You’ve heard the stories of small businesses and start-up companies building their business processes (HR, payroll, customer service, CRM) in the cloud from day one, but what happens when a 60-year old, traditional company decides to make the transformation to cloud?
This is the story of Air Works and its rapid transformation to a modern, cloud-first architecture. under the leadership of their global CIO, Ravinder Pal Singh (pictured). Established in 1951, Air Works is a leading European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified provider of aviation MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) and a one-stop shop for integrated private aviation services, offering aircraft sales, aircraft management, aircraft charter, and aircraft insurance to its customers. With operations in India, UK and Dubai and spanning four continents, Air Works has a proud 60-year history, starting as a family-run company to today’s recent highlight being recognized as a leading innovator in digital and cloud transformation.
How did the transformation to cloud occur?
Air Works operates in a highly complex industry with strict requirements for data compliance and business continuity. Yet, their legacy on-premise infrastructure became a lag as their workforce became more mobile and global, and day-to-day business demanded greater performance and response time. It became clear that Air Works infrastructure needed to be upgraded, and new applications needed to be developed. The team at Air Works began the transformation by developing and deploying its legacy application architecture to the world-class elastic Platform as a Service (PaaS), Microsoft Azure, and by creating a platform to host new applications, all while keeping business scale and user experience in mind.
As Air Works grew, so did their need for digitization and the automation of information. Under the leadership of Mr. Ravinder Pal Singh, IT shifted their strategy to cloud with the aim of reducing infrastructure needs on premise. They soon discovered that going cloud differentiated them from their competitors. Says Subhash Mishra, Senior Manager of IT at Air Works, “We’ve designed our IT strategy around the cloud. Even though our end user computing is still on desktops and laptops, we preferred not have infrastructure on-premise.” By running more and more of its IT functions in the cloud, Air Works soon gained benefits such as stability, elasticity and ease of management.
The next stage of moving IT to the cloud
The next stage in Air Work’s cloud transformation addressed data backup. “Business continuity is especially important for us, which is also why backups are part of our contingency strategy – and that’s where Druva came in,” shares Subhash. “Before inSync, Air Works was backing up to on-premise tape drives. We wanted to get away from tapes and doing backup locally, and moving and writing to tape.”
For Air Works, there was immediate value and cost savings with using a cloud backup solution. They didn’t have to buy any hardware, nor were there any storage requirements. “It was as simple as buying a license for the user and seeding out the deployment as needed,” says Subhash. With new ability to move the data into the cloud directly, Air Works moved away from reliance on on-premise on tape drives and doing backup locally. In terms of value, Air Works saw cost savings by reducing the need to buy hardware for backup and reducing storage requirements.
Subhash says his favorite feature is the admin portal, “It’s easy to use and configure with built-in analytics and reporting.” A big win for the company has been scalability, cloud, and a user friendly admin portal which can be accessed anywhere and not constrained to corporate network availability, a perfect fit for Air Work’s BYOD culture. “I like how admins can easily roll out backup processes for new hires, and easily manage and monitor backups through the portal. You don’t need any specific training for someone to use Druva. Both the admin and end user portals are easy to use and understand.”
Air Works’ earlier forays into front-end application migration helped them see the benefits of cloud and spurred them to move deeper in the IT stack. Subhash offers some advice to those considering going all-in on cloud. “Going to cloud-based backup is not for everyone. For someone who has not tested cloud at all, it could be a big challenge to deploy a product that runs on the cloud, and depends on specific requirements and experience, but if someone is looking for cloud backup that is scalable and light to use, I’d recommend Druva.”
In addition to end user data backup on cloud, Air Works has also migrated more than 20+ legacy servers and infrastructure on the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform Amazon Web Services (AWS) and created its virtual data center out of AWS along with fully automated data backup/DR using various cloud technologies. By going all-in on cloud, Air Works is a model of a global, agile and streamlined global enterprise that has reinvented itself by embracing a future-forward technology portfolio to grow their business, ensuring its competitiveness for the next 60 years.
Trying to figure out the ROI of cloud backup for your business? Check out the brief below: