CASE STUDY

Cando Rail Services

Modernizing Railcar & Shipment Tracking with Serverless on AWS

Cando Rail Services 1

Improving Railway IoT Data Processing with Serverless

Cando Rail Services is a fast growing, international service provider of complete rail solutions. Having been in operations for 42 years, Cando’s specialized rail support services optimize the bulk material supply chain and are a crucial linchpin between industrial customers and the Class 1 railways.

As a trusted partner of both the shipper and the Class 1 railways, Cando has developed Quasar, an IoT based supply chain optimization platform to modernize the tracking of railcars and shipments. In the rail transport industry, tracking is still very paper centric and the electronics historically involved include RFID devices that are decades old. Using IoT and the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, Cando plans to modernize and optimize railcar tracking and shipment monitoring leading to greater revenue for railroads and shippers.

Industry

Transportation, Logistics

Challenge

Develop a serverless environment to process and push through IoT sensor data from train carriages to customers, implementing CI/CD best practices and improving cost efficiency, scalability, and stability

Services & Tech

IoT, Serverless, AWS Lambda, Amazon CloudFront, Amazon ECS, Amazon S3,  Amazon RDS and Amazon EC2

The Challenge

Cando wanted to implement best practices to efficiently process and push through sensor data collected from the train carriages to the customer. They were already using AWS, however, they wanted a serverless environment, rather than their existing multi-account approach and were looking for an experienced partner to help them with ongoing optimization, enhancement and support of their AWS environment. In addition, they also wanted to follow all the security and CI/CD best practices, as well as build new workloads for their Quasar platform.

Cando was looking for a partner with strong AWS expertise and an ability to collaborate with multiple internal and external stakeholders including development teams and vendors. Based on a recommendation from an industry connection, Cando sought Onica’s guidance and expertise as an accomplished AWS Premier Consulting Partner and audited AWS Managed Service Provider.

Loading 1,000s of records to the browser, Cando was experiencing system crashes and multiple errors, with database failures on a regular basis. They were also experiencing issues with data loading into the browser in a timely fashion, as well as issues with the overall architecture and security protocols. 

After completing an audit of the existing Quasar platform architecture, Onica recommended re-architecting everything from the database architecture to their AWS infrastructure.

The Solution

Onica started the engagement by fixing the existing environment to resolve high latency and poor system performance. That was one of the drivers to getting accounts for a new project. The second issue was addressing scaling followed by ongoing costs, which helped drive a serverless solution implementation to lower operational costs.

Having utilized AWS for a few years, Cando was well-versed with the different services offered on the platform, but did not have the expertise needed to modernize into a serverless based environment. Onica helped Cando implement a serverless solution with CI/CD and security best practices through a Teams engagement. With the Onica Teams model, Cando gains access to a tier of monthly hours to leverage a dedicated team of Onica cloud experts assigned to their account who work very closely with their technical team to build, optimize, and maintain their AWS environments.

Cando was pleased with how the Onica team handled the issues that arose during the engagement, keeping deliverables on track in a tight timeframe while still using multiple vendors.  

Onica restructured Cando’s AWS environment by employing Amazon API Gateway, AWS Lambda, Amazon CloudFront, Amazon ECS, Amazon S3, AWS SNS, Amazon Certificate Manager (ACM), Amazon RDS and Amazon EC2. Onica also helps optimize Cando’s costs by ramping down, giving the customer the flexibility to better manage costs and schedules, a large benefit of the Teams engagement model. Additionally, Onica serves as Cando’s network operations center on a 24/7 basis for continued monitoring and support, helping them deploy tactics from a cloud native mindset to achieve the maximum business value from the cloud.

Cando Rail Services 2
Cando Rail Services 3

From a security perspective, Cando had seven or eight different applications that they were using for monitoring, and the Onica team combined the applications so they could manage all of the correct alarming and alerting pieces together. 

As part of the roll out of the new serverless platform, the Onica team seamlessly forwarded the data from their existing environment by subscribing their existing AWS SNS topics to the new environment, while also implementing some last minute changes that included supporting specific services. The Onica team was also able to implement some additional changes that included supporting specific services and meet the roll out date.

“All I have to say is we’re really pleased with Onica’s work, as our architecture is not simple. It’s quite complicated. We have old legacy technology that we’re integrating in with using AWS services,” said Corrie Banks, Director of Logistics, Cando Rail Services.

“Onica helped us create a super collaborative, highly functioning team that optimized our entire infrastructure and architecture from the ground up. And then they executed the cut over from our old environment to the new environment in two hours, absolutely flawlessly. That's a huge win for us and a huge credit to Onica and the people that are on the team. I feel like we're in very, very good hands and that we're set up very well for future success.”
Corrie Banks
Director of Logistics, Cando Rail Services

The Outcome

The move to a serverless environment leveraging infrastructure as code and automation has led to increased rapidity of deployments, faster cycle for changes, and reduced costs paving the path for Cando to acquire multiple larger customers.

The completed project on AWS has resulted in predictability and reliability, improved performance, and better management of costs. What once took 90 seconds now takes less than 2 seconds.

Onica’s expertise and collaborative approach enables Cando to move fast and achieve reliable and predictable results.

Why Us

Why Onica

Onica is one of the largest and fastest-growing Amazon Web Services (AWS) Premier Consulting Partners in the world, helping companies enable, operate, and innovate in the cloud. From migration strategy to operational excellence and immersive transformation, Onica is a full spectrum AWS integrator. Learn more at www.onica.com.  

Subscribe to Onica Insights