Transurban lays foundations for rapid change
Established in 1996, Transurban is an ASX top 20 organisation and a leading provider of infrastructure and transport services, managing and developing toll roads across Australia and parts of the USA in partnership with government clients. Working closely with both commercial and government entities, Transurban addresses complex infrastructure challenges with effective transport solutions and maintains 13 existing major roads in Australia, along with 2 major roads in the Washington DC area in the USA.
To deliver new technology initiatives it requires new infrastructure. Provisioning infrastructure for these initiatives is typically slow and expensive, as was the case for Transurban.
Transurban made a bold decision to build out an Enterprise Cloud Enablement platform, founded upon Amazon Web Services to allow its internal technology consumers and business colleagues to quickly provision high quality and secure infrastructure in AWS. This ECE was built around the latest Agile and DevOps principles – a truly foundational and enterprise changing endeavor. Transurban partnered with Versent in order to lay the foundation for a successful digital roadmap to build from.
Due to multiple parallel projects being delivered in a repetitive manner and a tight timeframe, there was no room for error. In order for the project to succeed, it needed to not only address the necessary technology changes, but also aspects of cultural change within Transurban.
“The challenge for Versent was to provide an ASX Top 10 company like Transurban with a strong security foundation without necessarily slowing down the speed of product delivery with complexity from security. Versent has developed our security principles based on our experience with successfully and securely deployed applications into AWS. These principles leverages AWS services to implement security controls and guard rails for AWS customers. The foundations of Transurban ECE platform are build on Versent’s security principles. A testament to our strong principles is the successful PCI Compliance Audit that the platform has undergone recently.” Mithran Naiker, General Manager – Infrastructure & Service Delivery at Transurban.
Consolidation was also required to leverage the data Transurban was collecting across its various existing websites and transactions. The business also needed to simultaneously provide on-demand internal services with quicker value back to the business. To meet the various challenges, an enterprise-scale cloud infrastructure solution was proposed, with delivery to follow Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) best-practice methodology. From the very beginning, Transurban was looking to benefit from the consistency & confidence DevOps principles brings thanks to strong automation & repeatability, as well as embrace the “always on” nature of AWS’ public cloud.
To assist Transurban with these challenges, Versent was selected as the implementation partner to lay technology foundations that could enable rapid change, which took shape in the form of acentralised, built-for-purpose Enterprise Cloud Enablement (ECE) solution, housed within a fully automated, native AWS cloud environment.
The ECE solution relied on two key elements to make it successful: Amazon Cloud Services (like EC2, EBS, S3 and Route53), as well as managing infrastructure as software to enable management of both at the same time; also known as full stack automation. With a focus on discipline and automation, the solution was developed in a ‘build factory’ using a variety of fit-for-purpose, open source and major provider tools, all set up as non-proprietary ecosystems.
According to Mithran Naiker, General Manager – Infrastructure & Service Delivery at Transurban, the implemented solution was built to be both reusable and and collaborative, and would pave the way for future projects.
While trying to solve the number of challenges encountered by moving to a cloud platform, the project also faced additional pressures by running multiple implementations in parallel. “The significance of running four interdependent projects in parallel, which included four different teams and four different stakeholders, is that we really needed to abide and enforce the team on agile practices and framework.” said Mithran Naiker, General Manager – Infrastructure & Service Delivery at Transurban. This included managing governance across the teams, how to communicate effectively and the art of reprioritising tasks was taken to a new level.
The Versent security principle applied in Transurban ECE were not limited to some of the basic security controls like enabling CloudTrail logs in all region and logging all application logs in CloudWatch. Monitoring and Logging of the collected logs were integrated with Sumologic, managed by Versent Managed services team on behalf of Transurban. This provided Transurban with advanced metric on the multiple AWS Accounts they managed for the organisation. These metric are currently used to investigate and apply mitigations to any malicious activity on Transurban AWS environments.
“During the project, our AWS security posture was kept aligned to our enterprise security model. This helped us achieve our “Secure Cloud Adoption” goal while maintaining speed of delivery.” Said Naiker.
The ECE project formed part of Transurban’s large iterative Agile program, which was a significant and meaningful step for the organisation towards enabling their customer strategy. It also enabled them to be truly DevOps in their approach to delivery of Cloud infrastructure, knowing that the build patterns conceived during the ECE project are repeatable and of the highest quality. This repeatability drives cost efficiency for new technology and digital initiatives.
The solution also laid the foundations for a new means of customer engagement, and the delivery of new consumer-facing content and products with a higher degree of quality – due to the streamlining of multiple internal functions. “Additionally, we were able to provide value back to the business by making critical applications always available, but more importantly, a quicker turnaround time frame for Transurban to win more business”.
An internal Transurban team was built as part of establishing the platform, and additional benefits such as improving the speed in which the critical business functions were able to work became present.
With future scalability in mind, Versent ensured the environment was future-proofed and purposely designed to allow Transurban to quickly migrate infrastructure and and upskill within a cloud-based environment, benefiting customers and stakeholders alike.
“Versent delivered the solution in just four months and the benefits to our business were almost instant. We’ve seen an increase in collaboration, zero downtime, and improved speed to market. This has allowed us to make quicker decisions and implement changes with much faster outcomes also provided immediate value-add. It has also allowed our internal teams to continue managing the platform and the stream of projects which now stem from it” said Naiker.