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Seaware Disaster Recovery

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Project Infomation

Star Cruises is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Genting Hong Kong, a leading global leisure, entertainment and hospitality corporation. A pioneer in the Asia Pacific cruise industry, Star Cruises has been operating its fleet since 1993, taking on the bold initiative to grow the region as an international cruise destination with six vessels.
Star Cruises’ commitment to offering best-in-class services and facilities is reflected in a host of recognitions and accolades received over the years. Having a revenue of US$ 26.47 Billion, it aims to be the top cruise industry in the world.
  • Client: Star Cruises
  • Date: 2017
  • Skills: Cloud Security, AWS Expertise, Disaster Recovery

The Challenge

The biggest challenge faced was to provide benefits of AWS and educating them about the stability and security of the platform. Star Cruises is the leading cruise line in Asia-Pacific and an early adopter in harnessing highly-scalable cloud technologies for its internal and customer-facing systems.

With the steady growth of opportunities, Genting Corporate Services (HK) Ltd. intends to better manage its IT systems emphasizing on improved reliability, performance, and manageability. Hence, the main objectives of the Seaware Disaster Recovery (DR) project were the Enablement of DR capability for the Seaware production environment.

DR environment will reside within the AWS Singapore Region across 2 Multiple Availability Zones, DR architecture will be a Pilot Light design with the option to upgrade to Warm Standby. Recovery Time Objective and Recovery Point Objective (RTO, RPO) will be estimated within 30 minutes.

Why Amazon Web Services

Being the third-largest cruise-line in the world, and having won numerous awards, Star Cruises needed to be shifted from on-premises to Amazon Web Services (AWS) for the Seaware DR due to the cloud service provider’s track record of scalability, flexibility, agility and savings. RightCloud has previously used AWS for other areas before doing the Disaster Recovery. The company’s CEO also believed that the emergence of AWS from the world’s leading e-commerce provider, Amazon.com, gave the cloud provider a legacy and experience that the business could tap into when running its own system-wide business.

To guarantee the minimum RPO and RTO conditions of Genting Corporate Services (HK) Ltd., the solution highlights the use of a real-time replication strategy for components needing to be replicated on a continuous basis. Other components that will change infrequently will not be updated in real-time to save bandwidth and keep the projected AWS resource costs minimal.

Genting Corporate Services (HK) Ltd. established its first Amazon Route 53 as a highly available and scalable cloud Domain Name System (DNS) web service to route users to the appropriate resources within and outside of the AWS infrastructure. It also made use of Database replication and mirroring for transferring data from primary database to secondary database. A VPN connection is created from the Backend Systems to create a secure connection for region-restricted websites, shielding the browsing activity from the prying eyes.

The Benefits

Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
Given the nature of the replication system used, the expected RPO was minimal. Assuming fast replication, it was assumed that the RPO was achieved under 30 minutes. The RPO would be affected by the amount of transactions, the speed of the connection between their on-premise environments and AWS, as well as the instance sizes used in the DR environment. The RTO depended on the total storage size of the instances and was validated with a proper POC.
Security
Security of the Customer data was an integral component of the project. The AWS account level was protected via the AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) platform. AWS VPCs (Virtual Private Cloud) and Subnets were created to isolate various application components from each other. The Network Access Layer protects the VPC and network subnets in the AWS Availability Zones. Finally, the AWS Security Groups were implemented to protect individual instances. The OS was also encapsulated to follow recommended best security practices.
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