Transportation and Logistics companies are facing the same challenges as any other organization when it comes to hosting applications in the cloud. Let me tell you how we helped one company in this industry make the jump to the cloud so easy and efficient that, not only are they never going back to on-premises data centers, they want to migrate more of their on-premises applications to the cloud.
American Commercial Barge Lines (ACBL), is a marine transportation services company with almost 3700 employees. It’s one of the largest inland shipbuilders and barge operators in the United States. In Jeffersonville, Indiana, it manufactures barges and towboats that operate in the intra-coastal (inland) waterways of the United States. A larger part of the business is shipping commodities in those barges for a wide variety of customers.
The inflexible nature of on-premises IT infrastructure
Before the cloud migration project, ACBL’s on-premises IT environment included Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) which handled core financials, purchasing, inventory, and an asset management module. The majority of its users were based at the company’s headquarters but there were also users in other US facilities. (They even had asset management users on some towboats.)
ACBL was reaching the end of a 3 year agreement with a 3rd party hosting provider and IT was ready to shop for a new hosting solution.
Choosing AWS over on-premises
With AWS, “The ability to grow or shrink your infrastructure footprint with truly a few clicks was really impressive,” said Michael McGrath, ACBL VP, Information Technology. ACBL realized that with the AWS cloud platform they could make these infrastructure choices and, as their requirements progressed, easily change them with minimal disruption to their business. That flexible platform, the pay-as-you go infrastructure services, and the ability to limit on-premises investment in a data center were exciting features.
Need specialized help with Oracle and AWS
ACL realized they couldn’t make this transition on their own because they knew specialized expertise to migrate and host Oracle EBS on AWS was needed. It was important for ACL to partner with someone with extensive experience in both platforms, who knew how to configure Amazon infrastructure and services, and could monitor and manage their EBS environment on AWS. They chose Apps Associates because of our extensive expertise with both. We are an Amazon Premier Consulting Partner and an Oracle Platinum Partner.
Only 4 hours of operational downtime
The migration to the AWS production environment took place over a weekend. Operational downtime was consolidated to only a four hour window. In that time the data was exported, copied over from its past hosting provider to AWS, and EBS up and running on the cloud.
The trickiest piece of this entire migration was the single-sign on integration with ACBL’s EBS and BI environment. With Apps Associates’ support they resolved any hiccups within the hour of completing the migration and were ready for operations well before the start of the work week on Monday.
Getting ready to move more to the cloud
Eighteen months after the migration ACBL is enjoying lower infrastructure costs which they attribute to the flexibility of the platform and being able to pay for services as needed. An unexpected bonus is the ease of tracking costs on AWS invoices. Because of its billing structure, AWS simplifies departmental charge back, which can be difficult to accomplish with on-premises data centers.
ACBL is happy with both AWS and Apps Associates. They are planning to continue migration of their on-premises hardware to the cloud and do not see themselves heavily investing in on-premises hardware in the future. Learn more detail about ACBL’s cloud migration with this video and case study.