Migrate to AWS | SaaS Applications

Onna Broadens Their Customer Base with AWS On-Prem Rollouts

Getting non-native applications running on AWS can take time. In a market requiring speed, Onna Technologies reached out to Trek10 to accelerate their process.

The modern workplace operates through a chaotic mix of chat platforms, email, and document sharing systems. As such, there’s no single place that holds all the answers: why a certain decision was made, where this project left off, where that document lives, or even who has access to it. This is an especially difficult challenge for company legal teams, who often need access to this information at a moment’s notice for internal investigations, audits, and litigation.

Onna stands to solve this problem. Their eDiscovery solution can be instrumented either as-a-service or on-prem, giving their legal customers a private, centralized way to search through all the apps and systems they use to get work done, from Dropbox to Slack, to Quip, to Gmail.

“This is a very common problem,” said Nicole Thompson, Director of Platform Partnerships at Onna. “We’ve all had those moments when a teammate sends you a PDF through email and then you comment back on Slack, until all of a sudden, there are so many sources of information you can’t find what you’re looking for.”

Onna’s search is powerful enough to parse not just text, but also unstructured data, such as attachments and metadata fields. Whatever the question, a single search can pinpoint the answer—and, most importantly for legal teams, show the paper trail. So when a potential customer crosses Onna’s radar, the situation is often urgent. The customer needs this search capability immediately, and Onna is committed to helping them get up and running in a matter of days.

That is how, on a chilly October day, Ismael Alaoui, Principal Architect and Co-founder at Onna, ended up on a phone call with Trek10.

Broadening Onna’s Reach on AWS

“On-prem rollouts are really thousands of small pieces coming together,” says Alaoui. Onna must be hosted using the client’s own cloud environment and credentials, completely managed with their same database and network infrastructure, and deployed using their deployment scripts.

Onna’s native cloud environment is Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and their standard GCP deployments are highly optimized, with full on-prem rollouts taking only three to four days to complete. But if a client asked for AWS, the same rollout could take a couple of weeks. In an industry where time is of the essence, the Onna team knew they had to make their AWS deployments as efficient as their deployments on GCP.

“We looked into a lot of AWS integration partners,” said Alaoui, “and we were really impressed with Trek10. Our conversations flowed so easily, it felt like we were talking to someone on our internal team.”

Just One Line of Code to Deploy

“The goal was to remove everything manual from Onna’s AWS deployment process and simplify what they needed to manage,” said Adam Baker, Cloud Engineer at Trek10.

Onna’s deployments required installing a lot of dependencies manually, and scripting these steps in the cloud would simplify the process. While local AWS sessions time out after one hour, Onna could use Codebuild to allow longer sessions, giving them the time they needed to finish running the deployment script without timeouts. For steps that required manual user input, such as database passwords or SSH keys, the data was auto-generated, further cutting manual steps from the process.

“It was great talking to the engineers at Trek10 because both of our teams work so deeply in the cloud,” said Alaoui. “We knew GCP and they knew AWS but we were speaking the same cloud language. We had the same end goal.”

Trek10 also suggested opportunities for bringing in additional AWS-native managed services to lessen management overhead. For instance, Onna moved from Kafka to MSK—a managed Kafka service in AWS—and from GKE, GCP’s managed Kubernetes platform, to EKS on AWS.

By the end, Onna’s AWS deployment process was so automated that they needed just one line of code—changes that would save them operational costs and engineering time, as well as shorten their sales cycle.

“This was a pretty complex project,” said Alaoui, “and it honestly surprised me how quickly and smoothly everything came together.”

Also notable were the wide-ranging locations of everyone working on the project, which included Spain, Morocco, and the US. “Until the project was over,” Alaoui said, “I didn’t even realize we’d all been working from different time zones the whole time! Communication was always smooth and Trek10 was there whenever we needed them.”

Huge Impact for Both Engineering and Sales

“This is huge for everyone on the customer-facing side of the organization,” said Nicole Thompson, Onna’s Director of Platform Partnerships. “It broadens our client base instantly. It’s just a much easier sale when you can say, ‘yes, we can have this fully implemented for you in a few days, no problem.’”

And, according to Bahaa Alamood, Solutions Engineer at Onna, the deployment changes have made configuration much easier, too. Onna now has a single true version of the AWS config file stored in the cloud, streamlining their version control. They have an automation-first mindset about their AWS deployments that has removed their need to manually check on things or run scripts every couple of weeks.

“Without a doubt,” said Alaoui, “this is game-changing. Our AWS deployments just got much, much faster. This impact is going to be felt across the company.”