CASE STUDY | Microservices Integration Layer

June 20, 2022

CONTEXT | It is more critical than ever for businesses to understand the threat that pest issues pose for their employees, facility, and products. Our client offers innovative pest control solutions and a wide range of other services, including disinfection, for commercial businesses across the U.S. The company has over 85 years into researching and developing specialized protocols to address specific industry concerns, committed to protecting people and property from risk.

CHALLENGES | Our client had begun a multi-year transformation to migrate from three On-Premises ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems down to one across all business units, a new Software as a Service (SaaS) instance. As the ERP data was being migrated and the SaaS instance would start being utilized, they needed a solution designed to connect data from that SaaS ERP to their other primary legacy on-premises applications. The solution would need to handle different information transfer needs (ongoing integration of classic data transfer methodologies and current microservice API approaches), including any ETL (Extraction, Transform, Load) at the database level. A hybrid approach of on-premises and Google Cloud (“Cloud”) components, secured at each API and layer, also needed to be factored in so the best tool for the job would be utilized in the correct situations.

SOLUTION | After completing a Phase Zero build-versus-buy investigation of their current and future data integration needs, Hylaine proposed that the client would be best served by developing an ‘orchestration layer’ that would be a composite of on-premises and Google Cloud components to facilitate the high-volume, complex data transfers needed. This would be a custom developed piece of intellectual property to support the on-demand or scheduled data movement in all the custom formats required, utilizing the latest security and microservice patterns. The client felt comfortable that this would allow for increased future growth than an off-the-shelf product.

IMPACT | With a common, scalable integration layer built out to support data needs of all the disparate enterprise systems and their custom formats, Hylaine was able to complete the core features then onboard the SaaS ERP within the first year, which then allowed onboarding of the first primary eight application integrations. This setup the client for future success with another twelve applications incorporated during the next nine months using a common onboarding process.

PROBLEM | Our client was beginning a multi-year transformation to migrate from several on-premises ERP systems down to one Software as a Service (SaaS) instance, where each one of these mainframe systems was handling data egress and ingress between other enterprise applications, along with their ERP role. This multi-modal approach was causing uptime issues along with that the platforms had reached end of life.

With moving to a SaaS ERP version, a multi-modal approach would no longer be allowed so a modern, long-term solution was needed to keep all enterprise applications in sync. Hylaine was able to design a hybrid architecture that merged the best of Google Cloud features with the custom data formats from On-Premises solutions to keep all the disparate systems integrated, whether on a scheduled or on-demand basis.

SOLUTION | Hylaine conducted a six-week Phase Zero build-versus-buy engagement determining the opportunity scope with client leadership and the level of solution needed, then transitioned directly into a multi-year development effort that would implement the proposed architecture to support necessary data integrations.

After building out the initial Google Cloud and on-premises infrastructure required, a portion of the team then turned to creating microservice endpoints around the new SaaS ERP APIs, arranging them into abstracted business functions (e.g., customers, invoices, locations, etc.) for ease of application integration onboarding. To ensure only secure usage between APIs, each function endpoint was secured with a two-key authentication validated at the connection level. The integration between Google Cloud and on-premises infrastructure was also limited to a single set of APIs that implemented another layer of key authentication to ensure only valid requests between the on-premises and the Cloud layers could be made.

The other part of the team began a parallel effort building out connectivity for the initial eight legacy applications to be onboarded. These applications utilized older SFTP egress and ingress methods for data transfer, so on-premises Windows Services solutions were developed to manage the transport process, with all traffic passing through a gateway endpoint to direct where the information needed to be sent that included extensive logging. This modular, limited focus endpoint approach allowed for future movement away from on-premises to Google Cloud components as legacy applications were retired.

Utilizing this infrastructure, the SaaS ERP and the first eight application integrations were brought online within the first year. This not only facilitated the decommission of the on-premises ERP system, but also added better quality and faster delivery time of data delivery. Due to the modularity of the orchestration layer and it’s add-on methodology, over the next nine months another twelve legacy and SaaS applications were integrated, sending or receiving data through the solution.

Hylaine continues working with this important partner to enhance the solution, handling new system integrations using the orchestration layer’s capabilities and the team’s business acumen of their processes.

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