Sugar Research Australia fuels research with cloud computing

Sugar Research Australia fuels
research with cloud computing

IndustryIndustry body
Core BusinessResearch
Number of employees280
Geographic areaAustralia
Workload migratedWindows & SQL Server

Objective

Sugar Research Australia (SRA) conducts cutting-edge research to improve the performance of sugarcane, including focused inquiries into plant breeding, soil health, and nitrite utilisation reductions, which have important impacts on minimising fertiliser wash-off into the Great Barrier Reef.

SRA’s research supports growers and millers in improving both efficacy and profitability, yet its own operational limitations often hindered its ability to deliver valued solutions to the growing sugarcane industry. Aging on-premises infrastructure needed to be refreshed, though SRA recognised that addressing capability gaps it had identified would be difficult to achieve with a ‘like-for-like’ replacement.

Solution

SRA partnered with Codify – a Microsoft Gold Partner in Cloud Platform – to explore migrating its existing infrastructure to the cloud. Working closely together, the companies utilised Codify’s CloudLift process to identify SRA’s existing infrastructure, demonstrate what it would look like in Azure, and explain how its operational costs would be determined.

Codify’s initial solution assessment surfaced a requirement for intensive resources in SRA’s research.

We had some very specific requirements to be met; a big one was high-performance compute.

Adam O’Halloran, Chief Information Officer

“Our researchers conduct significant amounts of analysis. Previously, they would request very expensive machines to conduct work over a period of months at a time – not 24/7, 365 days a year.”

Codify identified that its Managed Azure offering would allow SRA to meet its variable burst capacity demand in a cost-effective way. “We ingest in realtime all of the consumption records for customers in Azure,” explains David Connors, Managing Director at Codify. “We’re constantly running through these datasets to work out exactly what resources are being used and comparing them against predefined budgets. As soon as there’s an exception, that goes straight to our service desk and is actioned by a person.”

Outcome

Codify’s ‘Plan, Migrate, Run’ methodology – beginning with the CloudLift ‘Plan’ process and ending with the Managed Azure component of its ‘Run’ offering – simplified the cloud migration process for SRA. According to O’Halloran, “the transition itself was quite straightforward. Once we had the process to migrate into the cloud, the actual execution of that activity was pretty quick and pretty painless actually.”

Now, following its cloud migration, SRA is better able to supply the computing capabilities required by its teams without incurring unnecessary cost. According to O’Halloran, “We can now give our researchers access to effectively infinite cloud compute processing capacity, and they run it when they need it. As soon as they’re finished, we stop paying for it. They get everything they need, and at the same time, it’s very cost effective.”

Further, SRA has begun to see longer-term impacts arising from its partnering with Codify. “We’ve been able to move beyond the scope of the project into more of a partnership,” describes O’Halloran. “Codify has continued to support us, whether that’s meant keeping us up-to-date on new features being announced by Microsoft or looking at ways to make our current environment even more efficient.”

“What you’re looking for in a partner isn’t just conducting the scope of work,” summarises O’Halloran.

What you’re looking for is the capability to understand what’s just over the horizon and to advise you on all the options you have to meet that challenge. Codify are very good at understanding both your short-term aspirations and the greater context around them.

Adam O’Halloran, CIO