Scaling Global Payment Solutions: How Sigue Corporation Achieved 99.5% Application Uptime with AWS



About Sigue

From its inception in 1996, Sigue® Corporation has provided excellence in money transfer and paymentservices. Led by its Founder and CEO, Guillermo (Bill) de la Viña, Sigue® has expanded from a simple U.S. to Mexico money transfer service to a global provider of payment solutions. Today, Sigue® offers an array of products and services including personal money transfer, mobile money transfer, small and medium enterprise foreign exchange services, and business to business payments and settlement.

The Problem

Sigue was delivering a proprietary Windows application to more than 700 end users through Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, leveraging its on-premise infrastructure. Usage of the application, SigueLink, was growing and estimated to have more than 1000 end users accessing it by year-end. Sigue was challenged in maintaining consistent availability of the application using its existing on-premise architecture and did not want to expand the hardware footprint to support the expected growth in users. However, loss of application access results in a lost revenue for the business. With application availability becoming a critical factor for Sigue business users and the business itself, the financial services firm began to develop plans for bringing in additional resources to host the required SigueLink components. Instead of increasing their data center capacity, Sigue looked to the public cloud to help insure the delivery of a 99.5% uptime for essential business applications. Through reviews of multiple cloud vendors, Sigue chose to pursue this using AWS Cloud as the platform to deliver their application and meet uptime goals.

The Solution

A new hybrid cloud architecture was designed to help Sigue accomplish its application availability objectives and provide scalability as demand for the application fluctuates. Two different AWS Regions, US West1 and US East1, were leveraged to provide proximity based access using Route 53 Domain Name System (DNS) and geo-redundancy of services, in the event of a regional outage. Within each region, workloads were distributed across multiple Availability Zones for localized redundancy. Direct Connect access was established with Sigue data centers for connectivity to on-premises resources. User access was secured behind a reverse proxy appliance to only allow HTTPS access into the environment. Each Availability Zone contained the required components for the application to function, as well as high availability of important resources. A combination of AWS Load Balancer services were leveraged to provide redundancy of critical components that were deployed using AWS EC2 instances. In some cases, Autoscaling was used to increase or decrease instance count depending on time of day and utilization. This feature helped optimize costs, based on usage, and maintain a specific level of performance for user actions. User data was designed to be stored with Elastic File System (EFS) stores. Standard storage class was used to provide resiliency across Availability Zones so users would not lose information if an Availability Zone had an outage. Amazon Relational Database (RDS) for SQLServer provided a scalable and cost-efficient database option for storing application data. High availability across availability zones was enabled to provide database redundancy and automated backups were configured in case a restore was required.

The Outcome

Sigue was able to meet their uptime challenge by deploying multiple layers of redundancy across the environment, without havingto invest in more on-premise infrastructure. The ability to rapidly deploy the solution in AWS enabled Sigue to onboard more users, sooner than expected, which helped increase business revenue related to the SigueLink application. Reported application outages have decreased and application uptime is running above the expected 99.5% threshold. Sigue is now able to expand the solution into other regions or workspaces as needed, based on the existing architecture. Use of CloudFormation templates, developed from the successful deployment, Sigue can quickly spin up new Development and Test environments to accommodate developers working on updates to the application. This ability has led to implementing changes into the application at amore rapid pace than before. In fact, the time it takes to deploy updates for the application has changed from months to a couple weeks. These changes are important for improving the user experience and overall functionality of the application.

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