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Renaissance Moves a Production Application to the Cloud

Preparing to move from their traditional data center, Renaissance worked with Trek10 to re-architect a new application and set the plan to go fully serverless.

Renaissance makes tools that power dental practices behind the scenes, so they can streamline insurance claim submissions, manage payments, and track everything on the go.

They first partnered with Trek10 in 2018 because they were tired of their traditional data center and wanted to adopt a cloud-based, serverless architecture. They were excited for the switch and ready to re-architect a new application, which would take advantage of all the latest AWS services and serverless had to offer.

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However, building a new application would take time, and they wanted to deprecate their on-premises data warehouse as soon as possible. That meant shifting the existing application out of their old data center now and executing a two-phase plan for going fully serverless.

The Two-phase Plan

For phase one of the plan, Renaissance wanted to re-host the existing rPractice application in AWS. This would get them out of their old data center so they could start leveraging AWS services as soon as possible. Phase two would be to re-architect rPractice as a cloud-native, serverless application.

The lift and shift gave Renaissance some big structural questions to tackle. How would they make sure the IP addresses on their legacy server wouldn’t be in conflict with AWS? Would they need a whole new IP address schema? What was the best way to take advantage of as many AWS services as possible while still using their legacy code, and how could they make the transition so seamless their customers wouldn’t even notice it?

Teamwork All the Way

Trek10 worked with Renaissance as they put strategies on the whiteboard and got to work.

“We got to talk decisions through with Trek10 and leverage their expertise to make more informed decisions--without having to do weeks of research.” - Seth Ely, Director of Product Development & Strategy at Renaissance

The Renaissance engineers had a lot of momentum as they got ramped up on AWS. They discussed what they wanted to do with Trek10, weighed different options and optimizations together, and then built a POC to see how it worked for them in practice.

“Trek10 was invaluable as we came to them with ideas and talked about the pros and cons of different strategies. They gave us great advice and saved us from the pitfalls of trial and error.” - Seth Ely, Director of Product Development & Strategy at Renaissance

Solving Problems With New Services

One of the trickier aspects of migrating rPractice would be building out new networking infrastructure.

Renaissance would need to connect rPractice in the cloud with their on-premises data center and offices, create several new VPCs and tie them together, and set up an IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) at the edge of the cloud.

As they were evaluating options for solving these problems, a new, simpler solution to their networking problems became available: AWS Transit Gateway. Transit Gateway would be able to handle most of what they needed on its own—VPC-to-VPC connectivity, on-premise connections via VPN, and advanced routing to help get mirrored traffic to their IPS.

With Trek10’s help, they were able to start using Transit Gateway right away, which saved them a lot of development time and headache. Renaissance was able to use Transit Gateway in production within weeks of its official launch.

Renaissance switched traffic to the AWS-hosted rPractice in mid-November 2019 and continued working behind the scenes on the brand new cloud-native version that would use AWS Lambda.

The Future of rPractice

In early 2020, Renaissance shipped the newly-architected, fully serverless rPractice, which you can read more about here!

Notably, the swap to AWS has given Renaissance the ability to react quickly as their business needs change, which has already been huge for their bottom line.

Nothing made this clearer than the mass business shutdowns amidst COVID-19—dental offices are Renaissance’s core business, and shelter in place orders prevented most of them from operating. But since Renaissance was able to quickly scale down their AWS usage, their business stayed healthy.

“If we hadn’t transitioned to AWS and serverless when we did, who knows the terrible situation we would have been in. Just having that agility is so important.” - Kris Grimes, Senior Vice President Engineering & Operations at Renaissance

Plus, Kris says, the switch to AWS modernized Renaissance’s tech stack across the board. The engineering team is energized and excited to be tackling new challenges and using the latest technology.

“Our team loves to build on new tech, and they were very excited about switching to a serverless stack on AWS. Trek10 was a great partner— they made this big transition approachable for everyone.” - Kris Grimes, Senior Vice President of Engineering & Operations at Renaissance