Founded in 1989, Dedalus is a Brazilian cloud services broker company that specializes in migrating and managing applications in the cloud. In its early days as a systems integrator and hosting provider, the company founded the very first Internet-connected data center in Brazil—a 10,000-square-foot facility with more than 2,000 servers. Years later when cloud computing hit the scene, the company shifted its focus away from hardware and instead decided to dedicate its business entirely to cloud computing.
Today, the company is one of 15 premier Amazon Web Services (AWS) partners in the world, and the only one in Latin America. Although Dedalus has gone through various iterations over the last 26 years, at its core, its mission has always remained the same: to help people better use technology.
Monitoring the infrastructure alone wasn’t enough
There’s a reason why more than 700 companies and counting rely on Dedalus to help them migrate their applications to the cloud, and that’s because they know it’s not all that easy. “If you go to the cloud alone, you’re going to have to learn a lot,” says Mauricio Fernandes, president of Dedalus. “You need to run a lot of tests, analyze lots of figures, come up with new processes…it can be easy for fear to set in. But fear is not what you want when undertaking such a massive project.”
Dedalus can help customers eliminate that fear by walking them through each step of the process, from helping identify which applications to move, running tests, doing the migration, and then continuing to help maintain and optimize their systems after the move. “In some sense, Dedalus is an extension of AWS,” explains Fernandes, “not only to resell their services, but to do something more crucial, which is the management portion of it.”
An important part of that management involves monitoring the environment and knowing when to scale, which can be difficult when your visibility is limited to solely the infrastructure. “AWS is a wonderful technology but there’s a lot of things happening on the application side that we can’t manage with AWS because that’s not what it was designed to do,” says Fernandes. “We needed a way to monitor the queries and the health of the application, not just the infrastructure. So we decided to turn to a tool that could help us do that.”
An invaluable platform for each step of migration
Even with the most skilled technical experts on the Dedalus team, Fernandes knew that when it comes to application performance, working off of supposition wasn’t going to work. They needed actual, real-time data to make the best decisions possible—and that’s precisely why they turned to the New Relic platform. “We quickly realized that New Relic could manage the applications and the infrastructure in a totally different, automated way,” says Fernandes. “We saw it as an opportunity to save a lot of time and resources, while providing greater value in our services.”
Indeed, as more and more companies made the move to the cloud over the years, New Relic APM proved to be an invaluable tool. “One of the most important issues with cloud computing is volume,” explains Fernandes. “As a service provider, the challenge for us is that when you scale, it’s not economically viable to hire people to do all those services manually. But using New Relic, we can automate management. We can manage hundreds of systems without having to add new people for every account.”
New Relic plays a critical role in providing a before-and-after picture of Dedalus customers’ applications pre-, during, and post-migration. The first step in the process: use New Relic to help understand the behavior of the application in its existing environment, which involves taking a performance snapshot of what’s going on with I/O, transactions, storage velocity, and more. Using this information, Dedalus then re-architects the application to run smoothly in the cloud. Once that’s completed, they use New Relic again to monitor performance during the actual migration. And finally, New Relic helps to track the health of the application once it’s gone live. “So in the end, New Relic is really helping us transform our customers’ systems,” says Fernandes, adding that on average, the entire migration process usually takes about six weeks.
Squashing problems left and right
Over the last six years, Dedalus has uncovered and fixed countless bugs over the years thanks to New Relic, including some major issues. “We had one customer who had a bug in their application since the 1990s,” says Wilder Martins, deployment manager at Dedalus. “This was an application they had written themselves but were never able to fix because they didn’t have the right type of performance visibility.” The problem lay in the fact that they could only track server health, which showed everything as being fine, while the application randomly timed out for minutes at a time.
It wasn’t until they used New Relic to view application-level performance that they were able to find out what was really going on. “We realized that it came down to one poorly written query that was causing a delay between the applications and the database,” explains Martins. “Knowing that, we were easily able to fix it. Can you imagine? Two decades with the same bug, and we were able to solve it in minutes using New Relic.”
In addition to stomping out pesky code bugs, Dedalus uses New Relic with AWS to tackle both scaling and security issues. According to Fernandes, companies are slowly starting to realize that security can be affected positively by moving to cloud computing. As an example, Fernandes tells the story of one Dedalus customer, a high-profile company in Brazil with more than 30 million logins per month that had to switch to AWS due to unrelenting hacker attacks. Because of its massive user base, the company was constantly being attacked by hackers trying to overrun their servers in order to steal sensitive user information. Eventually, it got so bad that the company’s data center hosting provider rescinded its contract, leaving the business no choice but to move to a cloud environment. And what happened when the hackers started attacking after the company migrated to AWS?
“We scaled the company’s 100 servers to 2,000 servers in a matter of minutes,” says Fernandes. “And immediately we resolve the situation by making it nearly impossible for the hackers to overrun their servers because everything is spread across a much larger environment. So we protected the customer, and all it cost them was about $5,000, which is almost nothing considering the size of the problem. Thanks to tools like AWS and New Relic, what Dedalus can do in terms of technology, quality, and results is just incomparable to what we were able to do in the past.”
Fernandes can’t stress enough the importance of having people you can trust and turn to when embarking on a cloud journey. “Cloud computing is a nice place to go, but never go alone. You should always find your best partners, and for Dedalus, that includes New Relic.”