Headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, SRG Technology LLC. (SRGT) is a software development company supporting the education, healthcare and travel industries. Their team creates data systems that deliver the right data in real time to customers around the globe. Whether those customers are medical offices and hospitals, schools or school districts, government agencies, or individual small businesses, SRGT addresses a wide spectrum of software services and technology needs with round-the-clock innovative thinking and fresh approaches to modern data problems.

The task at hand

In 2019, SRGT needed a new cloud platform that offered both flexibility and security for hosting its client-facing applications. The cloud platform they ultimately would choose needed to scale up and down quickly to align with not only their own growth and usage but also the growth and usage from their application customers across dispersed geographic locations.

To solve for these essential production requirements, SRGT chose IBM Cloud—specifically, the next-generation of IBM Cloud’s infrastructure, called IBM Cloud Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). Within IBM Cloud VPC Infrastructure, SRGT decided to use IBM Cloud Virtual Servers for VPC.

“As we implemented Blender in education, healthcare and travel, we began to realize that we needed a more reliable, secure and scalable platform to meet the growing and various needs of our business and our customers. After a year of evaluating cloud providers, we selected IBM Cloud as the best solution,” said Mike Stone, Vice President, New Markets and Strategic Partnerships, SRGT.

Confidence and capabilities

IBM Cloud Virtual Servers for VPC deliver ultra-fast provisioning and elastic scaling with the highest network speeds and most secure software-defined networking resources available on IBM Cloud today. This was the exact kind of developer-friendly infrastructure SRGT needed to help drive their modern applications.

For example, SRGT hosts its premiere BlenderPass application on IBM Cloud Virtual Servers for VPC. BlenderPass is like the holy grail of smart wallets. It’s a complete mobile solution to organize documents and credentials with personalized notifications and reminders.

Travel businesses implement SRGT’s BlenderPass so their customers can save, organize and access all the IDs, medical information, tickets and documents needed to accurately and safely make someone’s final destination come to fruition as smoothly as possible. BlenderPass also provides real-time recommendations and creates individualized action plans that help users find the most efficient path into and around each country. IBM Cloud Virtual Servers for VPC enables BlenderPass to run on a private, enterprise network that’s streamlined for provisioning on and off.

“There’s no question that IBM Cloud is providing us and our customers the best solution. It’s allowing us to focus on the continued development of Blender without having to also worry about the underlying platform Blender runs on,” said Gail Pierson, Chief Academic Officer, SRGT.

Secure to the core

Security was also crucial to SRGT. Besides BlenderPass, they also deliver an entire fleet of software solutions—including BlenderLearn, BlenderExchange and BlenderConnect—that store and manage personal and sensitive customer data—items like vaccination cards, passports, student credentials and more. IBM Cloud leverages Intel® Xeon® processor technologies like Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) to secure workloads across the cloud.

IBM Cloud VPC delivered a level of continuous edge-to-edge cloud protection that each data set and application required since SRGT and their clients must comply with many travel requirements and regulations that are unique to each country and each municipality.

So, what’s really behind the curtain of IBM Cloud VPC that gives companies like SRGT uncompromised reliability and security to count on? The IBM Cloud VPC network is completely isolated, and the isolation takes place at three different levels:

  • The hypervisor: SRGT’s virtual server instances are isolated by the hypervisor. Their instances can’t directly reach other virtual server instances that are hosted by the same hypervisor if they’re not in the same VPC.
  • The network: SRGT’s isolation occurs at the network level by using virtual network identifiers (VNIs). These identifiers are assigned to each subnet and scoped to a single zone. A VNI is added to every one of their data packets that enter any zone of the VPC. A packet that leaves a zone has the VNI stripped off. When the packet reaches its destination zone, entering through the implicit routing function, the implicit router always adds the proper VNI for that zone. It’s almost like IBM Cloud’s version of a ‘smart wallet’— networking style.
  • The router: The implicit router function provides isolation to each VPC by providing a virtual routing function (VRF) and a VPN with MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) in the cloud backbone. Each VPC’s VRF has a unique identifier, and this isolation allows each VPC to have access to its own copy of the IPv4 address space.

Reinforced partnership

Prior to hosting on IBM Cloud Virtual Servers for VPC, SRGT was running a majority of services on their own footprint, in their own hosting facility. Through industry research, they knew they could exceed their network, compute and storage performance if they optimized their core systems and applications through adoption of cloud services. More poignantly, with a global hyperscale provider that could deliver the kind of enterprise-grade backbone they, in turn, wanted to deliver to their customers. Enter IBM Cloud.

“In IBM we found an extensive cloud and technology portfolio, plus competitive pricing. Their support also made it extremely smooth and easy for us to migrate our technology and customers to their cloud platform, further reinforcing our selection of IBM Cloud as our technology partner,” said Mike Stone, Vice President, New Markets and Strategic Partnerships, SRGT.

In addition to virtual servers on IBM Cloud VPC, SRGT also uses IBM Cloud Load Balancers, IBM Cloud Block Storage, IBM Cloud Transit Gateway and IBM Cloud Monitoring and Advanced Support. Throughout migration, testing and production deployments, SRGT found IBM Cloud VPC offerings to provide an easy-to-understand view of resources including billing and usage information.

“The IBM Cloud VPC toolset allows us to manage geographically diverse resources and gives us a status dashboard with near real-time reporting of issues. And, because customer workloads fluctuate due to things like seasonality and growth, IBM Cloud VPC offerings dynamically scale in line with customer business needs to meet and manage these needs with a balance between resource costs and application responsiveness,” said Mike Stone, Vice President, New Markets and Strategic Partnerships, SRGT.

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