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Fedmine Takes Big Data to the Cloud

"No matter what challenges come up, I feel confident that Trek10 can come to the table and be part of the solution.” - Ashok Mehan, CEO of Fedmine

As an experienced small business owner himself, Ashok Mehan knows the struggles that small businesses face in the federal sector. His desire to level the playing field by helping small contractors connect with federal agencies led him to create Fedmine—a powerful big data platform for the public sector. Today, many federal agencies use Fedmine to conduct market research and find vendors, while prime contractors use it for real-time notifications on federal business opportunities they care to pursue.

Ashok built Fedmine single-handedly, and so when he approached Trek10, he was looking for a partnership with an experienced firm that understood his reality as a sole founder, and the importance of managing a real-time data infrastructure for the federal sector. With an eye toward instantiating a FISMA and FedRamp compliant platform on the AWS GovCloud, Ashok needed to work with engineers he could trust and be comfortable handing his creation over to.

“We did our homework looking into companies that could meet our strict criteria. But there was something about Trek10 that struck me the most—they tried hard to understand my pain points.” - Ashok Mehan, CEO of Fedmine

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Ashok had two pressing concerns he wanted Trek10 to work on.

First, fine-tune Fedmine’s architecture to follow a cloud-native paradigm, leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS) to the fullest and reducing management overhead across the team. Second, create a new SSO feature for the Department of Veterans Affairs. This was an urgent requirement; the Department of Veterans Affairs needed SSO implemented on its flagship VetBiz portal, where veteran-owned firms are verified prior to receiving a contract award.

Connecting the Dots in Infrastructure

The Trek10 team started by taking a step back. They documented Fedmine’s infrastructure and quickly identified areas to modify but evolve consistently over time. That meant right-sizing resources for optimal performance and taking time to do the groundwork that would pay off in the long run.

“Not going to lie, I wasn’t happy at first. I had ideas about what I wanted Trek10 to work on but they were advising me to prioritize some other things first. In the end, I trusted their expertise and I’m glad I did.” - Ashok Mehan, CEO of Fedmine

Trek10 wrote some custom scripts to help Fedmine streamline many parts of its platform, such as text extraction processes from government documents, database fine-tuning, and management, which made for smoother search experiences for Fedmine’s clients. Alongside this, they did a code review to identify redundancies, identified database tables using older character sets and recommended a mirrored development environment for seamless testing. Trek10’s analysis of Fedmine’s infrastructure costs at the time resulted in an immediate 10% realization of monthly AWS expenses. Soon thereafter, Ashok saw cost increases in other areas and found other opportunities to eliminate unused resources and older snapshots.

Fedmine's account owners also worked with Trek10's 24x7 monitoring to review all IAM roles and users to make sure best practices were being followed.

Implementing Single Sign-on

Alongside these infrastructure changes, Fedmine had just won a contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs. To move forward, they needed SSO implemented on the Department’s flagship VetBiz portal, where veteran-owned firms are verified.

For this, Trek10 utilized AWS Cognito. The VA's system was done in .NET, and Fedmine's application needed to have a decryption flow that followed the VA's. Trek10 built the SSO system to specifications, and beyond that, built monitoring into the code.

When Trek10 approaches implementing a new solution, they’re not just thinking about how to build it, but how to make it easy to maintain.

“Working with government agencies, there are always stringent requirements to meet. Trek10 handled this project beautifully when other people had failed.” - Ashok Mehan, CEO of Fedmine

24/7 Monitoring and Support

Throughout the projects and infrastructure changes, Trek10 was also providing Trek10’s 24/7 managed CloudOps support to Fedmine.

Part of Fedmine’s infrastructure includes a critical server that pulls information, runs it through proprietary data enrichment software, and stores it in a database. When it suddenly crashed, Trek10 had it up and running again in 11 minutes. Without such a quick turnaround, time-sensitive jobs would have failed.

“Trek10’s 24/7 response is incredible. I don’t have to worry about anything. I’d previously worked with someone else for operational support, and with them, I’d have to get up in the middle of the night sometimes. Trek10 just handles it.” - Ashok Mehan, CEO of Fedmine

Fedmine Today

Trek10 and Fedmine have been working together for almost two years to make incremental evolutions to Fedmine’s infrastructure and add new features to the platform, as well as for operational support.

“We are definitely in a better place today than when we came on board with Trek10. The team at Trek10 worked hard to eliminate problems in the best way—where they’re never even seen.” - Ashok Mehan, CEO of Fedmine

Fedmine is currently in the final stages of an ElasticSearch implementation, which has been one of Ashok’s big priorities. Ashok is always thinking to the future and planning for what comes next.

“I boot-strapped this business, and Trek10 understands who I am and sees what needs to get done. No matter what challenges come up, I feel confident that Trek10 can come to the table and be part of the solution.” - Ashok Mehan, CEO of Fedmine