SuperChoice bets big on cloud

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SuperChoice bets big on cloud

Ties infrastructure overhaul to regulatory demand.

SuperChoice has used regulatory reform as a catalyst to overhaul its IT infrastructure strategy, adopting a microservices-based architecture spread across multiple clouds.

The company, which provides hosted superannuation management and clearing house software, had to “completely rethink its operations” to become compliant with SuperStream, the ATO-led initiative that standardises the way money and data is transmitted across the super system.

SuperStream’s timing was somewhat fortuitous for SuperChoice, as its underlying infrastructure was already approaching a “breaking point” and was seen as a “bottleneck” to the company’s future growth aspirations.

CIO Ian Gibson and his team set about redesigning the company’s infrastructure to take advantage of multiple public cloud services that could be “mixed and matched” depending on price, availability and the characteristics of the various workloads.

The company uses RightScale to orchestrate its workloads in the multi-cloud environment and is using a microservices architecture to increase the portability of code between clouds.

“SuperChoice identified that infrastructure and security are relatively fixed cost to provide and that service providers will marginally price capacity so as to optimise their portfolio return,” Gibson said.

“It therefore made sense to be able to switch cloud service providers to obtain the best deal and optimise spend.”

In moving to a multi-cloud environment, SuperChoice has decommissioned two physical environments and brought a high degree of automation to provisioning infrastructure and spinning up and down capacity.

“The infrastructure strategy’s objective is to redefine the way infrastructure services are provided to remove time and capability constraints by fully automating the provision of integrated suites of applications and databases (ie environments),” Gibson said.

“In practice, this enables the ability to efficiently and quickly provide multiple, functionally complete and secure environments for clients, sales and pre-sales staff, and developers and testers, and to stand them up within an hour or two and then tear them down again when they are no longer required.”

This had led to new business opportunities for SuperChoice.

“We now have the ability to spin up a dedicated demo site of its solution for a specific client sales presentation and leave it with the client to familiarise and play with,” Gibson said.

“Previously, this was not possible as demonstrations were conducted in a shared use, multi-client environment.”

At the same time, by adopting DevOps and agile practices in the way its developers write, package and test code, the company has been able to add new functionality faster, making it more attractive to do business with.

From a pure infrastructure perspective, Gibson also highlighted the rarity of a company “migrating 100 percent to public cloud and fully leveraging the capabilities of a cloud management platform” such as RightScale.

The bet is paying off, providing the company with the “flexibility to better support business objectives” and its customer base, while also “cost-effectively satisfying compliance and security requirements imposed by the ATO, APRA and client contracts".

This project has been named a finalist in the finance category of the iTnews Benchmark Awards 2017. View the full list of finalists here.

Ian Gibson will also be a keynote speaker at Cloud & DC Edge 2017, which is being held at Royal Pines, Gold Coast, on 14-16 March 2017. The event – which is co-organised by iTnews and Adapt – will feature insights from leading cloud and data centre users and experts. You can request the agenda and purchase tickets here.

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