Homebuying is on the rise in India, where home sales for Q1 2022 were at their highest since 2015. The work-from-home shift and lower loan interest rates are just some of the reasons encouraging Indians to invest in better homes. With a mission to help people own their dream home, Shriram Housing Finance Limited (SHFL), a registered member of India’s National Housing Bank, has been providing loans for the purchase or construction of residential spaces since 2011.
Since its inception, SHFL has continued to evolve its product offerings and experience significant annual growth. The company is held by Shriram Capital, part of the Shriram Group, a diverse finance and real-estate conglomerate with over 70,000 employees that’s been serving customers for nearly five decades.
Opportunity | Prioritizing Security and High Availability
Shriram Group was operating in an on-premises data center for its IT needs but wanted to pursue new business use cases facilitated on the cloud, such as advanced analytics for SHFL and other divisions including Shriram Automall. Sendil Kumar Venkatesan, chief technology officer at Shriram Capital Ltd, says, “As we’ve grown, it’s become increasingly pertinent to drive efficiencies through technology and innovate to meet our customers’ expectations.” As such, the Group decided to pilot their cloud journey with SHFL.
In December 2020, SHFL began a cloud migration journey. As an ISO 27001-certified company in the financial sector, security and high availability (HA) were priorities when selecting a cloud provider. SHFL decided to migrate to Amazon Web Services (AWS) because of the platform’s Multi-AZ architecture and range of cloud–native security tools. SHFL was also looking to improve disaster recovery (DR) with a lower recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO).
The infrastructure solutions we’ve implemented from AWS have resulted in increased performance, availability, reliability, and scalability.”
Sendil Kumar Venkatesan
Chief Technology Officer at Shriram Capital Ltd
Solution | Migrating 11 Mission-Critical Applications from Microsoft Servers
To assist with migration, SHFL worked with AWS Partner Rapyder and enrolled in the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP). With the tools provided by MAP to reduce costs and automate execution, alongside tailored training approaches, SHFL migrated 11 of its mission-critical applications from more than 20 servers to AWS. Applications migrated included those related to core IT operations, mobile, web portals, and finance.
The migration was completed within its projected timeframe of six months. “AWS MAP has been instrumental in helping us move workloads from on premises to the cloud in a cost-optimized manner,” says Sendil Kumar.
Outcome | Improving Data Recovery and Optimizing Resources
In addition to application servers, the company runs its Microsoft SQL Server database on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and adopted AWS Managed Microsoft Active Directory (AD) to manage access to network resources. It also uses Amazon FSx for Windows File Server as a fully managed HA storage service. SHFL leverages the failover clustering feature within Amazon FSx to reduce storage costs without impacting availability. DR has likewise improved, with RTOs and RPOs dropping by 30 percent on the AWS Cloud.
To ease procurement of Amazon EC2 instances, SHFL relies on Amazon Machine Images (AMIs). The company has preconfigured AMIs it can specify upon launching an instance, which lowers the time and effort required to deploy new resources. “The ease of deploying AMIs was really useful to us because we were used to the legacy way of creating instances in virtual machines, where storage and compute have to be manually configured each time,” Sendil Kumar explains.
As part of MAP, SHFL resized resources that were underutilized in its data center and driving up costs. It implemented auto scaling to increase resources during peak periods, such as local festivals, and shut down instances when utilization drops. It also adopted Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for elastic storage on demand.
“One of the major challenges we faced in the data center was scaling up storage quickly to meet rising business volumes. After migrating to Amazon S3, our scaling challenges were resolved and we can retrieve huge volumes of data within minutes,” says Sendil Kumar. The simplicity of deploying on the AWS Cloud and the option to automatically scale resources has resulted in the company’s engineers spending less time managing infrastructure.
Overcoming Security Concerns with Intelligent Threat Detection
Data security and threat detection and response were areas that concerned SHFL regarding cloud migration because the business must adhere to strict compliance standards. It has since adopted tools including Amazon GuardDuty for intelligent threat detection, and Amazon CloudTrail to audit user activity and detect and respond to security incidents.
“We overcame our concerns when we discovered how Amazon GuardDuty exposes threats quickly with continuous internal intelligence feeds, behavioral models, and third-party security feeds. Additionally, Amazon CloudTrail protects our organization from potential penalties regulatory bodies leverage in case of non-compliance,” says Sendil Kumar.
Planning to Migrate Other Shriram Group Divisions
Due to the success of SHFL’s migration, Shriram Group has migrated another entity, Shriram Automall, to AWS. It also aims to migrate other divisions, with plans for a hybrid cloud environment across all divisions. Sendil Kumar concludes, “Overall, the infrastructure solutions we’ve implemented from AWS have resulted in increased performance, availability, reliability, and scalability.”