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An international, vertically integrated mining and metals company, Metinvest Group is among the world’s Top-50 steel and Top-10 mining companies. The Group comprises mining and metallurgical assets in Ukraine, Bulgaria, Italy, the UK, and the US, complemented by a global sales network and employs more than 80,000 employees globally. Metinvest manages the full production chain, from extracting iron ore and coal to manufacturing semi-finished and finished steel products. With assets close to key railway lines and ports, Metinvest supplies raw materials and steel products to more than 100 countries.
Metinvest Group operated two on-premises Data Centers, located in Kyiv, Ukraine, which provided centralized IT services for the Metinvest Group except for SAP and Office 365 services and solutions. Additionally, the company utilizes Azure cloud platform as a basis for the IT infrastructure and services of the Metinvest’s assets in Europe and Northern America, namely for data backup, AI & Machine Learning projects, cybersecurity solutions, etc.
Implementation of the widest range of cutting-edge Industry 4.0 technologies for 30+ enterprises of the Group required extra capacities, namely for strategic innovations such as industrial IoT, Big Data processing, Manufacturing execution systems (MES), AI & Machine Learning, drones & UAVs, computer vision, etc.
By the end of 2018, Metinvest faced the need to scale up and expand the capacities of existing Data Centers, as, in 2020, 3 out of 4 storage systems of the Data Centers would reach End-of-Life & End-of-Support.
Metinvest Digital, as a core IT business partner of Metinvest Group, had to determine the strategy for IT infrastructure development of the Group. To be able to implement and support innovations for Metinvest Group’s business in line with their IT strategy for the next ten years, Metinvest Digital had to select between two different ways of ІТ infrastructure development and scaling:
- Continue maintaining on-premises Data Centers and acquire additional server and data storage equipment.
- Migrate to a cloud platform such as Microsoft Azure, already partially used across the Group.
To select the best option, Metinvest Digital conducted Business Value Assessment (BVA) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis, modeling a 10-year comparative perspective for both possible directions of IT infrastructure development.
A detailed study of the technical and economic indicators showed that migration to Microsoft Azure would be the most effective option. In addition to more than $3mln TCO savings, switching to the cloud would enable new Big Data computing and management capabilities, which would be impossible to achieve with the on-premises infrastructure.
Konstantin Koval, Director of IT Infrastructure Centre of Excellence at Metinvest Digital:
The times, when the primary aim of building a modern ІТ infrastructure was to ensure the reliability of IT services and systems, have long passed. The world and technologies evolve so quickly that capital investments in on-premises infrastructure become a burden for the business and do not provide any capabilities for rapid changes for them to comply with the requirements of the competitive market.
As for the coming years, we have extensive plans to further strengthen the digital maturity of Metinvest Group and implement Industry 4.0 solutions, which require much better flexibility and manageability. Add these factors to the economic effect that we will get from cloud migration within a 10-year perspective and the choice becomes obvious. Staying with the on-premises infrastructure would have significantly increased the cost of such IT projects implementation due to the abovementioned limitations
According to the 2030 Development Strategy of Metinvest Group, new ІТ infrastructure had to comply with the principles of scalability, rapid changes, transparency and manageability, adequate cost of ownership, business continuity, and cybersecurity.
Among the key business aims of the project were the following:
- Migrate the existing on-premises infrastructure of the Group (servers, virtual machines, services) to Microsoft Azure cloud utilizing the ‘Lift & Shift’ approach.
- Increase the utilization of Microsoft Azure cloud services across the Group.
- Reduce the TCO of ІТ infrastructure by lowering CAPEX and OPEX expenditures on ІТ infrastructure support in a long-term perspective.
- Ensure smooth migration of all servers and services of the company without halting production or business processes.
The migration of data centers to Microsoft Azure and the transition to IaaS were big steps for Metinvest Group. This transformation would affect all aspects of the Group’s business, bringing it numerous benefits – from TCO gains to improved productivity. At the same time, the cloud transformation of such a scale required a detailed plan and accurate implementation of the transformation strategy.
Taking into account project complexity and timeframes, Metinvest Digital approached Infopulse, an international IT service provider, and a long-term Microsoft partner. Infopulse was recommended by Microsoft to become a cloud migration partner for this project and was selected by Metinvest Digital via a tender process as one of the most experienced providers of Microsoft services in Ukraine.
Experienced engineers of the Microsoft FastTrack Team were also involved, providing extensive support and consulting during cloud infrastructure deployment.
Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure was utilized as a primary knowledge source for this cloud migration project. It allowed to quickly find relevant answers to the most common questions, which could have arisen in the course of the migration. This approach helped to split the global project into several stages and substages, simplify the requirements analysis, and get a detailed view of the solution architecture.
