ZatPark’s migration to a ‘Platform as a Service’ solution

Apr 16, 2019

ZatPark has migrated to a ‘Platform As A Service’ (PaaS) solution to provide many additional benefits to our customers. But what does it mean and what benefits will it deliver for you?

Technology company Unity 5, has provided its industry leading parking enforcement and management software ‘ZatPark’ to customers since 2010. A focus on continuous development ensures the software has maintained its position as a market leader, helping customers adopt innovative technology to drive down costs and helping their businesses to expand.

All that customers require to access ZatPark, originally hosted in Internet connected 3rd party data centres, is an Internet connection, web browser and PDF reader. This simple low-cost service delivery provided many benefits to our customers including low system implementation and maintenance costs, resilience, and business continuity in the event of an adverse weather event or disaster affecting their office.

However, behind the scenes running and maintaining ZatPark from data centre infrastructure incurred a number of overheads:

  • Capacity: the balance between making sure there was enough resources to scale during peak demand without over engineering and forcing the service cost up. Extra resources had to be pre-provisioned in advance which meant capacity planning became a challenge for unexpected demand.
  • Security: physical as well as network security making sure customer and motorist data was properly protected.
  • Network infrastructure: all the hardware infrastructure required to resiliently connect ZatPark to the internet such as load balancers, firewalls, routers, switches, etc.
  • Support: skilled ‘hands-on’ engineers available 24/7 to make sure ZatPark exceeded the availability targets demanded by our customers
  • Bandwidth: enough Internet bandwidth to meet customer traffic peak demand.
  • Facilities: Physical infrastructure including access control, fire suppression, equipment, power, etc.

This data centre model presented a number of challenges for our Technology Team as they tried to keep pace with the exponential growth in customer numbers and their businesses.

In 2017, the strategic decision to migrate our industry leading software solution to a ‘Cloud’ provider was taken as our service had outgrown the initial benefits delivered by data centres.

Once the availability of broadband and cost effective Internet connectivity became more reliable and widely available, Cloud ‘Platform as a Service’ (PaaS) providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure revolutionised service delivery to businesses. Cloud providers remove the need for a business to invest in its own expensive equipment as IT services and applications are delivered securely from 3rd party ‘virtual’ hardware hosted on the Internet. As people got used to and demanded the anywhere always-on high-availability of applications such as Gmail, Amazon and Office365, service providers made available cloud based platforms so that businesses large and small could deliver in the same way their own IT services publicly or privately to their customers and staff.

After careful consideration we decided to migrate ZatPark to a World leading PaaS cloud provider to improve performance, reliability and scalability. Lukasz our Chief Technology Officer explained the rationale behind this fundamental strategic change in our service delivery infrastructure:

“PaaS providers remove typical data centre overheads and allow us to automatically and dynamically adjust resources instantly to meet the peaks and troughs of service demand completely transparently to our customers. The service is fully resilient, secure and directly connected to the Internet backbone for almost infinite resource and bandwidth scalability. We no longer have to set-up and maintain network infrastructure, bandwidth, support, or facilities as that is fully managed by our cloud provider who provide ‘software-defined networking’ and all the software tools for us to run and maintain ZatPark efficiently.”

Our PaaS cloud provider makes sure the platform meets the high demands and quality expectations of our customers. It undergoes regular independent third-party audits making sure it is fully aligned with security, privacy and compliance standards such as ISO27001, PCI DSS, SOC3, etc.

Lukasz took personal responsibility for the project which was delivered with no disruption to our customers at all.

“The migration was a huge success. Our customers now experience all the benefits of ZatPark as a true cloud PaaS solution. System affecting outages are a rarity since the changeover with a system availability percentage of 99.999% and slow system response a thing of the past.”

“ In addition to improved performance, the dynamic system sizing that takes place automatically allows us to deliver a quality feature-rich service very cost effectively to our customers.”

All this adds up to ZatPark maintaining its position as one of the leading resilient, high-availability feature-rich parking management solutions in the industry that give our customers many advantages over their competitors

Find out how ZatPark can help your business and book your own live system demo direct to your desktop by emailing info@zatpark.com

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