Case Study: Serverless Amazon S3 Data Lake

“We teamed with 1Strategy because they provided us their extensive and all-encompassing AWS expertise and guided us quickly in building this solid foundation, from which the rest of our AWS infrastructure could evolve.”

-Murali Penubothu, CIO and VP of Information Technology, Nicholas and Company

About Nicholas and Company

Nicholas and Company (based in Salt Lake City, Utah) is a privately-owned, independent foodservice distribution company providing regional service to the western United States. From their early beginnings in 1939 to their current third-generation leadership and state-of-the art food distribution facilities, Nicholas and Company has delivered the highest quality products and services to their valued clients.

The Challenge

Due to increased growth, Nicholas and Company realized that their data management challenges couldn’t be solved with their traditional, limited on-premises databases. In addition to hiring a third-party data scientist, they reached out to 1Strategy—an Advanced Amazon Web Service (AWS) Consulting Partner—to help them take advantage of the AWS ecosystem.

A primary goal for Nicholas and Company was to build a near real-time data insights platform leveraging serverless components of the AWS technology stack and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) data lake; this would allow the company to have a centralized repository to store all their data in a cost-effective solution that delivers unlimited scalability. Recognizing that a strong foundation based in AWS best practices can make all the difference, Nicholas and Company solicited help from 1Stratetgy. Ultimately, they wanted to ensure that they were setting things up correctly from the project’s genesis so that future infrastructure could scale easily and efficiently.

Why AWS

Data reliability, scalability, and security were the driving factors in the company’s decision to move from their on-premises data centers into the cloud. Nicholas and Company selected AWS due to its reputation and the ability to effectively secure and store data in the cloud.

“AWS offers us simplicity and the most complete data management platform, which allows us to focus on our core business objectives, rather than allocating our time and money to IT-infrastructure projects,” said Murali Penubothu, CIO and VP of Information Technology at Nicholas and Company. “Foreseeing our plans for the future, the potential and future growth of AWS aligns with our goals.”

The Benefits

1Strategy assisted Nicholas and Company in designing and building a serverless data lake service on AWS with Amazon S3 as the primary storage platform and Amazon Redshift as their data warehouse. In addition, 1Strategy guided the replication of the company’s on-premises Microsoft SQL Server and IBM DB2 data to this AWS solution. Utilizing Amazon S3-based data lake architecture allows Nicholas and Company to have a centralized, secure, and highly durable cloud-based storage platform, while receiving unlimited, scalable performance in a cost-effective solution. Using Amazon Redshift provides the company with a large-scale, managed data warehouse service that can be used with data assets in Amazon S3. The company took advantage of Amazon Glacier as it provides a low-cost, durable, and secure service for their data archiving and long-term backup.

“Utilizing AWS allows Nicholas and Company to extract increased amounts of business value from our data,” said Penubothu. “We teamed with 1Strategy because they provided us their extensive and all-encompassing AWS expertise and guided us quickly in building this solid foundation, from which the rest of our AWS infrastructure could evolve.”

The value Nicholas and Company has gained from deploying an AWS Serverless Amazon S3 data lake extends further: the company now has the ability to harness increased data from various sources. This gives them the capability to analyze their data using different analytics tools and services, which allows them to derive more insights and provide more value for their customers, suppliers, and partners. In addition, 1Strategy extensively discussed the benefits of and outlined best practices for other AWS solutions; they now have options for future integrations and other business-critical functions, with the potential of utilizing Amazon Database Migration Service (DMS), AWS Glue, Amazon RedShift Spectrum, Amazon Athena, and AWS Lambda.

Security

To shore up their security posture within the AWS infrastructure, 1Strategy provided the company with best practices for account governance. 1Strategy also recommended creating multiple AWS accounts by implementing an identity-based security structure for their AWS accounts. This included defining roles and functions, auditing, and efficiently linking their multiple accounts for security purposes and for consolidated billing. In addition, 1Strategy helped integrate the company’s OKTA Single Sign-On (SSO) with AWS SSO (an SSO service is a secure and easy way to manage several AWS accounts without compromising the integrities of the individual applications).

Finally, 1Strategy built the initial security features for the company’s original accounts then educated them in using AWS ClouldTrail and AWS Config. With CloudTrail, Nicholas and Company can now effectively and continuously monitor, detect, and retain account interactions across their AWS infrastructure. AWS Config will enable the company to safely track configuration changes of their AWS resources.

About the Partner

1Strategy is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Advanced Consulting Partner focusing exclusively on AWS, with experts having deployed AWS solutions since 2007. 1Strategy holds the AWS DevOps Competency and specializes in helping customers architect and migrate workloads to AWS including Big Data, DevOps transformations, CI/CD, and automation. 1Strategy has established itself as a leader in consulting services, custom training, and support. 1Strategy was chosen as a Launch Partner to the AWS Managed Service Partner program and is working in AWS Public Sector Program. In 2017, 1Strategy was one of ten AWS Partners globally who was qualified and authorized by AWS to conduct a Well-Architected Review and that year conducted more Well-Architected Reviews than any other partner in the AWS eco-system. 1Strategy continues to demonstrate their proven success by helping companies enhance their AWS architecture to be more cost-effective, secure, and reliable.

Learn More

For more information about how 1Strategy can assist your company in migrating to AWS, optimizing AWS solutions (including security and backup strategies), or in receiving custom training, visit 1Strategy.com or contact us at info@1Strategy.com.