Cloud303 Modernizes Maysteel’s Windows Infrastructure

Microsoft Workloads


  • 1 October 2023
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About the Customer

Maysteel is a leading manufacturing company specializing in the fabrication of high-quality metal enclosures. With years of industry experience, they pride themselves on delivering custom solutions tailored to their clients' specific needs. Despite their expertise in manufacturing, they faced significant challenges in data protection and disaster recovery, relying on outdated and labor-intensive methods.

Executive Summary

Maysteel is a manufacturing company that specializes in metal enclosures. To protect their data, they were physically moving drives from location to location, wasting a lot of man-hours. After working with Cloud303, they are saving time, they have a robust disaster recovery solution and have an AWS Premier Consulting Partner they can trust and turn to any time.

The Challenge

PMaysteel’s biggest challenge when they came to Cloud303 was their lack of reliable backup and disaster recovery solutions. Employees would spend hours a week physically moving external hard drives from one place to another to ensure physical distance between copies of data in the case of a disaster befalling their data center. Needless to say, this system was wasting time that could be much better spent.

Why Cloud303?

  • Microsoft Workload Expertise Cloud303 has deep-rooted expertise in handling Microsoft workloads. Whether it's deploying, scaling or managing Windows Server, SQL Server, or Active Directory, Cloud303 ensures optimized performance and security.
  • Seamless Migrations Migrating to or between Microsoft platforms can be a complex task that Cloud303 simplifies. By using proven methodologies and tools, Cloud303 ensures that migrations are seamless, efficient, and completed with minimal downtime.
  • Robust Disaster Recovery Solutions Having a reliable disaster recovery plan is essential. Cloud303 offers robust disaster recovery solutions specifically designed for Microsoft platforms, ensuring business continuity even in the most challenging situations.
  • Proven Track Record Cloud303 has a strong history of successful partnerships within the Microsoft industry. Our commitment to excellence, reliability, and client-focused solutions have made us a trusted partner.

Engagement Overview

Cloud303's engagements follow a streamlined five-phase lifecycle: Requirements, Design, Implementation, Testing, and Maintenance. Initially, a comprehensive assessment is conducted through a Well-Architected Review to identify client needs. This is followed by a scoping call to fine-tune the architectural design, upon which a Statement of Work (SoW) is agreed and signed.

The implementation phase kicks in next, closely adhering to the approved designs. Rigorous testing ensures that all components meet the client's specifications and industry standards. Finally, clients have the option to either manage the deployed solutions themselves or to enroll in Cloud303's Managed Services for ongoing maintenance, an option many choose due to their high satisfaction with the services provided.

The Solution

Cloud303 deployed Cloudendure for Disaster Recovery for Maysteel. Their servers are replicated in the cloud and can be spun up in just a few minutes in the event of a disaster. Also, because Cloudendure replicates volumes to the cloud but does not actually spin up servers until they are needed, this replication is significantly less expensive than a warm DR solution. Cloud303 will soon be moving Maysteel to AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery, a product that did not exist when their engagement first began. AWS purchased Cloudendure in 2019 and Elastic Disaster Recovery works basically the same way, however it has not been fully integrated into the AWS console rather than being a separate product. This way the client will be completely up-to-date and can manage their infrastructure in one place.

CloudEndure for Disaster Recovery

Cloud303 implemented CloudEndure for Disaster Recovery, an AWS service designed to replicate Maysteel's Windows servers in the cloud. Through continuous block-level replication, CloudEndure ensured real-time synchronization of data, minimizing the Recovery Point Objective (RPO). This replication process included the full range of Windows applications, services, and databases.

EC2 for Windows Server

Maysteel's Windows-based servers were hosted on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances. EC2 for Windows Server offered a highly reliable, scalable, and secure environment for running Windows workloads. This allowed Maysteel to seamlessly migrate their existing Windows infrastructure to the cloud and leverage the benefits of AWS services.

SQL Server on EC2

Maysteel's relational databases were hosted on SQL Server, running on Amazon EC2 instances. This setup provided a robust, scalable, and secure environment to operate their databases, taking advantage of AWS's flexibility and efficiency.

SQL Server Replication with CloudEndure

Maysteel required a strategy that ensured the integrity and availability of their SQL Server databases, even during disaster recovery scenarios. This was achieved by leveraging CloudEndure for continuous, block-level replication of their SQL Server databases. This strategy ensured a real-time synchronization of databases, thereby minimizing any potential data loss and ensuring a low Recovery Point Objective (RPO).

SQL Server Database Validation and Consistency Checks

To safeguard against data corruption during replication, CloudEndure's Disaster Recovery solution implemented automatic consistency checks. This feature validated the state of the SQL Server databases after the replication process, ensuring data consistency and integrity.

Transaction Log Handling

CloudEndure's continuous data protection ensured that all SQL Server transaction logs were captured and replicated. This not only safeguarded against data loss but also allowed for point-in-time recovery, ensuring data integrity and maintaining business continuity even in a disaster scenario.

