AIS is excited to offer a truly unique opportunity for any software engineers interested in building a career in Azure. In partnership with a long-time client, AIS is building a first-of-its-kind Azure Cloud Academy in Carmel, Indiana.

Together we will hire, train and mentor 400 software engineers in Azure over the coming two years. AIS is targeted to place 50 people this year and next, while our client is looking to place 150 people in that same time frame.

AIS will place Azure architects, mentors and senior staff to lead the Cloud Academy and follow-on customer projects. We’ll then seek software engineers in more junior trainee roles to go through the academy to learn Azure. We’ll also help our client in the sourcing, assessment, interviewing and selection process for their additional roles.

Why Azure Cloud Academy? 

As anyone in the IT marketplace knows, there are simply not enough system and software engineers in the world today for all the work that needs to be done! This is especially true for new technology areas such as public cloud infrastructure like Azure, which has seen unprecedented, accelerated growth over the past few years. AIS built up our Azure staff and practice from the ground up as there just weren’t enough candidates in the job marketplace.

As a result, we already have a great deal of experience sourcing the right candidates, and the managing them through training and hands-on mentoring to build their skills so they can contribute to our world-class project teams. Now, with the Azure Cloud Academy, we’re ready to do that at a much larger scale! Read More…

Last week, I had the pleasure to be a guest on the .NET Rock podcast. I talked to Carl and Richard about the Microsoft Business Application Platform, which organizes the huge suite of tools available in Azure, along with PowerApps and PowerBI, to create a great place to build applications that run on Windows, iOS and Android.

I also talked about moving up into a higher layer of coding using Logic Apps and Azure Flow to pull together the various sources of data that already exist in your organization, including Office, SharePoint, SalesForce and so on. You already have the data, so how do you surface it in an app that your users actually like to use?

And finally, we discussed the PowerApps spring update that brings both server-side logic and model-driven apps.

Listen to the full podcast here!

Calling all SharePoint users and Office 365 developers! AIS is sponsoring this month’s Meetup for the Triangle SharePoint User Group in Morrisville, North Carolina. It’s shaping up to be a great one, so RSVP today to claim your spot.

About the Session:

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are the new buzzwords in the industry. In this session, we will cover Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Services for Office 365 developers.

About the Speaker:

Prashant G. Bhoyar is a Microsoft Office Server & Services MVP and Microsoft Certified Professional. He currently works as a Solution Architect at WithumSmith+Brown, P.C. (formerly Portal Solutions), one of the top 30 accounting and advisory firms in the country. He is a trusted advisor and Subject Matter Expert and specializes in the development and post-implementation adoption of complex custom solutions in Azure, Office 365, and SharePoint. Prashant has supported many government agencies and non-profit organizations in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Prashant was the co-author of the book PowerShell for Office 365 and was the technical reviewer of the book Pro SharePoint 2013 Administration.

He serves on the leadership committee for the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning User Group, and D.C. Metro Office 365 User Group, and SharePoint Saturday Baltimore event and SharePoint Saturday Washington DC event. He actively speaks at technical conferences across the country, most recently in Chicago, Seattle, New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia, as well as, at many events throughout North America. Prashant is a recipient of the “Antarctic Service Medal of the United States of America” for his outstanding service in Antarctica.

Click here for the event’s agenda, location and to claim your spot! Space is limited so RSVP today!

The AIS Talent team is participating in many exciting technical community and education events this Spring in the Washington, D.C. and Indianapolis areas. Please come join us to network and build relationships with your fellow technical professionals, plus learn about the awesome career opportunities available here at AIS!

April 5th – 6th

The Ivy Tech Competition at Ivy Tech Community College

Held at the Indianapolis campus of the largest IT tech college in the country, this event will challenge 300 IT students across eight different tech competitions! (Check out the competition summaries here.)  The event also includes a 50-employer job fair. AIS is a Silver Sponsor and will be participating as a job fair exhibitor on Thursday April 5th, and Tom O’Connell will be attending the IT competition on Friday April 6th. Come show us what you’ve got!

April 7th

NOVA CodeCamp

A free event for Developers, by Developers! We’ve been participating in NOVA CodeCamp in Reston, VA for over 10 years and are proud to be a Platinum Sponsor for 2018! Our own Shiv Kumar will be presenting on “Programming with Intent,” and our wonderful Talent team will conduct a repeat session of their popular “Ask the Recruiter” session during lunch. We’re expecting between 100 – 200 Developer attendees this year, so RSVP today!

April 14th – 16th

Indy.code()

Indy.Code() is a three-day software development conference in downtown Indianapolis. With over 100 breakout sessions and hands-on workshops covering all aspects of software development, Indy.Code() is a must-attend event for any serious software professional. AIS is a Gold Sponsor and members of our Talent team will be attending and manning our sponsorship booth to network with prospective candidates. Space is limited and registration closes on April 9th, so register now!

April 21st

Global Azure Bootcamp (Reston, VA)

This month, on April 21st, Azure user communities from around the world will come together for the sixth great Global Azure Bootcamp event! Each user group will organize their own one-day deep dive class on Azure. The result is thousands of people learning about Azure and joining together online under the social hashtag #GlobalAzure! (Check out a full map of locations here.) AIS is participating in the Reston, VA event as a sponsor and once again, our Talent team will be manning our booth to network with prospective candidates. The event is currently sold out but be sure to get yourself on the waitlist here.

