BFS health finance: A Journey of Transformation into the AWS Cloud

BFS health finance is on its way into AWS Cloud where it is building a scalable, future-proof infrastructure.

Simply. Doing.

For three decades, we have been removing obstacles that prevent physicians from building their practice, and making them able to fully concentrate on patients and philosophy of health. We manage the entire payment flow, secure fees and advise them on practice management.

From Financial Service Provider to Health Tech Company

Thousands of dentists, doctors, veterinarians, laboratories, chief physicians and clinics trust us. It’s for them that we develop business models and services - digitally, smoothly, and patient-friendly. We are pioneers of the networked healthcare of the future.

BFS health finance is on its way into AWS Cloud where it is building a scalable, future-proof infrastructure. The robust architecture is based on the Elastic Container Service (ECS) and the Infrastructure-as-Code concept. kreuzwerker trained the IT team in DevOps methods and supported BFS in their transition to complete cloud migration.

Transferring the website into the Cloud

Every journey begins with a first step - including the journey into the Cloud. For the financial services provider BFS health finance, it was transferring the website to AWS ECS. However, first there were obstacles to overcome. The website was not scalable and not ready for productive operation with a headless CMS. It was based on WordPress, which very easily bottlenecks in an on-premises installation.

Moreover, the customer’s most important requirement was not simply moving the website. Rather, it was to be a pilot project for moving the company’s entire application landscape to the Cloud. BFS health finance needed not only the migration, but a comprehensive architecture design. In addition, it was necessary to bring the IT team up to speed with the Cloud and familiarize them with using AWS. The project had to teach both admins and developers the necessary working methods.

Easy to maintain Infrastructure as Code

We approached the financial services provider’s cloud journey systematically, designing a scalable and robust AWS architecture. To do this, the entire infrastructure was set up by the joint team from scratch.

The starting point was the landing zone, which gives BFS a secure, multi-account environment in the AWS Cloud. It continued with an
(Elastic Container Service), which serves as the foundation for the financial services provider’s entire IT infrastructure.

The ECS cluster future-proofs the infrastructure and makes it easier to set up. We recommended that BFS use the “Infrastructure as Code” concept. This means that the server, platform and containers are not configured manually, but in the form of configuration scripts. They automate the infrastructure setup with all settings and parameters or the start of additional instances.

The entire infrastructure is easy to maintain, easily scalable and offers higher availability than the previous environment. The simplicity of maintenance is demonstrated, for example, by the fact that the firewall whitelist can be easily extended. Third-party systems can be integrated quickly and easily. Connection errors are a thing of the past.

Everything automatic: Containers and Monitoring

The AWS Fargateserverless compute platform helps with scaling and availability. It’s ideal for enterprises with smaller IT teams that want to avoid the administrative overhead of the EC2 instances (virtual servers) on which the ECS cluster is basedr. Fargate also offers automatic scaling on demand and restarts faulty EC2 containers without user intervention. This makes operation much easier.

Since the applications were not previously “containerized” and thus cloud-ready, there were adjustments and changes for them as well - an essential step. Among other things, we also adapted the existing WordPress installation to the specifics of the Cloud, including interventions in the PHP code.

A final and important milestone was the integration of an open-source solution for the largely automatic monitoring of IT infrastructures. The system is supplemented by Amazon CloudWatch, which monitors native AWS resources. The project team developed a simple dashboard in which marketing can check the status of its resources itself.

On the Way to Comprehensive Migration

An IT infrastructure in the Cloud is usually simpler and easier to automate than typical on-premises setups in a company’s own data center. Nevertheless, specific know-how is required. Our coaching helped the IT teams walk the path to Cloud maturity and independence from a service provider on their own. This primarily involved teaching DevOps methods to better use the cloud.

BFS has now taken the first steps towards a scalable and reliable infrastructure. It guarantees the company a future-proof platform on which it can develop innovative new services. But first, the digital transformation journey must reach its destination: new projects for the joint migration and modernization of further workloads are already underway.