Smoothwall Case Study
Smoothwall is a leading provider of digital safety technology with solutions that keep organisations shielded from online security threats.
Amarti, and the Smoothwall team, faced various challenges at the beginning of the migration process. The previous platform had been implemented, and utilised, from its conception around 2010 until 2021 and as such had become antiquated.
When this platform came within the engineering remit, there was not enough documentation and depth of insight. Thus, the engineers and wider-team needed to come together to gain a strong grasp on the existing system’s technology. This gap in the knowledge required time to bridge which is where amarti came in. amarti supported the engineering team by providing structure and direction during this time. Once this was overcome, and all the information needed was attained, the stabilisation process began.
Further challenges had arisen from the inadequacy of the existing legacy system. Smoothwall’s support team was inundated with tickets submitted by users who were experiencing technical difficulties and malfunctions including failure to log in, a slow and lagging experience upon sign-in, and frequent page time-outs. Essentially, the software was no longer providing an adequate user experience leaving users and customers frustrated, which against other leading products within Smoothwall did not match. Ultimately, for a B2C business specialising in tech security the kinds of issues that their legacy platform had been causing became unavoidable and serious. The sales team also faced challenges as advertising, selling, and pushing Smoothwall’s software became hazardous as it was facing issues that would seriously impact customer satisfaction.
It was clear that a migration to the cloud for this particular product would be necessary to improve the problems with customer satisfaction and bring it inline with the success of Smoothwall’s additional products. These problems had been negatively impacting lead generation, conversions, retention, and ultimately overall business growth in this area.
Amarti came on board, to facilitate, oversee and implement the migration process being the eyes and ears for Smoothwall ensuring timelines and goals were being met.
Amarti acts as a bridge between decision-makers and engineers all the while providing structure and guidance.
Amarti provided the know-how to help bridge the gap from the ASP Classic world, to a modern .Net architecture where front and back end are separated and built natively in Azure.
Amarti was able to support Smoothwall by providing a specialist technical team and by implementing a structure to facilitate the wider goals of the project.
The phases to this build were:
During the first phase of the project, the team focused on stabilising and enhancing the performance of the existing codebase. The stabilisation and performance enhancements included a reduction in DB calls, migration to an updated Windows server that could handle the load and additional indexes to improve performance. From here, all redundant ASP pages and database tables were removed from the monolith codebase.
Additionally, 56,000 users were migrated from a local on-premise MySql database to an Auth0 database. Passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication details were also migrated to provide a seamless transition and create a non-disruptive experience for users. PHP refactored in Classic ASP allowing PHP to be completely removed from the codebase. A novel REST API was built-in .NET 5 with a dual ability to communicate with either MySQL or future Azure SQL.
During phase two 300,000 user files were migrated from a Windows file system to Azure Blob Storage. Azure Blob Storage provides file management to UI via the new REST API. The classic ASP is rerouted with MySQL connection funnels all requests through the new REST API. Additionally, all of the .NET framework scheduled tasks were rerouted to funnel all the requests also via the new REST API.
Furthermore, structural and organisation elements were also implemented to encourage the successful completion of these two aforementioned phases and all the intricacies they encompass.
A combination of daily stand-ups, bi-monthly retrospectives, and the implementation of backlogs employed for audit purposes pulled the team together. Clearing the lines of communication while keeping short-term and long-term goals in central focus.
Amarti also kept communication between the support team, who were at the forefront of customer experience, and the technical team clear so that every detail was covered and improved upon. Utilising Rocket Manager amarti was able to keep communication flowing smoothly.
Amarti oversaw the entire project and supported the separate departments in a way that nurtures their common goal. Amarti had to maintain an exceedingly close eye on the details as well as the wider picture in an environment that is constantly changing. Amarti offers tailored support that ensures the smooth delivery of powerful technical solutions.