Responsible for one of the world's largest customer loyalty programs, this operating company of a major global airline group sought performance and cost improvements in its partner loyalty rewards application.
The organization worked with longtime partner NTT DATA to assess a cloud transformation that would migrate the application from an on-premises infrastructure to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud. As a result, the team modernized the application, significantly increasing scalability while reducing operating costs.
Company loyalty reward programs retain customers and encourage repeat purchases, increasing customer lifetime value. Loyalty programs also help companies gather valuable data on customer purchasing habits and preferences, which can improve products and services and create personalized marketing campaigns.
This global airline group manages one of the most extensive travel-related customer loyalty programs in the world, serving 40 million members in over 160 countries. Travel is a highly competitive market, and the parent group relies on the program to differentiate itself and its partners from other organizations. So, ensuring that the customer loyalty application is scalable, reliable and cost-effective is critical to the airline group's success.
- Migrates on-premise application to AWS in eight months with no unplanned downtime
- Lowers application licensing costs by 70%
- Reduces migration time from WebLogic to Tomcat by 75%
- Cuts time to migrate workloads to AWS by 50% using Infrastructure as Code
- Leverages automation for 90% of post-migration activities
The operating company has partnered with NTT DATA for nearly a decade to maintain and operate its loyalty reward application in an on-premises infrastructure. But in 2021, NTT DATA suggested that the organization pursue a cloud transformation opportunity to migrate the application to the AWS public cloud. Already a user of the AWS Cloud for other applications, the operating company agreed.
And so, this reward program's journey to the cloud began.
The first leg: a clear assessment
Having a clear understanding of the benefits, the company started with an assessment. NTT DATA used Nucleus CloudART to automate the application assessment quickly and effectively — and, ultimately, to help adapt and migrate the rewards application to the cloud.
CloudART is one of more than 20 software products available to clients on NTT DATA’s Nucleus Intelligent Enterprise Platform. Using automated methodologies, CloudART efficiently analyzes existing applications' viability for migration to the cloud, generates code to adapt those applications to run in the cloud and deploys those freshly scalable applications to the cloud.
In preparation to migrate the application to the AWS Cloud, CloudART's automated discovery and analysis reduced the application assessment time by 95% – from a predicted 320 hours to 16 hours. CloudART automation also eliminated errors that might have occurred in the manual assessment processes it replaced.
As soon as the operating company had the CloudART assessment in hand, it had a roadmap and gave NTT DATA the go-ahead. Together, the organization's engineers and NTT DATA started the migration.
Before buckling up: the middleware migration
The company and NTT DATA allotted eight months for the application migration to the AWS Cloud. NTT DATA knew this was an aggressive timeline: the migration included re-platforming the reward application's middleware from Oracle WebLogic to Apache Tomcat and modifying the application's web and batch code to run on Tomcat.
Despite those challenges, NTT DATA was confident in its migration roadmap and tools. CloudART automation again proved its value, reducing the middleware re-platforming time by 75% and helping to ensure that the migration to the AWS Cloud remained on schedule. In addition, re-platforming the reward application's middleware off Oracle yielded significant savings in Oracle licensing costs.
Cloud deployment takes off with code
Once the team developed, tested and staged the cloud-ready rewards application infrastructure, they again turned to CloudArt to migrate the application from the operating company's on-premises infrastructure to the AWS Cloud.
CloudART provides extensive IaC capabilities based on Terraform. The rewards application already used IaC to automate, manage and provision aspects of its infrastructure. The team's combined IaC expertise and tools reduced migration time to the AWS Cloud by 50%.
Airborne on the AWS Cloud
Eight months after the cloud journey began, the team completed the initial migration of the loyalty rewards application to the AWS Cloud. The cloud transition was on time, on budget and without significant business disruption.
The application deployed uses a wide range of AWS technologies, including:
- Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR) to support Docker container images
- Amazon Route 53 and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) to enable user access across two redundant architectures
- Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) and Amazon ECS Cluster Services for Docker orchestration
- Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) to provide scalable computing capacity
- Amazon Aurora MySQL for database services
- Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) for data storage
- AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) and AWS Secrets Manager to provide encryption and storage of credentials, API keys and other sensitive information
Migrating the application's database services to Aurora MySQL brought significant benefits. The on-premises instance of the application relied on an enterprise edition of Oracle Database. That Oracle database was highly efficient and helped the application meet the stringent SLAs offered to its customers. But the database also generated substantial licensing costs.
Knowing that the AWS instance of the application would need to match the performance of the on-premises instance, NTT DATA optimized the application's database workflows for Amazon Aurora MySQL. The result: the Aurora MySQL database performance on the cloud now exceeds the performance delivered by the on-premises Oracle database by as much as 30%, with another 20% to 30% performance increase projected from there.
Removing the Oracle Database and the prior removal of the Oracle WebLogic middleware reduced overall licensing costs by 70%.
The transformation to Aurora MySQL and the AWS Cloud resulted in additional cost savings. Supporting the rewards application now requires fewer dedicated database analysts and network engineers. The operating company can now allocate those resources to other projects as needed.
The net result: migrating the loyalty rewards application from on-premises infrastructure to the AWS Cloud has reduced infrastructure and operating costs by 30%.
More innovation on the horizon
NTT DATA is now responsible for managing the AWS infrastructure for the loyalty rewards application. As part of that effort, it established a CI/CD pipeline governing ongoing application management. That workflow, founded on IaC, DevSecOps and Site Recovery Engineering (SRE) best practices, automates 90% of post-migration activities.
Additionally, the operating company and NTT DATA share a vision of moving the rewards application onto a microservices-based architecture that would further increase the application's scalability and deployment flexibility.
About this case study
A global airline group modernized one of the world's largest customer loyalty applications, increasing its scalability and significantly reducing operating costs by migrating from on-premises infrastructure to the AWS Cloud.