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BUI helps a leading foreign exchange specialist move to Azure
When this major forex provider needed urgent assistance migrating their core workload to Azure, BUI answered the call.
Foreign Exchange_Case Study


Leading foreign exchange specialist moves to Azure with the help of BUI


Anonymous SA
50+ Branches
9 000+ Employees



What We Did

Lift and Shift with SQL to Azure
The Challenge

One of South Africa’s major forex players contacted us earlier this year with an urgent requirement. Their SQL workloads running on Windows servers containing their financial system (the brains of their business) was outdated and at risk of collapsing. They needed to move this business-critical tool from on-premises to Azure, and they needed to do it quickly.

As a registered Financial Services Provider (FSP), explains BUI account manager Andy van der Watt, they needed a new platform that could meet the onerous regulatory requirements for FSPs. “We had to build a framework that fitted their policies and would withstand the scrutiny of the South African Reserve Bank.”

The first step was for BUI to find out what the client needed. In the same way that a regular architect meets with a client to find out what kind of home they want, BUI’s Solutions Architect Satish Sunker sat down with the client’s IT team. He listened carefully to their requirements before taking them through the various Azure building blocks and how they could be used to build a solution. Sometimes some explanation was required: “They knew they needed disaster recovery capabilities,” Sunker says. “But I had to help them to work out where they needed them.” Based on these conversations, Sunker moved on to the design phase.
The Solution

While the client’s added regulatory requirements made the move to Azure more complex than some of the lifts and shifts we perform, Sunker’s job was made easier by Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework. “Using this framework,” explains Sunker, “We were able to design a robust target architecture that met all their functional, performance and availability requirements.” These core requirements were as follows

  • Functional requirements: The client needed a deployment that was in line with PCIDSS, a key regulatory requirement in the financial services industry. Another major concern was “hybrid connectivity”: their agents needed to be able to access their applications from the cloud with very low latency. (Sunker says an easy way of understanding this is to think of the difference between dial-up internet and fibre.)

  • Availability requirements: They needed highly available backups and robust disaster recovery capabilities.,

  • Performance requirements: They needed a platform that was predictable in performance but also able to resize to handle changing load. Because Azure is elastic in nature the client is able to achieve this by fine tuning workloads from a compute perspective as needed.

  • After about a week of back-and-forth between BUI and the client, Sunker’s initial design was fine-tuned and approved. Now it was time to move on to the building phase…
    Putting it into action

    The first step was to build what solutions architects call the “landing zone” – or, as Sunker calls it, “the foundations, plumbing and electrical infrastructure of the house.” Once this was completed (the process took about two weeks) Sunker and his team of consultants moved the client’s workloads to the Azure landing zone. This proved that the workloads functioned as expected on Azure.

    “Moving to Azure has made their system highly available and resilient,” says Sunker. “To give an example, backups now occur seamlessly and data is restored within minutes… With their previous system it used to take significantly longer and could sometimes go wrong.”

    The client is currently waiting for approval before moving additional workloads to Azure. The project has been a success and moving additional workloads to Azure with the approval process, Sunker does not see any potential curveballs. “This is the great thing about using a proven process and a vendor that helps with escalations,” he says, adding that BUI has a “fantastic relationship” with Microsoft.

    Based on the success of this project, van der Watt, the account manager, is already meeting with the client to discuss further requirements. “Nothing’s been signed yet, but they’ve already asked us about moving more of their workloads to the cloud.”
    Onwards and upwards
    van der Watt adds: “It’s wonderful for a company that deals with such sensitive information put their faith in us. And I have absolutely zero doubt that Satish and the team will continue to repay this faith tenfold."

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