TurbineAero

Learn how we built a Managed AWS GovCloud for TurbineAero’s compliance-regulated ERP.

TurbineAero

TurbineAero is the world’s leading independent aerospace component maintenance, repair, and overhaul service provider. They service military, commercial, and regional airline customers.


INDUSTRY
Aerospace services
LOCATION
Chandler, AZ USA

The challenge

When it comes to maintenance, repair, and overhaul of aerospace components, particularly APUs and related products, TurbineAero is second to none. However, when it came time for the firm to upgrade their industry-specific ERP (SyteLine) and find a new hosting solution, they needed a bit of help.

To accomplish this task, TurbineAero turned to the experts at SCTG, who led a team of external subject matter experts in a project to update the firm’s ERP software and move it to AWS.

So, why AWS?

Due to TurbineAero’s line of business, they fell under unique compliance requirements. They had to build a hosting solution compliant with ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) for their SyteLine ERP installation.

ITAR compliance meant they could not simply run their ERP solution anywhere they wanted. They needed to find a provider that could meet the demanding requirements of the ITAR specification, while continuing to meet all of TurbineAero’s unique business needs.

The solution

Fortunately for TurbineAero, AWS’ GovCloud (US) Region supports compliance with ITAR.

Given SCTG’s expertise with public sector entities, we were the perfect match for TurbineAero. We have a tremendous amount of experience with/authorization to work within AWS’s secure GovCloud Region, as well as to resell services running in it.

AWS’s commitment to compliance programs of all types, combined with SCTG’s long history working in GovCloud, was a perfect fit to help bring TurbineAero’s ERP to a modern cloud hosting platform.

Once TurbineAero reached out SCTG and it became clear that they could run their commercial workload in AWS’ GovCloud (US) Region (thus inheriting AWS’ ITAR compliance), we began working together to build out a fully-managed AWS environment capable of achieving ITAR Compliance and meeting TurbineAero’s business objectives.

From that point, the objectives seemed pretty clear — build out a scalable, resilient environment for hosting this critical component of TurbineAero’s ongoing operation.

As can be expected, there were some bumps along the way. Not only did TurbineAero want to shift the hosting responsibility from an internal solution to a Managed AWS Cloud, they also wanted to take this opportunity to upgrade to the latest version of SyteLine, which required upgrades to the underlying operating systems and databases (SQL Server). Given the size and importance of the system to TurbineAero’s business, this had to be done with great care. Downtime or data loss post-cutover would cause major operational disruptions.

From the start, SCTG worked very closely with TurbineAero’s business and technical leaders to make sure all business objectives were adhered to, and that all relevant parties were informed along the way.

In the beginning, the move to AWS and in-line upgrade seemed like it might be relatively straightforward. But, as is often the case when dealing with systems like an ERP that become central to a business operation, complexities continued to arise.

The joint team found many areas of SyteLine where workflows were incompatible between the legacy system and the new system. Customizations (particularly to the underlying database) needed to be re-engineered to work the way that TurbineAero needed them to.

When it became obvious that TurbineAero had a more significant project on their hands than they expected, they leaned on SCTG to lead a team of cross-discipline experts to make the upgrade and hosting shift a reality. SCTG provided overall project management to the team, as well as technical guidance and subject matter expertise on all components of the system, including the AWS infrastructure, operating systems, and databases. We also became the main point-of-contact for all external parties, including SyteLine’s manufacturer, Infor, working through the complex requirements of upgrading the system.

After a long and complex upgrade, TurbineAero is running their SyteLine ERP in a fully Managed AWS Cloud environment. It is not only resilient and flexible enough to meet their business needs, but it helps the firm maintain compliance with strict ITAR requirements.

The business benefits

At first glance, the business benefits of TurbineAero’s move to AWS and their GovCloud (US) region seem clear — shift hosting of their industry-specific ERP to an ITAR-compliant provider. If that is where the benefits ended, you could very likely call this project a success. But they don’t end there. TurbineAero now has the ability to leverage additional wins that stem from their decision to move to a fully-managed AWS environment running in AWS.

TurbineAero has infinitely more flexibility than ever before when it comes to testing and making changes to their ERP.

Should TurbineAero have an interest in an additional line of business, making changes to their ERP to support it will no longer be dangerous or disruptive. By running this infrastructure in AWS, and with the help of MSP SCTG, TurbineAero can now spin up a completely separate and parallel SyteLine environment for testing changes without impacting production.

Changes can be made and tested without significant investment in duplicate hardware, too. They just have to clone the environment using AWS’s volume snapshotting, stand it up, and make the changes. Once those changes are tested, TurbineAero can decide whether they will keep the new environment or destroy it in favor of additional changes. All of this is now possible without the headache and/or expense of procuring additional capacity to run the environment.

In addition to flexibility, TurbineAero’s environment is also quite resilient. While disaster recovery (DR) is much more complex than simply hosting replicated servers, AWS’s out-of-the-box functionality can still help companies like TurbineAero achieve massive gains in resiliency without a huge investment in a full-scale DR solution. By utilizing tools such as AWS’ RDS service, running in a Multi-AZ configuration, building fault tolerance across distinct data centers becomes a much simpler endeavor than in an on-premise or colocated hosting environment.

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