Aktion Mensch, one of Germany’s largest social support organizations, was founded in 1964 with the goals of promoting social inclusion for people with disabilities, as well as supporting vocational training, cultural programs, health access, and educational opportunities. To achieve these goals, it conducts various activities, including funding multiple projects, running national lotteries, and creating media campaigns. Through all these initiatives, it aims to create a community where everyone, regardless of physical ability, can live and work together every day.
Aktion Mensch’s national lotteries attract over five million monthly participants, making it the largest lottery in Germany. Since its inception, the Mainz-based organization has cumulatively contributed €5 billion to social programs. It supports almost a thousand projects annually for people with disabilities, children, and adolescents. The organization serves as a direct response to the thalidomide disaster of the early 1960s, which affected generations in the country.
“We are extremely satisfied with Rackspace, their work, and especially the team’s great experience and knowledge. They have been incredibly helpful, always trying to understand and address our problems to deliver the best possible solutions.”
The obstacles they faced
As Aktion Mensch began to observe increasing digital and mobile usage by its audience, the non-profit wanted to take action to prevent potential obstacles, such as compromised service quality or security exposure. Already facing mounting challenges due to legacy technologies, hosting issues, delays and lack of documentation, Aktion Mensch sought to proactively increase infrastructure scalability and flexibility and reduce costs.
“We saw that more and more people were using online and mobile services, so we decided to search for a strategically suitable platform,” said Johannes Kettern, Head of IT Management, Aktion Mensch. “The complexity of our IT led us to choose the Microsoft® Azure® public cloud and Rackspace Technology® to set up and maintain the platform."
“As we look to the future, we first intend to finish the migration process, then move into an optimization phase wherein we are looking to the experience of the Rackspace team to determine how we can use cloud technologies to enhance our systems.!”
How we helped
Aktion Mensch chose Microsoft® Azure® public cloud and tapped Rackspace Technology® to set up and maintain the platform. To ensure the project’s success, Rackspace Technology worked collaboratively with the Aktion Mensch IT team to migrate the system and provide 24x7x365 operational support.
“Initially, we collaborated with Rackspace to design blueprints, landing zones and network separations for the base of our environment using infrastructure code,” said Kettern. “We then proceeded to migrate applications one by one, designing the target landscape and migrating them.”
Rackspace implemented DevOps within the company’s infrastructure, which involved automating pipelines, collaborating on infrastructure code to test multiple possibilities in the pre-production stage, and executing infrastructure changes.
“For us, the lift and shift approach wasn’t the right one,” said Kettern. “We chose instead to go the optimized route with the migration in the landing zones and revised network structures.”
Following some initial project cost hurdles, Rackspace was able to flexibly revamp its project management approach. The result: Aktion Mensch launched in the cloud without a hitch.
“In the beginning, our agile approach had brought unexpected cost increases,” said Kettern. “We restructured our approach, and now we are all truly pleased with the outcome. With such challenging moments, you really get to know who your partner is, and I can say we have a good partner in Rackspace.”
What we achieved together
The migration project resulted in a seamless, successful transition. Aktion Mensch was able to move ten business-critical services, which included lottery services and databases, from on-premises data centers to Azure Application Gateway, centralizing applications in one unified gateway. The company integrated Azure Kubernetes Cluster, Azure Container Registry and Azure Application Gateway to achieve significant cost savings compared to an on-premises fixed cost package. Using effective Azure Cloud Cost Management tooling allowed for a significant cost reduction.
Thanks to Microsoft Azure, Aktion Mensch benefits from faster processing times and more flexibility and can concentrate on its core business.
“We have achieved faster results delivering the platform with our predefined landing zones, and gained transparency which helps in terms of security, as well as transparency of costs with the help of Microsoft Azure cost management,” said Kettern.
Thanks to the success of the project, Aktion Mensch has been able to expand further, investigating topics such as IT security. Rackspace has helped them at every step of their cloud journey.
"We had the aim of improving service quality, security, scalability, flexibility and cost reduction and were able to deliver a successful project with the help of the Rackspace team's cutting-edge innovation, expertise and work ethic," said Kettern. “We are extremely satisfied with Rackspace, their work, and especially the team's great experience and knowledge. They have been incredibly helpful, always trying to understand and address our problems to deliver the best possible solutions.”
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