AWS Migration Mandate
A subsidiary of Cox Automotive Inc., Xtime provides the leading retention solution for the retail automotive industry. The company’s service experience platform, Xtime Spectrum, helps OEMs and more than 7,500 dealers and 29 automakers across the globe increase retention by delivering a premium customer experience.
In late 2017, senior management at Cox Automotive announced a company and subsidiary-wide initiative to move all on-premises infrastructure to Amazon Web Services (AWS). For Xtime, this meant migrating its online transactional processing (OLTP) system—the main database running its Spectrum platform—from an on-premises Oracle database to the cloud.
To begin Xtime’s cloud journey, Hanan Hit, senior manager of database architecture at Xtime, and his team spent the better part of 2018 prepping on-premises Oracle databases for migration and building test machines to conduct Real Application Testing (RAT) on AWS.
However, it quickly became evident that outside expertise was needed to help resolve testing issues on AWS and support the migration process.
“Anytime we want to make a major change to our IT environment, we do RAT testing to make sure things will work as they should,” said Hit. “Because our OLTP system manages the majority of our business operations, we needed to be absolutely certain that it would meet our performance criteria on AWS. However, we kept running into testing issues that prevented us from moving forward with the migration.”
From Skeptic to Champion
After three months of struggling to identify the cause of RAT test failures on AWS, Hit approached senior management at Cox Automotive to discuss the best way forward. Shortly thereafter, in early 2019, the Cox management team brought Navisite on board to partner with Xtime on this phase of the migration project.
Although Hit was prepared to work with Navisite, his initial expectations about the team’s technical knowledge and understanding of Xtime’s unique requirements were measured at best.
“I thought I would have to spend days explaining our IT environment and testing challenges,” said Hit. “But, within an hour of Navisite’s team arriving on-site, I knew we had the right partner. They immediately understood our IT estate and testing roadblocks. The team demonstrated a high level of technical expertise and experience in bridging the gap between Oracle and AWS.”
Navisite’s team quickly got to work to analyze the situation, identify the root cause of the RAT test failures and recommend a path forward. Within days of the collaboration and analysis, Hit’s team was up and running with RAT testing on AWS.
“We spent three months trying to figure out a problem that Navisite’s experts were able to help us solve in one week,” said Hit. “Between personnel costs and AWS usage fees, I estimate we spent well over $100,000 during those months—costs that could have been avoided if we had partnered with Navisite sooner.”
A Trusted Migration Partner
Because Navisite quickly proved to be a valuable partner, Hit kept the team on to assist with AWS architecture development and to provide guidance on migration methodologies.
“Running databases on AWS requires a specific knowledge and skillset, and we didn’t have this unique combination in-house,” commented Hit. “Navisite’s engineers provided this expertise and played an instrumental role in changing the mindset within our company about how we structure processes for the cloud.”
In addition to assisting with migration architecture and planning, the Navisite team served as a trusted advisor throughout the migration process to a) support pre-migration rehearsal tests prior to production cutover, b) resolve challenges along the way, including a technical issue with a hidden feature that temporarily halted the first migration attempt, and c) ensure a successful Oracle-to-AWS migration in December 2019.
Xtime was the first Cox Automotive subsidiary to fully deploy on AWS, and Hit estimates that by closing its data center, the company is saving more than $250,000 annually. Additionally, by moving to the cloud, Xtime is able to quickly scale up and down based on user demand—a capability that has proven invaluable during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“In my experience, Navisite’s knowledge of how to run Oracle systems on AWS is by far the best in the market,” said Hit. “The team is professional, highly experienced, easy to work with and, above all, trustworthy. They had our company’s best interests at heart from day one, and they were a great partner to work with throughout our cloud migration journey.”