Failover Testing and Validation

To ensure reliability and efficacy of the disaster recovery plan, Cloud303 conducted regular failover testing. This ensured that the SQL Server databases would function as expected in the event of a disaster, providing confidence in the recovery solution.

Transition to AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery

Cloud303 is also planning to move Maysteel to AWS Elastic Disaster Recovery. With its advanced capabilities and seamless integration with the AWS Console, it will offer enhanced protection to the SQL Server databases. It will provide Maysteel with improved RPO and RTO, leading to better business continuity planning and ensuring that their databases are always available when needed.

Systems Manager for Centralized Management

Cloud303 leveraged AWS Systems Manager to centralize the management of Maysteel's Windows infrastructure. Systems Manager provided a unified console to automate operational tasks, manage configurations, and ensure compliance. Maysteel's IT team could easily monitor and control their EC2 instances, perform patch management, and collect performance metrics, all from a single interface.

Backup and Recovery with Amazon S3

To enhance data protection and facilitate efficient backups, Cloud303 utilized Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). Maysteel's critical data and server configurations were securely stored in S3 buckets, providing durability, scalability, and high availability. This allowed for streamlined backup and recovery processes, ensuring quick restoration of data in the event of data loss or corruption.

Monitoring and Alerting with CloudWatch

Cloud303 implemented AWS CloudWatch to monitor the health and performance of Maysteel's Windows servers. CloudWatch collected and analyzed metrics, logs, and events, enabling proactive detection of issues and performance bottlenecks.

By leveraging these Windows-focused AWS services, Maysteel achieved a highly resilient and efficient data protection and disaster recovery solution. The combination of EC2 for Windows Server, CloudEndure for Disaster Recovery, Systems Manager, S3 and CloudWatch enabled Maysteel to safeguard their critical data, minimize downtime, and ensure the seamless operation of their Windows-based infrastructure.

SQL Server Migration from Windows EC2 to Linux EC2

Upon deployment of the Disaster Recovery Solution (DRS), Cloud303 executed a critical phase of the project by migrating Maysteel's database from SQL Server on Windows EC2 to SQL on Linux EC2. This migration was driven by Cloud303's deep expertise in SQL server configurations, migrations, and performance optimization, leveraging the specific advantages of running SQL on Linux, including improved security, performance, and cost-efficiency.

Here's how this migration was implemented:

Assessment and Planning

Cloud303 began by carefully assessing Maysteel's existing SQL Server configuration on Windows EC2. A migration plan was tailored to ensure a smooth transition, identifying the optimal Linux distribution and configuring the necessary environment.

Migration Execution

Using AWS's specialized migration tools and Cloud303's expertise, the SQL Server databases were successfully migrated from Windows to Linux EC2 instances. This involved moving data, schemas, stored procedures, and other essential database components.

Optimization and Tuning

Post-migration, Cloud303 conducted extensive optimization and performance tuning to fully leverage the advantages of running SQL on Linux. This included aligning configurations with Linux's unique characteristics, optimizing query performance, and ensuring seamless integration with Maysteel's existing applications.

Validation and Testing

Rigorous testing was performed to validate the integrity and performance of the SQL Server databases on Linux EC2. This included simulated failover scenarios, performance stress tests, and compatibility checks with Maysteel's specific use cases.

Monitoring and Support

Cloud303 implemented continuous monitoring and support mechanisms, leveraging AWS CloudWatch and other tools to ensure ongoing performance, security, and reliability of the SQL Server on Linux EC2.

Documentation and Knowledge Transfer

Comprehensive documentation was provided, outlining the migration process, configuration details, and best practices. Cloud303 also conducted training sessions with Maysteel's team, ensuring they were equipped to manage and maintain the new Linux-based SQL environment.

Engineer Quote

Working on Maysteel's project was both a challenge and an opportunity. Migrating from an antiquated, manual data storage system to a cutting-edge, automated disaster recovery solution on AWS required a well-planned strategy and precise execution to ensure that Maysteel had a smooth transition and long-term benefits. The client's satisfaction and the positive impact on their business are a testament to the effectiveness of our solutions.

Craig Dedrick Principal Solutions Architect (Microsoft Workloads), Cloud303


Data Integrity

No instances of data corruption were reported throughout the replication and recovery processes.

Data Availability

With CloudEndure's continuous replication and automated failovers, Maysteel achieved near-zero downtime, ensuring data availability even in disaster scenarios.

Database Recovery Time Objective (RTO) Improvement

The transition from physical data transfers to CloudEndure led to a significant reduction in database RTO. Recovery of SQL Server databases was achieved in minutes, as opposed to the earlier recovery time of 24 hours.

Time Saved

Maysteel saved approximately 15 hours per week, previously spent on manual data transfers.

Cost Savings

Maysteel achieved a 30% reduction in disaster recovery costs compared to their previous solution.

Customer Satisfaction

Maysteel reported a 95% satisfaction rate with Cloud303's services, highlighting the successful partnership and reliable support.

The transition from physical data transfers to CloudEndure led to a significant reduction in database RTO. Recovery of SQL Server databases was achieved in minutes, as opposed to the earlier recovery time of 24 hours.