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About Britannica Knowledge Systems (BKS) 

BKS is an award-winning software development company that optimizes customers’ training operations with the most comprehensive scheduling, qualification, training, and learning management solutions. Many industry leaders in civil aviation, defense and security, training provision, and compliance training worldwide have successfully implemented Britannica’s customizable training management software called Fox. Their team ensures that the end-customers design, schedule, execute, evaluate, and monitor the training programs with increased operational efficiency, better training delivery, and higher effectiveness and overall performance.

Built on hybrid algorithms and heuristics, Fox optimizes resource allocation and management, maximizes success and ROI. It simplifies complex scheduling tasks and manages the complete lifecycle of qualification and certification training. With Fox, you can also create and deliver course curriculum, define and generate structured/random tests, and ensure continuous monitoring of proficiency and readiness levels. The product also has robust in-built reporting and analytics tools, optimization engine, and mobile evaluation instruments. You can work both online and offline, automatically syncing data from tablets and smartphones.

Executive Summary

Britannica Knowledge Systems is on a journey to migrate from Monolith to an immutable and scalable Microservices architecture over the AWS cloud to meet the market demand. They’ve decided to migrate every element to a new tech stack, fully automate the deployment cycle, and create up-to-date UI. Consequently, ProfiSea has joined the project to assist with highly professional DevOps services and build the AWS cloud infrastructure for them. Thanks to the DevOps as a Service business model we offered, our client received a one-click deployable, Docker-based distributed architecture built over the AWS environment. 

Britannica Knowledge Systems has been awarded a $70 million contract to supply its Fox Training Management System to the U.S. Army as part of the ATIS (Army Training Information System) program. The Fox tool was selected as the enterprise IT platform for U.S. Army education and training programs to increase training efficiency and support force readiness.

Fox will replace over 30 separate systems the Army is currently using and unify Training Management, Training Scheduling, Resource Management, Training Development, and Learning Management capabilities into one comprehensive, integrated environment. Fox, which was tested over a year, will provide a common operating picture and become the authoritative data source for Army training and a single-entry point for all Army training operations. The contract, transacted via the American firm Perspecta, will be implemented over four years.

Partnership in Milestones

BKS is always looking to keep up with the fast pace of innovation and provide its clients with the most customizable, cost-effective, and reliable tech stack. Thus, they needed a reliable and experienced DevOps partner able to build a cloud solution, scalable in the long term. At the same time, BKS was seeking to lower their operational costs and optimize resource management. Therefore, ProfiSea offered a partnership based on DevOps as a Service business model, which allowed BKS to pay only for the resources they use with no hidden fees or charges. 

Our client had to prepare a sophisticated Microsoft technology stack based application for a dockerized approach, so we proposed to handle the transformation iteratively, step by step. BKS had several vital conditions for this project, including cloud platform flexibility, data privacy and compliance, highest security, and easy internal governance. 

ProfiSea’s team started the BKS transformation journey with a thorough analysis of the existing architecture. Considering all the system details and requirements, we suggested AWS as the most suitable IaaS and PaaS solution provider for the client’s business and technical needs. Creating a roadmap for migration, we moved towards building a brand new environment and services using dockers, Kubernetes, and various AWS services. 

Value ProfiSea Delivered

Utilizing reliable and state-of-the-art DevOps and AWS tools, we accelerated the BKS software’s full migration to a fully dockerized solution over the cloud and enabled one-click automated environment creation and upgrade procedures. Our experts also recommended setting up on-demand testing and development Labs over Amazon to develop and test the new architecture in the production look-a-like environment.

ProfiSea orchestrated the client’s system transitioning in the following stages:

1 Iteration: Assessment , Cloud Architecture Discussion, POC and Cost Evaluation

  • We assessed and evaluated the existing architecture to create a migration roadmap.
  • We created a Docker-based solution architecture using AWS as an IaaS and PaaS vendor. The solution will be based on Amazon Kubernetes Service (EKS) as a docker orchestration tool. Our expert also suggested a solution using various AWS services like Elasticsearch as a distributed search and analytics engine, Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS).
  • It was agreed with the client to have all the development and testing departments’ Labs on AWS. 
  • After designing the infrastructure based on the AWS best practices, our team created a Proof of Concept (PoC) for the client’s distributed Monolithic Windows-based system running on dockers. We wrapped the application in Docker technology with further containerization and orchestration by Kubernetes. PoC showed successful results in performance and functionality testing.
  • We estimated the client’s project expenses using an AWS representative’s help to achieve the proposed solution’s optimal costs. The evaluation procedure was put in a continuous ‘planned vs. actual’ mode to always keep track of whether we’re staying within the budget. 
  • During the entire project, we’ve been continuously comparing costs so that everything was within acceptable limits. If the changes were required, we optimized the environments in-use, right-sized and re-architectured specific are

2 Iteration: One Click environment automated deployment and Upgrade via Terraform and Ansible

  • Next, our team built the automated deployment flow using Terraform. Terraform allowed BKS to deploy the whole system over AWS  in one click, enabling the overall deployment cycle to be fast, stable, and easy to maintain.
  • Following the customer’s requirements, we added an offline mode to the deployment procedure to work fully offline when needed. 
  • Using Ansible, we set up full-on support for upgrading the FOX versions in one-click throughout the whole AWS-based system.
  • Our DevOps engineer adjusted the existing CI/CD processes to deploy the code on all AWS Labs automatically.

  • Using automated environment creation, we established all Dev and Test labs required by BKS engineering department work processes.

Further Milestones

  • Set up AWS Kubernetes Service (EKS) as a docker orchestration tool for the FOX system.
  • Escort the system-wide evolution to Microservices.

Why Amazon Was the Right Choice

AWS tools were the best choice for the BKS project due to their convenience, flexibility, and ease of use. It suited the client’s production cycle perfectly, providing quick and robust testing options. Our team set up a full range of Amazon Labs to cover the whole product ecosystem: Development, QA, Pre-production, Performance, and Production. While it automated and sped up the deployment cycle, we also made the usage of Labs cost-effective. Based on the need for the resources’ operation time, our team established a ‘waking up — putting to sleep’ procedure for the particular machines. 

For companies like BKS, AWS services provide limitless scalability options, allowing their staff to focus only on the core business value. At the same time, its cloud infrastructure runs securely and smoothly in the background. Amazon takes care of the security and compliance standards, leaving the space for the needed growth within the built framework.

Our Results

Throughout the project, we focused only on the client’s business goals and requirements. As a result, BKS got fully flexible and scalable AWS infrastructure for their whole system’s automated deployment. The solution we set up is easy to manage, productive, and highly secure. ProfiSea’s DevOps as a Service and AWS SaaS models helped the client to stay within their budget, reduce operational expenses, and maintain complete control over the platform to move forward self-sufficiently.

During the project, ProfiSea provided all the required consultations and support. Along with creating a new cloud architecture for BKS product, we recommended which Amazon services to implement, how to set up a corporate network, security measures, and more. To this day, we continue to escort BKS to their further milestones. We are proud to have been able to add value to our client’s business and help them innovate their product with the AWS cloud resources.  

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