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…

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!

Last night’s AzureGov Meetup was an exceptionally fantastic one! The team challenged the Azure Government DC user community to create and share 12-minute demos to showcase cool tech that can help accelerate your cloud implementation.

We received a terrific response to the challenge and it resulted in a rock-star lineup of speakers, demos and an inside scoop on what’s moving the needle in government technology today. The presenters included:

  • Patrick Curran, Director, Federal Group, Planet Technologies
  • Mark Joscelyne, Head of Technical Operations, Public Sector, Frame
  • Deepak Mallya, Chief Cloud Architect, Cloudwave, Inc.
  • John Osborne, Principal OpenShift Solutions Architect, Red Hat
  • Steve Michelotti, Lead Dev Evangelist, Microsoft Azure Government

You can watch ALL the demos here at the archived livestream. (It’s available for a limited time, so check it out today!) Read More…

About this time last month, Microsoft announced that its Azure Government cloud platform received Authority to Operate (ATO) designations from both the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Air Force gave Azure Government the Defense Department‘s Impact Level 4 ATO, while ICE issued a FedRAMP High ATO.

In other words, that DoD Impact Level 4 ATO confirms that Azure Government complies with security standards required to host “controlled unclassified data for development, test and production environments within CCE.” The Air Force has already started to build a cloud infrastructure through the ATO and a shared application platform and hosting environment.

The FedRAMP High ATO authorizes Azure Government to handle ICE’s most sensitive unclassified data, including data that supports the agency’s core functions and protects against loss of life. The agency is currently implementing transformative technologies for homeland security and public safety, and the High ATO designation for Azure will allow them to innovate even faster.

This is great news for both the agencies and for Azure Government. We’ve helped large federal agencies make the move to the cloud using Azure tools, and while these migrations are always quite complex, we’ve actually streamlined the process down to five crucial steps: Compliance, envisioning, onboarding, deployment, and sustainment. 

AIS’ five-step DoD Cloud Adoption Framework is built on lessons we’ve learned from countless successful commercial and DoD secure cloud migrations and results in an expedited yet fully compliant process. We’re looking forward to helping many more agencies head to the cloud as a trusted Microsoft (and government) partner.

We’re fascinated by the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence and the truly transformative opportunities it offers our customers. We’ve been digging deep into machine learning, computer vision and other AI capabilities for quite some time now, and believe they will grow into a significant part of our business. We’re not alone: IDC predicts 75 percent of developer teams will include cognitive and AI functionality in one or more applications this year.

To assist companies looking to build an AI-focused practice, Microsoft recently released the AI Practice Development Playbook with guidance and resources around developing an AI strategy, gaining the required skills, plus how to market and sell these cutting-edge offerings. AIS is proud to be a contributing expert and co-author of the Playbook, along with our fellow Microsoft partners and other leading AI data scientists.

Get your copy of the AI Playbook right here. We’d love to hear what you think of it!


It’s no secret that AIS is committed to and highly passionate about Azure—just browse our blog or visit our website!

We have a unique ability (or perhaps a secret weapon!) to help us deliver sophisticated Azure solutions quickly and efficiently using our global delivery model. AIS has a unique strategy that tightly integrates global delivery teams from day one—team members are included in all phases of the project, from envisioning through delivery to production & sustenance engineering.

Our India Development Center (IDC) team works closely with our U.S.-based teams, independently delivering projects and provides professional services directly to our client’s delivery teams. Our IDC team has tons of real-world experience (particularly in Azure), and now we’re proud to present their latest achievement:

Over 25 Azure certifications were completed by the AIS IDC team in just six months. From Architecting, Developing and Implementing Microsoft Azure Solutions, the IDC team now has multiple certified and highly-qualified developers. These certifications represent the team’s commitment to Azure and using it to provide our clients with cloud-based solutions to their real-world business problems.

Congratulations to the AIS IDC team!

Sajad Deyargaroo, AIS software engineer and MCP, presents at an Azure conference in India.

It’s a New Year, and a new (or continuing!) resolution for many government agencies is to finally (and fully!) take advantage of cloud computing. But the same old problems persist: Where to start? How to start? And who can help?

With those challenges in mind, Microsoft and AIS kicked off 2018 with a solid #Azure Meetup speaker lineup of cloud and industry experts to help figure out where to begin and what valuable training resources are available. They also provided insight on some government use cases and best practices for cloud onboarding success.

Last night’s speakers included:

  • Guy Cavallo, Deputy CIO, Small Business Administration
  • Brian Harrison, Cloud Solution Architect, Microsoft
  • Bernarldo “Bernie” Ellis, Senior Program Manager, Azure Government, Microsoft

In case you missed it, you can watch the entire Meetup via the archived livestream here.

Reserve your spot for February’s meetup today. As always, these events are free to the public and offer great networking opportunities both before and after the show! If you won’t be able to make it, just follow AISteam on Twitter for photos, highlights and links to the livestream. Read More…

2017 was another great year overall here at AIS, and also marked the fifth anniversary of our blog! We hope you enjoyed reading and found our posts helpful and interesting. We’re all pretty passionate about what we do here, and look forward to sharing more thoughts, insights and solutions in 2018 and beyond!

As we close out the year, here are the top 10 most read and shared blog posts of 2017:

1) Office 365 Groups vs. Microsoft Teams by Jason Storch

2) Lift & Shift: Migrating Legacy Applications to Azure Cloud by Nasir Mirza

3) Dockerization of Azure PaaS (Beyond Azure Container) by Vishwas Lele

4) Managed Images in Azure (Create & Deploy) by Justin Baca

5) Building Stateless Microservice Using Microsoft Service Fabric Series by Kasi Srinivasan

6) Azure PaaS Options: When to Use What? by Vishwas Lele

7) A three-way tie (!) for Parts One, Two & Three of Automated Deployments with Azure Resource Manager Templates, Azure Automation, & Octopus Deploy by Harun Davood

8) It’s Time to Review the Failure Modes of Your #cloud App(s) by Vishwas Lele

9) Pattern Matching vs. Deep Learning by Vishwas Lele

10) A Fix for the SharePoint Search Query/Result Mismatch by Clint Richardson

Happy New Year to all our readers and bloggers! Be sure to follow AIS on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn so you’ll never miss a post.

As 2017 ends, it’s clear that while the enterprises (public sector and commercial) are increasingly moving to the public cloud, they face significant challenges. Earlier in the year, I wrote about bridging the chasm between the expectations from an enterprise regarding cloud capabilities and the actual out-of-the box features offered by cloud providers. Additional challenges include the foundational culture shift to cloud governance, DevOps and automation, security and compliance, and mapping an enterprise’s application portfolio to a complex array of cloud service options.

Here are five things you can do next year to better assist enterprises adopt the public cloud: Read More…