work from home with AWS Workspaces

Success Story: Enabling Customer Agility During COVID-19 Shutdown

Lee Hylton Amazon Web Services, Case Studies, Cloud Commuting, Kubernetes, Remote Work Experience, Testimonials

The Coronavirus and COVID-19 infection have completely upended our society, and businesses are scrambling to cope. Though technology companies are well positioned to handle a shifting of resources from the worksite to remote, for some, it still takes some quick strategy and deployment to do this effectively.

I wanted to share with you a recent deployment we managed for one of our clients to quickly shift aspects of their business to AWS Workspaces. In sharing this, it is my hope that you will have a sense of what is possible, during times in which normal business seems “impossible.”

Devops and Kubernetes Engagement

We have a current customer that we are helping with their Kubernetes cluster and deployment pipelines.  They are setting up a B2B application that allows their customers to order parts as needed, to update accounting systems, and to allow credit checks. This is accomplished through APIs backed by containers running on the Blue Sentry-built K8s cluster on AWS.

This engagement has been going well, and the customer has had the application live and in use by their customer base for the past several weeks.  In conjunction with the customer, our engineers at Blue Sentry are working hands-on to help refine the deployment pipelines to the various Development, Test, Staging and Production environments.  We specialize in this type of work and have particular expertise in enabling our customers to perform in a faster and more agile manner while also running their Service Oriented Architecture on Kubernetes.  This allows them to take advantage of all the benefits of containerization and scheduling that Kubernetes brings to the table.

And then… along came COVID19….

Suddenly, our customers, along with many others across the country, were notified of immediate closures affecting schools, public gathering places — and, in this case, their workplace.

The company had no architecture in place and no way to put new resources on-premise to facilitate remote data access.  The system administrators responsible for the on-premise environments and employee-assigned systems made inquires about obtaining the required equipment to allow this new work from home scenario, and quickly discovered that the parts were just not available.  As the COVID-19 shutdowns hit China first, suppliers dependent on resources and materials supplied from that continent had no way to deliver the needed goods. Lead times had stretched considerably for hard drives, power supplies, and laptops.

Our customer reached out to us and explained the situation they were facing.

How we helped

Our customer reached out to us on March 12th — the day the school closings were announced, with workplaces sure to follow.  By the end of that business day, Blue Sentry engineers were able to code and standup a new VPC with an IPSec tunnel to their on-premise environment. Within that VPC, we were able to launch AWS Workspaces — which are able to authenticate with our customer’s on-premise AD infrastructure and bundled all the software the employees needed to work from home.

Additionally, using AWS Workspaces allowed us to move quickly without worrying about creating VPN connections for each one of their employees, while still ensuring that all company data and resources remained secure.  Employees simply downloaded the Workspspaces client and were able to reach cloud-based desktops from any platform (macOS, Windows, tablets or Chromebooks) they happened to have at home.

The solution Blue Sentry was able to roll out in a matter of a few hours for this client facilitated business continuity while allowing their employees to focus on what was needed on the homefront, with the tools needed to be able to perform their work duties without expensive equipment buys and unnecessary delays.  The client is happy, the employees are happy and the tools that AWS provides along with Blue Sentry expertise allowed them to quickly navigate the unprecedented impact of the Coronavirus with ease.  Contact us today if we can help you!