Ministry of information affairs

AWS Partner Story: Bahrain Ministry of Information Affairs & Almoayyed Computers

Executive summery

Almoayyed Computers helped the Bahrain Information Affairs Authority (IAA) move a mission-critical, customer-facing website onto AWS in less than two weeks with no downtime. Almoayyed Computers provides Bahraini public and private sector customers with IT infrastructure, application design and deployment, business consulting, outsourcing, and technical support services. The Bahraini IAA website uses AWS Elastic Beanstalk to orchestrate infrastructure resources, Amazon S3 for object storage, and Amazon CloudFront for a globally distributed content delivery network.

The Challenges

Ever since its founding in 1979, Almoayyed Computers has closely monitored the evolution of its customers’ IT needs and the technologies available to meet those needs, adapting its offerings accordingly. "We began with an emphasis on on-premises data centers and the networking and security considerations that go along with those," says S.M. Hussaini, CEO at Almoayyed Computers. "We were always enthusiastic about the possibilities of cloud computing, and we have increasingly moved in that direction in response to strong customer demand for the flexibility, agility, and cost savings available in the cloud. Our long-term strategy is to shift our focus entirely to cloud operations in the coming years, because that is how we can help our customers be most successful."

The potential of the public cloud was also on the mind of Bahrain's Information Affairs Authority (IAA), which functions as the country's governmental public relations arm, regulates private media in the country, and operates the official Bahrain News Agency (BNA).

"The hosting service for the BNA website was becoming increasingly problematic," says Huda Ahmed Mohsen, the chief of IT for the Information Affairs Authority. She explains that problems with the site's availability, performance, and security were becoming intolerable even as BNA was working to implement a much-needed redesign of both the website and its back-end publishing workflows.

"The BNA website had very high availability and performance requirements, and our previous host couldn't deliver what we needed," Huda Mohsen says. "BNA employees use the site to publish about 100 news items every 24 hours. Employees need to be able to rely on the back-end system to complete the necessary workflows to upload text, videos, and multiple pictures for each item, and the public depends on the site to be available whenever they want to look at it, day or night. We also had concerns that the site was not as safe from hacking as possible."

The Bahrain government has set a goal of shifting the IT infrastructures of all its ministries and offices to Amazon Web Services (AWS) by 2019. As the difficulty of working with the BNA website's host mounted, and because the current hosting contract would expire in less than a month, IAA decided to shift the BNA website to AWS as soon as possible.

Why Amazon Web Services

The IAA selected Almoayyed Computers to assist it with moving the mission-critical BNA website into AWS because of its demonstrated expertise in architecting and implementing solutions on AWS for the public sector.

Almoayyed Computers — already the first Bahraini company to become an AWS Partner Network (APN) Standard Consulting Partner—joined the AWS Public Partner Sector Program in 2017 and has obtained AWS validation as an Authorized Government Reseller and an Authorized Commercial Reseller. Almoayyed Computers employees collectively hold the highest number of AWS certifications of any Bahraini company, including as AWS Certified Solutions Architects, AWS Certified Developers, and AWS Certified DevOps Engineers.

"Joining the AWS Public Sector Partner Program has been a good way to emphasize to the Bahrain public sector that we have the qualifications and commitment to serve them," says Jaison Jose, a cloud architect and support service delivery manager for Almoayyed Computers. "These qualifications help us win new business and are a big reason that the Bahrain government has identified us as one of only three vendors to assist its agencies and ministries with the shift to AWS."

To prevent downtime, Almoayyed Computers obtained a backup copy of the redesigned BNA website. The company then used AWS Elastic Beanstalk to orchestrate the website's AWS infrastructure, with services including Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for object storage, Amazon Glacier for data archiving and backup, and Amazon Relational Database (Amazon RDS).

To achieve high availability and performance, the website relies on Amazon CloudFront for a globally distributed content delivery network, Elastic Load Balancing for automatic distribution of incoming traffic, and Amazon Shield for managed protection against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

“Despite almost no assistance from the previous vendor and a very tight turnaround, we were able to take advantage of the flexibility and simplicity of AWS to complete the project on time,” says Hazem Rewiha, Large Account Manager at Almoayyed Computers. “Deploying into AWS also made it simpler to avoid interruptions of service for the site's customers and required almost no changes to employee workflows.”

The Benefits of MIA

With the assistance of Almoayyed Computers, IAA was able to move from a problematic website host onto a highly available, more secure infrastructure on AWS.

"Almoayyed Computers help was invaluable," says Huda Mohsen. "Not only did we complete the move in two weeks, but they worked with us around the clock to ensure that the entire system remained stable and trouble-free."

Although the previous host presented unacceptably frequent availability lapses, that problem has been eliminated on AWS. "For us, the most important red line is that this portal cannot go down for even a second," says Huda Mohsen. "Before, we often experienced some challenges, and fixing these problems required work orders, procuring new hardware, and long timeframes. Now, even when we do experience small issues, it just takes a couple of clicks to move a database. I can do it from my house, even in the middle of the night, and our customers never know there was any issue."

It's also much easier to update the website with new features. "Now that we are on AWS, all the cumbersome workflow that used to be necessary to add features or provision resources for new features has been replaced by just a few clicks," says Mohamed Sajid an AWS solution Architect at Almoayyed Computers.

Moving to AWS resulted in considerable cost savings, Huda Mohsen adds. "By moving to AWS, we cut our hosting costs 50%. The savings we found on AWS are being reinvested into the site, so we can create an even better experience for our customers."

Huda Mohsen chalks up the success of the project to the flexibility and professionalism of Almoayyed Computers team. "What I liked most about working with Almoayyed Computers team members was that they treated us more like family than like a revenue source. They were always ready to help, whenever and whatever we needed, and they were totally committed to a successful, high-quality outcome."