Edwards Lifesciences strengthens the fight against heart disease with AWS

This global leader in heart disease prevention transformed its clinicians’ and researchers’ ability to bring progressive heart technologies to patients.

Edwards Lifesciences Logo Industry Healthcare Challenge

Edwards Lifesciences had an industry-leading, life-giving medical product but faced several challenges around its IT infrastructure, which was built on 2,000+ servers. It needed to migrate about half of them to the cloud but lacked internal resources.

Solutions Cloud Adoption & Migration Platforms Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Our customer

Edwards Lifesciences is the global leader in patient-focused medical innovations for structural heart disease, as well as critical care and surgical monitoring. Driven by a passion to help patients in 100+ countries, the organization thrives on discovery and expanding the boundaries of medical technology. It collaborates with the world’s leading clinicians and researchers to address unmet needs, work to improve patient outcomes and enhance patients’ lives.

“This was a big win for us. I firmly believe we are in a significantly better place today than we would have been had we tried to take an alternative path.”
Sal Chiovari, Chief Information Officer, Edwards Lifesciences

The obstacles they faced

To stay on the leading edge of cardiac medical innovations, Edwards Lifesciences faced a wide range of challenges stemming from its server-based IT infrastructure. Among the challenges was strained compute, storage and security performance for its ERP, product lifecycle management application and manufacturing execution systems.

As a distributed IT organization with traditional data centers, networks and applications, the company had made a significant investment in IT, including 2,000+ servers. With many layers and ad hoc solutions built in, the internal IT team faced numerous management challenges.

Edwards Lifesciences knew it needed to fix its IT estate but calculated that the project would take two years minimum to execute using its internal resources. It would need to hire top talent, do all the heavy lifting and, at the end of the day, only achieve a better-functioning data center.

Alternatively, the company could choose the IaaS route, where it could gain significantly better services, opportunities to turn things around faster, and better security without adding additional expenditures after the transition.

Man with scrub

"We’re poised for the future. AWS will allow us to move into much bigger environments. It’s been a big win and very positive experience."

Sal Chiovari, Chief Information Officer, Edwards Lifesciences
People at a lab

How we helped

The ingredients for cloud migration success for Edwards Lifesciences were based on a simple philosophy — think big, start small and act fast. The organization wanted to move every piece of its compute infrastructure to AWS but decided to start small so that its team wasn’t overwhelmed.

The cloud migration initiative commenced with the deployment of a Manufacturing Execution System (MES), so that the internal team could witness success and get enthusiastic about the project. With the help of Rackspace Technology and AWS Storage Competency Partner, CloudEndure, the team put every business-critical production application into AWS within three months.

The first step was getting executive management buy-in — helping them understand the value of moving to the cloud and ensuring they were onboard. However getting the internal infrastructure team onboard created significant roadblocks around testing and developing servers on AWS. That’s when Edwards Lifesciences asked Rackspace Technology to take over.

Rackspace Technology brought in a skilled, focused and high-intensity team to expedite the migration. The team employed a wide range of AWS services:

  • AWS Direct Connect was used as a VPN tunnel between the data center and AWS.
  • AWS Snowball was used to move terabytes of data.
  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) was employed to move servers on an Excel export.
  • SCCM was also employed to provide transparency into the company’s AWS spend.


Edwards Lifesciences had many discussions about VPC design with its Rackspace Technology solution architecture team. It was decided that they needed a dev, test and production environment within the solution.

Another important part of the move was data center applications and consolidating the Microsoft SQL Server database licenses. After migrating to AWS, the SQL Server continued to host many applications to maintain seamless operation. The team created the concept of move groups for any applications with hard dependencies that needed to be moved together, such as a database or application server, or database-to-database link or connection, or anything in real-time.

Also, for convenience, Edwards Lifesciences did not want to move hundreds of servers on the same weekend. Because it’s FDA-regulated, it faced restrictions on its operational qualifications and scripts. Testing was formal. The most it moved in a weekend was between 50 to 75 servers. User groups were migrated, tested and went live together, and the organization tried to clean up and, in some cases, upgrade or retire the servers it migrated.

Edwards Lifesciences reduced its servers from +2,000 to just over 1,000. 

What we achieved together

With its successful move to AWS, Edwards Lifesciences overcame ongoing data center and production system challenges. The efficiency of the new solution has positively impacted employee morale across both technical and business teams.

The IT team appreciates it and understands the business value of the cloud. Also, the business team appreciates an always-on system that keeps the entire company more productive. Whenever there are issues, it receives fast and reliable responses, thanks to Rackspace Managed Services. Since the migration, Edwards Lifesciences executed several big initiatives successfully — inspiring company-wide job satisfaction.

About Rackspace Technology

Rackspace Technology is a hybrid, multicloud solutions expert. We combine our expertise with the world’s leading technologies — across AI, applications, data and security — to deliver end-to-end solutions. We have a proven record of advising customers based on their business challenges, designing solutions that scale, building and managing those solutions, and optimizing returns into the future. 

As a global hybrid, multicloud technology services pioneer, we deliver innovative capabilities to help customers build new revenue streams, increase efficiency and create incredible experiences. Named a best place to work, year after year according to Fortune, Forbes and Glassdoor, we attract and develop world-class talent to deliver the best expertise to our customers. Everything we do is wrapped in Fanatical Experience® — our obsession with customer success that drives us to help each customer work faster, smarter and stay ahead of what’s next. 

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