Haynes International: Case Study
WatServ Solves Global Manufacturing Company’s ERP Challenge by
Migrating Microsoft Dynamics AX to Azure
Relying on the power of Azure, WatServ migrated Haynes International’s Dynamics AX to the cloud, achieving increased resilience, reliability and performance.
About Haynes International
Haynes International is one of the world’s largest developer, manufacturers and distributors of high-performance nickel- and cobalt-based alloys for use in high-temperature and corrosion applications. Haynes International has manufacturing facilities in Indiana, Louisiana and North Carolina, and sales offices and services centers around the world.
In late 2019, WatServ was approached by Haynes International with a challenge: their mission-critical ERP, which they relied on for Order Entry, Operations and Finance, was running on Microsoft platforms that were going out of support by Microsoft in January 2020. They needed an expedited solution to protect their ERP from security, performance and resiliency risks and to safeguard their overall critical business processes.
Although their end goal was to migrate to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, they were not yet ready to upgrade. They needed an immediate solution that would extend the support they were receiving from Microsoft for Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 as they planned for the upgrade.
The company chose WatServ because our team has extensive cloud engineering and consulting experience, including specialized knowledge in migrating and managing Microsoft Dynamics. We also offer a robust CloudOps platform and our SOC certification means we follow industry-standard best practices for service management that is audited yearly.
Given Haynes International’s challenge, we recommended a proven solution that our team has vast experience with: migrating Dynamics AX to Azure. This would extend Microsoft’s support for Windows and SQL Server 2008 by three years, providing the company with time to plan an upgrade to Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations while also improving security, performance and overall resiliency. Using our hybrid project management approach that leverages waterfall and agile methods, the timelines of this migration were accelerated to meet the end of support deadline.
The first step our team took was to migrate the workloads to Microsoft Azure, maintaining the existing application functionality while modernizing the underlying infrastructure. Instead of implementing Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Services, the team implemented a Citrix-based secure remote solution leveraging Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops along with Citrix NetScaler ADC (Application Delivery Controller). This helped the company securely connect their users, many of whom are located globally, while load balancing the application to optimize performance with Citrix on Azure.
Next, our team developed an application migration plan to ensure successful integration and mitigate the risk of interruptions to customers during go-live. A few technical challenges arose along the way, but our team drew on their expertise and past experience to resolve them quickly.
After the migration to Azure was complete, our team focused on rightsizing the environment to control costs. We also developed a payment consumption strategy, presenting cost options and a recommendation for a blended approach (including Azure Reserved Instances and Azure Hybrid Use Benefit) as an alternative to pay as you go pricing.
The Azure-based solution now provides the company with a resilient, reliable and scalable environment and improved performance. Thanks to careful optimizations to the Azure environment post-migration, WatServ was also able to help the company get the following results:
- 20% reduction in the number of servers to host application components (AOS)
- 20% reduction in the number of terminal servers required for users to access AX
- 40% reduction in the total number of servers in the AX environment
- 50% reduction in the number of development and test environments
- Savings of 33% of Azure hardware costs by moving to reduced availability and automating server infrastructure
- Savings of 26% of Azure hardware costs thanks to smart pricing strategies
Finally, WatServ helped the company achieve SOC compliance by improving technology management practices through our service management.
Today, WatServ continues to be Haynes International’s trusted partner, providing CloudOps managed services. Our team is also pleased to be working with the company for a new engagement involving cloud and application security.