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Case Study

How Controlant Achieved 99.99% Delivery Success as a Critical Supplier During COVID-19

5B+

COVID-19 Vaccines Delivered

6

AWS Environments

3TB+

Daily Data Ingestion

50%+

Reduced Infra Spend

controlant.com

About Controlant

Controlant is a supply chain company providing real-time supply chain visibility solutions, delivered as a service, for the heavily regulated pharmaceutical industry.

Using wireless calibrated IoT devices, Controlant collects time, temperature, and location data in real time. This data is sent to their cloud platform that analyzes it and delivers mission-critical supply chain insights and predictive analytics on-demand. They also provide operational services including 24/7 shipping monitoring and response and general cost-reducing initiatives.

Controlant enables their customers, primarily in the pharmaceutical industry, to drastically improve logistics and reduce waste. Controlant can intervene in cases where there are temperature deviations or if the packages are headed for the incorrect destination. They proactively address any issues before the product spoils in order to drastically reduce waste, decrease the environmental footprint, and maximize the ROI for customers.

Overview

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, Controlant was required to scale on a massive level as it became one of the critical suppliers for a major pharmaceutical company distributing vaccines worldwide. At the time, the company’s cloud solution was hosted in a data center in Iceland, and although the infrastructure was set up and configured well, maintenance was highly manual.

 

As a critical supplier of the vaccine, Controlant needed to grow and mature extremely quickly while meeting high compliance and availability requirements. To address their scaling needs, the DevOps team migrated to AWS in an impressive 5 months.

 

The team containerized just shy of 70 application components and used Terraform to define their highly-available architecture as code. They doubled down on all efforts to move stateful data out of the application components themselves and into databases and messaging queues such as Apache Kafka and RabbitMQ. They migrated terabytes of data to AWS using technology such as DMS, and they started utilizing RDS for their databases as opposed to maintaining the infrastructure manually.

 

Today, they are operating multiple environments in AWS and Microsoft Azure. On a daily basis, they are running in excess of 2,400 containers and communicating with more than 2.2 million IoT devices globally. And all of that work generates approximately 3TB of logs daily.

 

An important part of the migration was improving and centralizing their monitoring and observability capabilities. Controlant needed a solution that would allow them to remain compliant, support them at scale, and reduce the overhead of maintaining the solution in-house.

When we started looking into Coralogix, we were paying as much for the logs as we were for the actual operation of the system, which is crazy.
heidar eldberg

Heiðar Eldberg - DevOps Engineering Manager at Controlant

Challenges of Observability at Scale

In Controlant’s high-compliance industry, there is a lot of emphasis on the collection and processing of data. The team often needs to look at the data related to a specific shipment or logging device as much as weeks or months in the past. They need to maintain access to their logs with rapid response times, but maintaining this amount of data in highly-available indices is incredibly expensive.

Before adopting Coralogix, the DevOps team at Controlant was maintaining large clusters for each of their environments. Although the infrastructure itself was fairly predictable, the clusters were large, at times accounting for up to 54% of all infrastructure spend.

“When we started looking into Coralogix, we were paying as much for the logs as we were for the actual operation of the system, which is crazy.”

On top of direct spend, they had six clusters that needed maintenance, patches, and scaling up or down depending on the circumstances. They were also responsible for providing user support to developers and technical leadership in utilizing the solution. There was quite a bit of toil involved for the Devops engineers.

Driving Motivations to Switch to Coralogix

When looking for a new solution, the team’s first priority was compliance with standards such as ISO27001, SOC2 Type 2, GDPR, and so on. It also needed to be extremely scalable. In the last 2 years, Controlant has needed to scale its operations and data processing capabilities between 10 and 100 fold depending on what metric you’re looking at.

Considering the small size of the DevOps team, they also needed to ensure an easy transition. Not only was the onboarding experience important to them, but feature parity as well. Throughout the migration, and to ensure compliance and fulfill customer requirements, the organization has become reliant on specific capabilities of their observability systems.

Ultimately, the driving motivation for the DevOps team at Controlant to adopt Coralogix was the potential for the platform to meet their observability needs while drastically reducing overhead across the board.

Not only does Coralogix’s fully-managed platform and 24/7 support remove the toil of maintaining their monitoring infrastructure, but by using Coralogix’s TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) Optimizer the team can optimize monitoring costs by allocating high volume compliance data to archive with remote query without ever indexing.

The Coralogix platform provides us the capability to query archived logs way back in time, and that effectively gives us infinite retention at a very low cost.
heidar eldberg

Heiðar Eldberg - DevOps Engineering Manager at Controlant

3 Key Values of Coralogix at Controlant

To begin with, the implementation was very straightforward with Coralogix supporting open-source collectors and tooling like Kibana which allowed the team to simply migrate existing workflows and dashboards.

With data flowing into Coralogix, the team immediately saw the logs that the system is generating and began to realize the value of in-stream analysis such as generating metrics from the log data without needing to store the logs.
But the real driving value for the team comes from three key capabilities: power remote query capability for archived data, centralization of observability data from disparate environments, and Coralogix’s world-class 24/7 support.

All of the data that is ingested to Coralogix is parsed and enriched and then stored in Controlant’s Amazon S3 archive bucket. The team can then query those archived logs directly from the Coralogix UI for full control and compliance.

“The Coralogix platform provides us the capability to query archived logs way back in time, and that effectively gives us infinite retention at a very low cost.”

The second thing that is key for the Controlant team is the integration of data from all six environments into a single pane of glass in Coralogix. The data is physically segregated and fully compliant, but from a single control plane the Controlant team can query and correlate data between environments very easily, which is really powerful.

And finally, it was the value of Coralogix’s 24/7 in-app support which is available to all users in the Controlant account. This further offloads work from the DevOps engineers in providing end-user support for creating alerts, investigating issues, and more.

“They’re not just reading a script – it’s real engineers, real competent people, who know the solution in and out, and they provide fantastic support for us.”

Coralogix provides all of this value at a fantastically competitive price, with the ability to meet the scale that we demand of them. It just works.
heidar eldberg

Heiðar Eldberg - DevOps Engineering Manager at Controlant

Summary

Integration with the system was straightforward, with observability data from all environments, and dozens of services, accessible from a single control pane.

With the data flowing into Coralogix, the team is continuously optimizing and reducing the total cost of ownership, taking into account the processing and storage of data as well as the time invested to maintain observable systems.

“Coralogix provides all of this value at a fantastically competitive price, with the ability to meet the scale that we demand of them. It just works.”

With the solution being fully managed and 24/7 support, all of the overhead of maintaining the solution has been offloaded from the DevOps team. The team is now able to invest in further initiatives to boost observability with proactive monitoring, alerting, and benchmarking.

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