Cascadeo AWS Case Study: beBetter Health

About beBetter Health

beBetter Health has been helping companies deliver successful wellness programs for over 25 years. The beBetter System helps employees take action toward improving their health, provides employers with strategies to reduce health care costs and boost employee productivity, and gives brokers everything needed to implement an effective wellness solution.

The Challenge

beBetter Health launched an initiative to build a new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product to better meet the changing needs of its wellness customers. For earlier web applications, beBetter Health had served its customers from its own, traditional datacenter infrastructure, which had multiple single points of failure and a history of unplanned outages. For the new product, the team wanted to focus its resources and efforts specifically on development and rapid deployment of the new applications without having to simultaneously build and support a new infrastructure.

Given the limited domain knowledge by its own staff and the need to support existing internal IT systems, beBetter Health knew it needed a partner with the solid AWS experience in order to meet its objectives for product go-to-market. beBetter Health partnered with Cascadeo Corporation due to their ability to quickly design, build, and operate a scalable, highly-available AWS infrastructure that could underpin its product performance.

Why Amazon Web Services

beBetter Health chose to build its new application services on AWS after evaluating alternatives including building its own, virtualized infrastructure. Several factors drove the decision including:

To achieve beBetter Health's business objectives, Cascadeo built a secure AWS VPC connected via a VPN to the legacy datacenter and migrated its production servers to an initial three-node deployment using EC2 instances. Cascadeo scaled up the infrastructure to 14 nodes using ELB and RDS to meet increasing demand across beBetter Health's services. As part of the operational strategy to take full advantage of the AWS product suite, Cascadeo has helped beBetter Health to evaluate, test, and deploy new AWS services as they become available.

The Benefits

beBetter Health has been able to keep its operating costs very low, even with many constituents putting new demand on the AWS environment. The costs do grow from month to month but can be monitored and managed effectively by beBetter Health's technical stakeholder who holds a global view of both the constituent demand and the AWS deployment. At the same time, beBetter Health has obtained better uptime, significantly reduced unplanned outages, and increased application performance leading to a better overall user experience. Lastly, AWS has given beBetter Health greater operational flexibility, which has enabled rapid revision of the production environment without wasted time and capital expense. According to beBetter Health's technical lead, "Without Cascadeo, beBetter would not have been able to achieve these results in AWS. Anybody can take a Ferrari out for a lap, but to get the most out AWS, you need some one at the wheel who knows how to drive one."

Chef Certification

About Chef

Chef helps customers automate their infrastructure, allowing for accelerating time to market, managing scale and complexity, and safeguarding systems. Whether your network is in the cloud, on-site, or a hybrid, Chef can automate how you configure, deploy and scale your servers and applications, whether you manage 5 servers, 5,000 servers or 500,000 servers. It's no wonder that Chef has been chosen by companies like Facebook, GE, and Amazon for mission-critical challenges.

The Situation:

Due to an increase in demand for professional services, Chef created a certification process that would link their customers to an eco-system of qualified Chef engineers to leverage for their respective initiatives. Cascadeo was selected as one of the initial partners to complete the training and certification process.

The Chef Certification Program is designed to thoroughly assess, train and verify skills and abilities to successfully deploy Chef, as well as establishing a pattern towards continuous delivery for customers. Chef takes a hands-on approach with partners on joint projects to ensure best practices are well understood and implemented. Additionally, the partner certification program includes active participation in the Chef and DevOps communities, as well as having an internal practice manager to ensure proper knowledge transfer. The certification program is currently invite-only.

As a result of this process, Cascadeo was announced as one of the first Chef certified partners at ChefConf 2015.

The Certification process:

Receiving the Chef certification required several criteria to be met. Cascadeo's engineering team needed to attend a number of Chef-led training sessions and workshops. In addition, Chef shadowed several joint engagements, and also reviewed a range of projects we had previously completed as validation of our work product, approach, and methodologies. Lastly, we needed to have one of our engineers lead a multi-day Chef training seminar.

The Outcome:

Cascadeo's DevOps practice enables our clients to focus on developing their products and services, accelerate time to market, and decrease operational overhead. By providing our clients with certified Cloud and Chef engineers, Cascadeo empowers our clients to integrate proper deployment methodologies, change management strategies, and continuous integration and delivery into their development cycles.

Cascadeo partners with our clients' DevOps, IT, and engineering teams to provide ongoing support, training, infrastructure as code scripting, and CI/CD pipeline methodologies. By leveraging Cascadeo's expertise, customers can more effectively deploy, manage and support all of their environments on 24x7x365 basis.

As part of our partnership with Chef, our engineers have access to additional support services from Chef, get to interact with key individuals and product teams at Chef, and continue to receive and participate in ongoing trainings. This ensures we are leveraging the most current methodologies and best practices for mission critical applications and operations.

Quote:

"Having Cascadeo as a partner strengthens our ability to work with customers across the board. Combining Cascadeo's Chef expertise with their abilities to work with client environments allows us to deliver great solutions together." -- Mahir Lupinacci - Director of Business Development, Chef