Oleksii Masharov, Delivery Manager, Managed Services and Solutions, Infopulse:
Infopulse stays at the forefront of solving the greater challenges of digital transformation. We are deeply inspired by projects and people who undertake such challenges for a turn for the better. When we were invited to take part in one of the largest cloud migration projects in Europe, we could not stand aside. Our experience, confidence in the expertise and strengths of the Infopulse team, as well as the ambitions of Metinvest Digital team goals and their high level of professionalism, have been a real incentive for us to give our best to implement this, without exaggeration, grand project. The synergy of the two teams allowed us to hold extremely productive architectural sessions within relatively short timeframes and develop the most optimal solution to meet the high business standards of Metinvest Group.
Key Stages of Metinvest Group Cloud Transformation Project
The cloud migration project comprised several stages carried out according to a detailed plan:
- BVA / TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) analysis
Metinvest Digital designed a 10-year comparative perspective of the two core options of future IT infrastructure development and estimated TCO for keeping IT infrastructure on-premises VS conducting cloud migration, which confirmed the necessity to make a move to the cloud.
- Project initialization and planning
Upon analyzing cybersecurity requirements, including network security, Metinvest Digital selected Infopulse as a partner for the Migration Project. Together, both companies formed a project team, developed a project timeline, and identified roles and responsibilities.
- IaaS & PaaS architecture design & development
Metinvest Digital, Infopulse, and Microsoft Fast Track team conducted a series of architectural sessions, resulting in a detailed strategy of data center migration. The teams designed and agreed on Cloud Architecture (IaaS and PaaS), technical solution stack and specifications, scheduled migration plan, and designed a testing approach.
- Stabilization of the solutions within the IaaS infrastructure
One of the crucial stages of the project was the stabilization of the IaaS solution based on the Proof of Concept (PoC) approach. During this stage, the project team configured Microsoft Azure infrastructure, including Identity Management, Availability, and Disaster Recovery, Backup and Monitoring Systems, Migration mechanisms, and created custom scripts to automate the Migration. After configuring all required settings, the project team conducted a test migration of 20 servers and tested them according to the previously designed quality assurance approach. Test migration allowed to further improve the mechanisms of the full-scale migration, discover and fix all shortcomings, and update the project documentation with new findings.
- Migration process (split into several stages)
Due to a large number of servers to be migrated to Azure, the Project Team decided to split the entire migration process into five stages. Each stage included the Migration of 160 servers, post-migration testing, ASR setup, backup, and monitoring. At the same time, one stage of Migration lasted 20-22 working days.
- Post Migration Testing of migrated services
Project Team conducted post-migration testing of services (functional and performance testing) to confirm that the solutions deployed in Microsoft Azure operated correctly and met the functional requirements according to designed Architecture. Thus, testing helped to check the quality of VMs migration to the cloud infrastructure and fix all remaining shortcomings.
Key technologies and solutions used:
Azure Active Directory, Azure Availability Zone, Azure SQL Database, Azure Backup, Azure Monitor & Microsoft System Center Operation Manager, Azure Cost Management & Advisor, Azure Windows Virtual Desktop, Azure Security Center, Azure Site Recovery, SQL Server Availability Cluster, Azure NSG & ASG, Azure Firewall, Azure Resource Manager, Azure Application Gateway, Azure Key Vault, Azure VPN Gateway/Express Route
Windows Virtual Desktop
Switching from Terminal Services to Windows Virtual Desktop.
Windows Server is a group of server operating systems released by Microsoft.
Azure Active Directory
Azure AD is used to identify and control access in Azure. Both a cloud directory and a credential management service, it combines basic directory services, application access control, and credentials protection.
Azure Availability Zone
This technology ensures a high level of infrastructure resiliency in cloud architecture. Thus, for SQL clusters we utilize the SQL Server Always On technology, while nodes are placed in separate Availability Zones. For NLB clusters, each cluster node is housed in its own Availability Zones. For OpenText and MII systems (DEV and QAS environments), an Availability Set with a minimum of two fault domains and two virtual machines is used.
SQL Server Always On Cluster
Ensures High Availability of SQL Server and Disaster Recovery, which helps to increase the availability of databases and protect them from any system failures.
Azure SQL Database
This platform ensures 99.99% availability of databases. Azure automatically handles critical maintenance tasks such as fixes, backups, Windows and SQL updates, as well as unscheduled events such as hardware, software, or network failures.
Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database management system developed by Microsoft. As a database server, it is a software product with the primary function of storing and retrieving data as requested by other software applications.
A core solution to back up data and protect data of local servers, virtual machines, all databases, SQL servers, SharePoint servers, files in Azure File Share services, etc. In case of an unexpected failure, Azure Backup provides full online access to all information stored on the damaged hardware.
