Deltek, based in Herndon, Virginia, is a global provider of enterprise software and information solutions for government contractors, professional services firms, and other project-based businesses. More than 22,000 organizations and millions of users in 80-plus countries around the world rely on Deltek to research and identify opportunities, win new business, recruit and develop talent, optimize resources, streamline operations, and deliver more profitable projects.
Over the past several years, Deltek has experienced rapid expansion through strategic mergers and acquisitions. As this growth accelerated, the company sought a way to reduce some of the licensing expenses associated with its applications, which run on Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise database software. “We were looking to manage some of our volume licensing costs, which were rising,” says Cris Carlin, the company’s vice president of global cloud operations.
Deltek also wanted to spend more time on innovation, optimizing its applications and creating new software features. “We were spending too much time in the data center, managing and maintaining the underlying application environments, and we wanted to quickly scale all of our applications to meet growth globally,” Carlin says.
Maintaining world-class compliance was another key consideration, as Deltek’s customers require SOC 1 & 2 compliance, which supersede the two prior service-organization-controls standards auditors commonly refer to as SSAE 16 and SAS 70. Deltek’s customers must also comply with other certifications and regulations, including Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program(FedRAMP) for security, and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) for trading. Deltek also must maintain compliance with Microsoft licensing rules for many applications.
Why Amazon Web Services
Deltek started to address its business challenges by migrating eight of its applications to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud. “We knew the cloud would help us address our scalability needs by giving us the elasticity to add compute resources on demand,” Carlin says. “AWS was the easy choice for us, because of its solid reputation as a cloud technology leader.”
Deltek moved a range of its solutions—including enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, project management, and human capital management—to the AWS Cloud, running on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. Deltek also uses Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) to operate and scale its SQL Server-based applications. The company relies on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) buckets to store application data, and manages encryption keys with the AWS Key Management Service (KMS).
Many of Deltek's products are made to work together with Microsoft business applications like SharePoint, Exchange, Windows Server, SQL Server, and RDP. In order to save on some of the licensing fees for this software, Deltek looked to move to a dedicated compute offering within AWS. Moving to dedicated means shifting to a purchasing model called bring your own license (BYOL). Using Amazon EC2 Dedicated Instances, Deltek was able to bring its own SQL Server licenses to AWS and remain compliant with Microsoft terms.
With the release of Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts, Deltek quickly began migrating to that purchasing option. One benefit of Dedicated Hosts is that it enables a BYOL scenario for Windows Server. Like Dedicated Instances, Dedicated Hosts uses physical servers that are fully dedicated to a single customer's use. Beyond that, Dedicated Hosts provide additional features that can be used to ensure license compliance for Windows Server. These features include instance placement controls, visibility into the sockets and cores of the host, and integration with AWS Config for reporting automation and continuous assessment.
Deltek is realizing significant savings on licensing costs by utilizing Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts. “When we moved our SQL Server licenses to Amazon EC2 Dedicated Instances and Hosts, we saved 15 percent on SQL licensing costs,” Carlin says. “Additionally, when we move our Windows licenses to Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts, we will save 10 percent on Windows licensing. With dedicated compute offerings from AWS, we can now fully optimize our Windows and SQL licensing in the same way a company running in its own data center could. Altogether, we will save hundreds of thousands per year on Microsoft software licensing costs, and we can put those savings back into our products to add even more world-class capabilities for our customers.”
Running its customer-facing applications in production on AWS, Deltek is also able to scale on demand. “We can more easily expand globally by using the AWS Cloud to support our key business applications,” Carlin says. “AWS gives us the global scale we need, in addition to the high availability we require.” The organization can also better support its business model by taking advantage of the cloud. “AWS gives us more agility, which means we can move faster as an enterprise. That enables our approach, which is to aggressively grow and add new customers and quickly onboard new users.”
Deltek can also meet its regulatory and license-compliance requirements by using AWS. “While ensuring compliance has always been a hallmark of Deltek’s solutions, we will now have an even better ability to stay in compliance by running Amazon EC2 instances on a specific physical server,” Carlin says. “Also, along with Deltek’s compliance capabilities, our customers can take advantage of the fact that AWS has FedRAMP, ITAR, SOC, and other important industry-specific accreditations. We can give our customers even more confidence by having our business on AWS.”
“When we moved our SQL Server licenses to Amazon EC2 Dedicated Instances and Dedicated Hosts, we saved 15% on SQL licensing costs. Additionally, when we move our Windows licenses to Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts, we will save 10% on Windows licensing. With dedicated compute offerings from AWS, we can now fully optimize our Windows and SQL licensing in the same way a company running in its own data center could.”
Cris Carlin, Vice President Global Cloud Operations