We hope to see you at one (or more!) of these great events this Spring. Be sure to check out our Careers page as well to see a full list of the many, MANY great job and career opportunities available here at AIS. 

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”…otherwise known as Murphy’s Law. I couldn’t find a better phrase to describe a recent problem we encountered at AIS Managed Services.

I’ve been a part of the Managed Services practice at AIS for quite some time now. As part of this practice, we provide proactive and reactive support to various clients. Internally, we support the AIS Internet site and the AIS Blog, as well as multiple enterprise-level commercial and federal customers. This blog post covers the challenges of availability monitoring, related to a downtime incident right here on the AIS Blog. Read More…

Our own Senior Infrastructure Engineer Daniel Suenkel recently hosted a Breakfast and Learn to share his knowledge and passion for Azure OMS with his AIS colleagues. Continuing with his theme, he explained why Azure OMS truly is the “One Tool to Rule Them All!”

In addition to the material that he provided in his previous blog (Azure OMS: One Tool To Rule Them All), he provided a deeper dive into what Azure OMS is and exactlywhat is offered in each service. Continue reading to find out why Azure OMS continues to be the “One Tool To Rule Them All”… Read More…

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) offers free, 24/7 compassionate care and support to anyone grieving the loss of a military loved one. Since 1994, TAPS has assisted more than 75,000 surviving families, casualty officers and caregivers. AIS has been proudly supporting this wonderful organization for a number of years.

Last week AIS was a sponsor at the TAPS 10th annual Honor Guard Gala in Washington, D.C. This event helps raise critical funding for TAPS programs throughout the year. We had a number of employees attend, and Wade Allen and Brett Goldsmith provided the following photos for anyone who missed it.

If you’d like to support the mission of TAPS, visit their website for more events, volunteer opportunities and financial donations.

 

 

At the AIS Portals & Collaboration practice, we help many organizations create new experiences with portals to increase their productivity and growth. We also have lift and shift experience where we migrate the existing portals to the cloud—or even architect a custom solution from the ground up, if required.

The Background

The client in this case was an organization that provides financial services to multiple clients and handled multi-billion-dollar assets. This organization had multiple websites running Drupal with a third-party vendor. The vendor provided a custom setup but it was riddled with various issues like slow response, excessive downtime, etc. AIS was engaged to perform a lift & shift operation for their Drupal websites along with a CI/CD setup across multiple environments.

Requirement Gathering

As soon as AIS started the requirement gathering, it was clear that we were going to migrate the websites and databases to a PaaS-based model after initial discussions. Microsoft Azure was deemed the best choice given the plethora of options available for websites, and the customer already had an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft Azure.

The client had several modifications which required explicit use of Apache Webserver, along with Drush, PHP 7.1 and they needed room for future modifications. People working with Drupal should be quite familiar with that—Drush is often known as the “Swiss Army Knife” for Drupal.

Selecting THE Azure Offerings…

Initially we came up with the following options:

  1. Create Virtual Machines Hosting Web Servers & Databases
  2. Modify the modules requiring Apache and then host the websites on Windows/IIS based Web Apps
  3. Azure Web App for Containers

Option 1 meant that we had to setup the entire infrastructure from scratch. Setting up the infrastructure from scratch wasn’t an issue, but the overhead of maintenance and costs afterwards made us look for other alternatives.

Option 2 required quite some rework, and our previous experience taught us that Drush has hiccups when running on Windows-based hosts.

Option 3 was the best choice because it allowed us to write a custom Docker image with Apache, PHP 7.1, Drush and give the room for future modifications. It was the perfect balance of customization, maintenance overhead and costs. We also got added benefits like:

  1. Automated backups handled by Azure
  2. Continuous Deployment handled by the magic of Kudu
  3. Detailed metrics like Response time, number of requests etc. (Who doesn’t love detailed metrics??)
  4. Auto scaling and lots more!

The Immediate Benefits!

This is the section which should most interest all of you readers. After moving the sites over to Azure, we immediately noticed a huge drop in…

  1. Time to deploy to various environments
  2. Response time. The response time came down to ~350 milliseconds from almost 1 second and above.
  3. The site was overall much faster…and the best part was that the client’s earlier infrastructure had four cores but this new (and shiny!) setup only had two cores and 3.5GB of RAM.

Over the period of almost 20 days, the container served almost 4.6 million requests without breaking a sweat, as you can see from the below graph of CPU/RAM usage:

Figure 1 Mind you, this App Service plan runs another website!

Stay tuned for future blog posts regarding migrating Drupal to Azure experiences and the interesting challenges! Till then, cheerio!

As part of our ongoing commitment to provide superior-level service to our customers and partners, AIS successfully continued our ISO certifications. Our certifications include ISO 9001, which relates to Quality Management, and ISO 27001, which relates to Information Security.

AIS senior management sees these certifications as an opportunity to provide value to our customers through the use of the globally-recognized processes and procedures required for a Quality Management System and to drive better quality and consistency in our service delivery. The processes and procedures required for an Information Security Management System will improve our threat protection posture — a high priority these days, given the omnipresent risk of hacks and other security breeches.

Through these efforts, AIS will benefit from the continual improvement of these processes, better performance and enhanced customer satisfaction for our customers, and improve our competitive position across all sectors of our business.