Azure Monitor | Microsoft System Center Operation Manager
These tools are used to monitor infrastructure in Azure. Currently, the monitoring systems, which are installed on servers, send monitoring data to both systems simultaneously. In the future, when the functional capabilities of Azure Monitor can fully meet the technical requirements, it will become the primary monitoring system.
Azure Cost Management
A cost management tool to track and control the overall cost of Azure services and optimize their use.
Azure Security Center
Utilized to process trillions of signals from a variety of services and systems. Detects threats and helps to provide comprehensive protection, as well as improves the security management and protection against threats in the cloud.
Azure Site Recovery
A disaster recovery tool (DRaaS) utilized to ensure business continuity even during major IT infrastructure failures.
Azure NSG & ASG
Azure NSG helps create rules for filtering network traffic between Azure resources on Azure virtual network. At the same time, Azure ASG enables detailed control over systems and applications, providing dedicated protection for each application depending on the settings of the relevant security policies.
An intelligent and scalable traffic filtering technology, it helps to ensure the full security of Azure virtual environment resources.
Azure Resource Manager
This tool is utilized to configure infrastructure, deploy Azure solutions, manage applications, resources, and more.
Azure Application Gateway
A tool to balance and load web traffic, which allows managing traffic to web applications depending on the needs and settings of each application separately.
Azure Key Vault
Protects cryptographic keys and other sensitive data in the cloud. Provides fast and secure key management.
Azure VPN Gateway/Express Route
Thanks to Azure VPN Gateway, encrypted traffic between Azure virtual network and the on-premises infrastructure can be sent over the public internet.
Migration to Microsoft Azure significantly improved reliability, security, and productivity of Metinvest systems, as well as reduced TCO of IT infrastructure:
- Azure will serve as a digital cloud platform for the development and implementation of innovative IT services per digital transformation strategy of the Group.
- Reduced operational support costs. Metinvest is now more flexible in terms of building virtual servers, being able to scale, and add capacity to the running instances. Azure also helped to cut down the costs of upgrading obsolete equipment.
- Azure ensures Metinvest Data Security and Privacy in terms of risks related to data losses or corruption thanks to integrated replication/ backup/ clustering solutions and 99.95% availability of IT services with minimized unplanned downtimes.
Facts & Numbers
- 680 servers from 2 Datacenters migrated, including more than 200 SQL Servers and 600 Windows Servers
- 30+ enterprises of Metinvest Group affected
- 240 TB of data migrated and stored securely in the cloud
- 2,000 daily Windows Virtual Desktop active users
- 12 months – total duration of the project
- 18 technical experts were involved: 6 Infopulse and 12 Metinvest Digital
- USD$3+ million estimated TCO savings over the next 10 years from migration to Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure
- One of the largest cloud migration projects in Europe
- Maximum mobility with anytime-anywhere 24/7 available services
- Project timeframe: August 2019 – May 2020
Jan Peter De Jong, CEO of Microsoft Ukraine:
We are proud to see that Metinvest Group has made a remarkable digital transformation in Ukraine. By migrating to Azure, our customers get an ever-expanding set of cloud services, with the highest possible security from the ground up, backed by a team of experts and proactive compliance trusted by enterprises, governments and start-ups. Microsoft is committed to help Ukrainian companies to upgrade their business with the newest technologies. Thanks to partnership with Metinvest Digital and Infopulse, we are witnessing an amazing case of powerful digital transformation that will help Metinvest to develop further by implementing new innovative solutions in the mining industry.
Metinvest Digital Team:
Konstantin Koval – Project Supervisor, Dmytro Kyreyev – Project Manager | Chief Architect, Leonid Sapelnikov – Resource Owner, Eugene Zhurba – Project Administrator, Konstantin Fadin – Infrastructure Engineer (PaaS/SaaS/Office 356), Dmytro Savchenko – Infrastructure Architect (Secondary), Yevgeniya Malchenko – Infrastructure Engineer (DBA), Pavlo Pastushenko – Infrastructure Architect (Primary), Roman Tyutyuma – Infrastructure Engineer (secondary PaaS/SaaS/Office 356/DBA), Oleksandr Tsupik – Network Architect, (Primary), Ruslan Khazimov – Cybersecurity, Ihor Malchenyuk – Cybersecurity.
Ivan Musiienko – Head of Cloud Managed Services and Solutions, Pavlo Diachenko – Sales Manager, Oleksii Masharov – Delivery Manager, Vadym Popov – Expert IT Engineer/IT Architect, Oleksii Ivanov – Expert IT Engineer/IT Architect, Ievgen Muzyka – Expert IT Engineer/IT Architect, Serhiy Kozlov – Senior IT Engineer, Pavlo Tymoshenko – Senior IT Engineer, Volodymyr Vaskov – DevOps Engineer.