Case Study

Hörmann Group: 10 Day Cloud Onboarding

Initial launch of a web-based collaboration orchestration tool

Cloud knowledge is needed in-house

The digital transformation of companies is often tightly bound to cloud projects. However, launching new applications in the cloud is not a one-time effort. To run the systems smoothly over a long period of time, basic in-house knowledge about cloud computing is a useful asset.

Launching the first application

Hörmann Digital is a newly founded company with the primary goal to drive the digital transformation within the Hörmann Group. This is partly achieved by launching different systems in a cloud environment. As a starting point a small, highly motivated and rather inexperienced team has been set up to develop and launch the first application, a web-based collaboration orchestration tool. The target platform was the AWS cloud, where an account had already been in place.

Close collaboration

“Discussing examples and receiving guidance on real life situations made the AWS concepts easy to digest.“

Instead of just setting up a suitable architecture Comsysto Reply decided to work closely with the client. The primary goal was to enable them to do future work on their own.

Over the span of 2 months Comsysto Reply spent 10 days to teach basic concepts, support with the biggest challenges, and collaboratively launch the application to production. This was approached in pair and mob programming. It was important, that all team members understood the rationale behind the different best practices applied.

An AWS solution

However, without any in-depth knowledge about building on AWS, the entire stack including the database was deployed in a Docker environment hosted on a single EC2 instance, using the cloud like a single on-premises instance.

Up to that point best practices such as data encryption or backups had not yet been considered.

Refining the architecture

After jointly analysing the status quo, Comsysto Reply proposed a first version of the target architecture for implementation. First of all, Comsysto Reply put it together manually with a few shortcuts to demonstrate different involved AWS services and their integration. In this exploratory phase the Reply team could already identify a few major challenges such as the inability of the application to run more than one instance within a consistent state. While iteratively refining and documenting the desired architecture, Comsysto Reply continued with the introduction of Cloud Formation to make sure everything was clearly documented, reproducible and versioned.

The backend was set to run in Docker containers deployed on Fargate and now provides REST endpoints to the frontend which are served from S3 via CloudFront. The application is backed by a multi-AZ RDS database and can scale with increasing load. The entire build and deployment process was automated using CodePipeline and related AWS services.


The Achievments

Besides a successful launch, the most important outcome of the collaboration is the rapid increase of knowledge and experience among the development team members. Since the support was limited to one or two days per week, the Hörmann team had to learn how to apply knowledge and overcome difficulties on their own. Additionally Comsysto Reply focused on removing bigger impediments that would have flattened the learning curve and decreased the motivation.

The HÖRMANN Group has been at the forefront of innovation for more than 60 years. By continuously investing in employees’ expertise and the latest technologies, the family company has grown to include 27 affiliated companies. It is successful in four sectors: Automotive, Engineering, Communication and Industrial Services. HÖRMANN solutions help customers to go a step further – or make a quantum leap. The recipe for success: the corporate culture of a family company with the freedom to develop new ideas, a strong team spirit, and employees who want to make a difference.

Comsysto Reply, specialized in the agile development of customized software solutions for many years, is enabling companies to meet the challenges of digital transformation. Comsysto Reply works in cross-functional product teams with customers, partners and sister companies of the Reply Group and plays a leading role in the application of Lean and Agile Methods, Big Data, Cloud Services, User Experience Research, DevOps and Continuous Delivery.