:

Zola Suite was experiencing significant growth through their customer base. This growth was causing significant strain to their on-premise environment.  Zola Suite, a SaaS product, requires 24 x 7 uptime. Zola Media needed a highly redundant, secure environment so they could meet their customer’s expectations while avoiding significant upfront capital expenditures.

The Solution

Six Nines engaged with Zola Media with a full turn-key migration of their on-premise CRM infrastructure to Amazon Web Services (AWS). The migration enabled Zola Suite to scale quickly and dynamically by utilizing EC2’s elastic features, including Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) and Amazon’s redundant object storage offering, S3.  Zola Media was so pleased with the work that Six Nines provided that they contracted them to further enhance the application. Six Nines is currently refactoring the Zola Suite environment to take advantage of more native features of the AWS platform to increase availability and scalability while reducing cost.

Architecture

The Zola Media application utilizes a Three-Layered Services Application running the Microsoft Windows Operating System. This provides isolation of services for both security and performance. The entire environment resides in a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) to improve security in addition to Security Groups, Role-based permissions and custom Identity and Access Management (IAM) rules. Behind an ELB, the Presentation Layer, or Web Tier,  utilizes ASP.NET and IIS to provide browser-based interaction.  While on a separate subnet, the Business Layer, or Application Server, was implemented using the .NET framework. The isolated Data Layer utilizes the relational database Microsoft SQL (MSSQL).

Six Nines utilized the following AWS services in the production solution:

  • VPC (Virtual Private Cloud)
  • Security Groups, Roles & IAM (Identity & Access Management) Rules
  • NAT (Network Address Translation) Gateway
  • ELB (Elastic Load Balancer)
  • Windows on EC2
  • MSSQL on EC2
  • S3 (Simple Storage Service)
  • Flow Logs

Results

Zola Media is now able to onboard more customers significantly faster than they could by using their in-house solution. Also, on AWS, they can quickly scale their production stack as dynamically as their workloads scale. For example, Zola Media can now easily increase their storage footprint and compute footprint utilizing AWS’s highly scalable features.  

Benefits Achieved:

  • Performance: The deployed architecture was optimized for serving Zola customers in a more efficient manner. By splitting out the Presentation, Application and Data Layers, Six Nines could select the optimized AWS instance that best suited each workload.
  • Pricing: Zola Media was able to reduce their costs of running systems locally which allowed their engineering team to focus on enhancing the product instead of spending time with hardware. In addition, they were able to transition from a CAPEX cost model to an OPEX cost model that aligned better with their SaaS model.

About Six Nines

Six Nines helps customers move to the cloud responsibly. Headquartered in Oakland CA, with offices around the world, Six Nines has helped hundreds of customers Architect, Migrate and Maintain their cloud infrastructure. As an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner with over eight years of experience, Six Nines is a leader in the cloud space.


About Author: Ben Rodrigue

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